Status Report

Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2021
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We are excited to announce the co-chairs for the newly launched Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032.  Please welcome Dr. Robert J. Ferl from the University of Florida and Dr. Krystyn J. Van Vliet from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Their biographies are below.

Learn more about the study and ways you can participate on our website.  

About the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032

The Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032 will review the state of knowledge in the current and emerging areas of space-related biological and physical sciences research and generate consensus recommendations for a comprehensive vision and strategy for a decade of transformative science at the frontiers of biological and physical sciences research in space. The study report will help NASA define and align biological and physical sciences research to uniquely advance scientific knowledge, meet human and robotic exploration mission needs, and provide terrestrial benefits. Visit our website to sign up for our mailing list and keep up to date on the latest developments including calls for input and upcoming events.

For full biographies, and to learn more about the study, visit our website.

ROBERT J. FERL is professor at the University of Florida (UF). Dr. Ferl’s research agenda includes analysis of the fundamental biological processes involved in plant adaptations to environments, with an emphasis on the particular environments and opportunities presented by the space exploration life sciences. He is an expert in the area of plant gene responses and adaptations to environmental stresses and the signal transduction processes that control environmental responses. The fundamental issues driving his research program include the recognition of environmental stress, the signal-transduction mechanisms that convert the recognition of stress into biochemical activity, and the gene activation that ultimately leads to response and adaptation to environmental stress. Dr. Ferl served as the developer and director of the virtual center for Exploration Life Sciences, a joint academic research and education venture between UF/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), and the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). He has served on the National Academies Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space: Plant and Microbial Biology Panel (2009-2011) and as co-chair of the Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space.

KRYSTYN J. VAN VLIET is the Koerner Professor of materials science & engineering and biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research focuses on material chemomechanics: the material behavior at the interface of mechanics, chemistry, physics, and biology, and in particular, thermodynamically metastable surfaces and interfaces. Dr. Van Vliet joined the faculty of the MIT Department of Materials Science & Engineering in 2004, and leads the Laboratory for Material Chemomechanics. She also serves MIT as Associate Provost, overseeing campus space management, technology licensing, and corporate relations. She directed the DMSE Nanomechanical Technology Laboratory, a multiuser research facility that includes training of student and staff researchers with approximately 60 new users each year, and co-directs the MIT Biomedical Engineering Minor Program. Dr. Van Vliet also conducts research in Singapore, where her interdisciplinary team invents and develops new technology platforms for diagnostics and treatment of cell & tissue disease, as well as cell therapy manufacturing solutions. Dr. Van Vliet has previously served as a member of the National Academies Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space.

SpaceRef staff editor.