Press Release

USRA Life Scientists’ Proposals Selected to Support Astronaut Health on Missions

By SpaceRef Editor
June 20, 2012
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Houston, TX, June 20, 2012 – The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is very pleased to congratulate its scientific staff at the Division of Space Life Sciences (DSLS), in Houston, TX, on their recently awarded research projects covering a range of health and biomedical topics. These awards, which were made under NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) “Research and Technology Development to Support Crew Health and Performance in Space Exploration Missions” announcement, involve studies in key areas that include bone loss, muscle weakening, vision impairment, cardiovascular deconditioning, and other investigations that are critical to astronaut health and performance on future deep space exploration missions.

The proposals were openly solicited from academia, industry and government laboratories and were judged for scientific merit by non-NASA technical experts. Following external peer review, NASA and NSBRI selected 29 meritorious proposals (out of 104 proposals submitted) representing 11 states and 25 institutions. The selected investigations address astronaut health and performance risks for future space exploration missions. These 29 grants are collectively valued at approximately $26 million over their lifetimes of one to three years.

Among the projects in which USRA scientists will participate are:

* Susana Zanello, Ph.D., Universities Space Research Association, Evaluation of Hindlimb Suspension as a Model to Study Ophthalmic Complications in Microgravity: Ocular Structure and Function and Association with Intracranial Pressure (NASA Award)

* Lori Ploutz-Snyder, Ph.D., Universities Space Research Association, Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Exercise Training with Small Compact Exercise Equipment (NSBRI Award)

Dr. Neal Pellis, Director of USRA’s Division of Space Life Sciences, cited the division’s participation in these awards as a clear demonstration of the Association’s strong capabilities in this area and ongoing commitment to astronaut well-being. Dr. Pellis said, “USRA shares the goal of developing countermeasures to overcome health challenges which are crucial to the success of future manned-missions into space.”


The Universities Space Research Association’s Division of Space Life Sciences (DSLS) supports NASA’s needs for understanding and counteracting the physiological changes that accompany space flight. Based at USRA Houston, the DSLS manages extramural research programs, administers educational programs, coordinates a visiting/staff scientist program, and enhances collaboration between NASA and academic institutions through an extensive series of conferences, workshops, and seminars. This USRA division was established in 1983 as the Division of Space Biomedicine and facilitates participation of the university community in biomedical research programs at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).


Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers – on schedule and within budget.

Stacy Bowles
Universities Space Research Association
10211 Wincopin Circle, Suite 500
Columbia, MD 21044

SpaceRef staff editor.