Dr. Devendra BajajThe Universities Space Research Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Devendra Bajaj, New Jersey Medical School, has been selected as the winner of the USRA New Investigator Award.

Bajaj received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Bhilai Institute of Technology in India, and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland. After completion of his PhD, Bajaj was selected for a two-year NSBRI Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct postdoctoral training in the orthopaedic biomechanics laboratory of Dr. J. Christopher Fritton at the New Jersey Medical School.

Bajaj’s current research efforts are focused at developing a new understanding of the effects of aging, disease, and drug treatment on musculoskeletal tissues, specifically bone and cartilage. The ultimate goal of his research is to improve upon and develop better methods for the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. His postdoctoral research project is part of the NSBRI musculoskeletal alterations team and is focused at understanding the efficacy and biomechanical safety of anti-resorptive drugs (Bisphosphonates, or BPs) in the treatment of osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates are currently a widely prescribed treatment for postmenopausal and age-related osteoporosis, but their long-term use is now implicated as possibly increasing bone fragility and causing atypical fractures of the femoral shaft. Bajaj is using a multidisciplinary approach to understand the tissue-level changes in bone treated with BPs. Results from this investigation can be of tremendous benefit in both clinical and space research, as BPs are prescribed to nearly 40 million patients worldwide every year, and are also considered as potential countermeasures for bone loss in outer space.


The USRA New Investigator Award is intended to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of doctoral level (Ph.D., M.D., Sc.D.) scientists who are less than four years post-terminal degree. Additionally, they must be in a term appointment such as post-doctoral fellow, resident, or clinical fellow. Faculty, both tenure and non-tenure, are not eligible.


The award will include a stipend of $2000, which is intended for use in travel to the workshop, research, professional memberships, and/or work supplies. The winner will also receive a plaque, which will be presented at the HRP Workshop by the Director of USRA’s Division of Space Life Sciences. The winner will also receive special mention in the HRP Workshop program booklet and on the workshop website.

Eligibility Requirements

Selection Criteria

Selection Committee

Application Deadline:  November 30, 2011
Award announcement expected in early January 2012

Application Process

1.  Submit an abstract to the HRP Workshop by the November 15 deadline. Important:  Make note of the abstract confirmation number, because you will need to provide that information on the application form.

2.  Obtain a nomination letter from the PI/Mentor expressing his/her rationale for nominating you for this award. Scan the letter and save it as a PDF file named as YourLastNameFirstInitial_nomination.pdf (e.g., if your name is Robert Edwards, your nomination letter will be named “EdwardsR_nomination.pdf”).

3.  Download the Application Form and Biographical Sketch template and fill out the form. Be certain to include the abstract confirmation number you received when you submitted your abstract (see step #1 above). Save the application form as a Word file named YourLastNameFirstInitial_application.doc (e.g., if your name is Robert Edwards, your application file will be named “EdwardsR_application.doc”).

4.  E-mail your application materials to NO LATER THAN November 30, 2011. Your subject line should say “USRA New Investigator Award Application,” and should include TWO attachments:  the Word file of your application/biographical sketch, and the PDF file of your nomination letter.

Need help? If you have questions about the award, application process, or forms, please contact Carmella Mongiardo at
or 281-244-2009.