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Young scientists receive NSBRI space biomedical research fellowships

HOUSTON, Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five young scientists have received First Award Fellowships from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). Through this two-year program, they will conduct biomedical research with the aim of helping to protect astronaut health during long-duration spaceflights.


In addition to receiving mentorship from a faculty member at their home institution, the fellows will become members of one of NSBRI's seven scientific research teams. This will allow them to interact with some of the nation's leading researchers in their fields and to participate in NSBRI and NASA meetings.

"This new class is filled with some of the most promising young researchers this nation has to offer," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Sutton, NSBRI President, CEO and Institute Director. "The fellows benefit from the program through the research experience they gain and the interactions they have with leading scientists. The human spaceflight community is also a beneficiary because NSBRI First Award Fellows have a history of conducting research that is valuable in reducing the health risks associated with long-duration spaceflight, and in improving life on Earth."

The 2013-2015 NSBRI fellows, their institutions, teams and mentors are:

Dr. Alix C. Deymier-Black
Washington University, St Louis, Mo.
Musculoskeletal Alterations Team     
Mentor: Dr. Stavros Thomopoulos

Julianna C. Simon
University of Washington, Seattle
Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team
Mentor: Dr. Michael R. Bailey

Dr. Torin K. Clark
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Cambridge, Mass.
Sensorimotor Adaptation Team
Mentor: Dr. Daniel M. Merfeld

Dr. James M. Kuczmarski
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Musculoskeletal Alterations Team
Mentor: Dr. John M. Lawler

Dr. Justin S. Lawley
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
Cardiovascular Alterations Team
Mentor: Dr. Benjamin D. Levine

Each participant receives a $42,500 stipend per year and additional funds to cover health insurance and travel to NSBRI-related meetings. The fellows also have an opportunity to attend the Summer Bioastronautics Institute (SBI) at NSBRI's Headquarters and participate in scientific demonstrations in laboratories housed within the Consolidated Research Facility in Houston. The SBI emphasizes essential skills needed for a successful research career and connects the trainees with the NSBRI and NASA scientific communities. The SBI includes participants from NSBRI's Summer Apprenticeship Program and Mentored Research Program.

The NSBRI First Award Fellowship Program solicits applications annually. Applicants submit research proposals to investigate a spaceflight-related health risk or to develop a technology needed to enable research or medical care in space. The project must be overseen by an experienced mentor and be carried out at a U.S. laboratory. Applications are reviewed for scientific and technical merit by an independent review panel and by NSBRI management to ensure relevance to the Institute's research program goals. Also, a competitive third-year extension of the fellowship is available. Since its inception in 2004, the NSBRI First Award Fellowship Program has successfully funded 36 participants.

NSBRI is a NASA-funded consortium that studies the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight with peer-reviewed science, technology and education projects at approximately 60 institutions across the United States. The science and technology development projects address space health concerns, which include bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular alterations, radiation exposure, neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors, remote medical care, and habitability and performance issues. Research findings also impact the understanding and treatment of similar medical conditions experienced on Earth.

SOURCE National Space Biomedical Research Institute
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