PHILADELPHIA — The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) has enlisted David F. Dinges, PhD, professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and associate director, Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, and Ann R. Kennedy, DSc, Richard Chamberlain Professor of Research Oncology, and professor of Radiation Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, to serve as team leaders in its efforts to protect astronaut health during long-duration spaceflight. Dr. Dinges and Dr. Kennedy were chosen from a national pool of experts to be part of the seven person team appointed by the NSBRI.
Each of the scientists chosen by the NSBRI will lead one of seven discipline area research teams focused on specific challenges faced by humans in space. Dinges will lead the Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors team, and Kennedy, who is also the director of the NSBRI Center of Acute Radiation Research at Penn, will lead the Radiation Effects team.
"NSBRI's position at the forefront of space biomedical research will be enhanced with these outstanding scientists serving as team leaders," said Jeffrey P. Sutton, MD, PhD, NSBRI president and CEO. "Their expertise and knowledge will be beneficial to the Institute, NASA and human spaceflight in general. They will play an instrumental role in our efforts to overcome health challenges facing humans while in space and to improve health care on Earth."
As team leaders, Dinges and Kennedy are responsible for reporting on their teams' research projects and working closely with the NSBRI Science Office and NASA to ensure alignment with operational needs. The team leaders' term is for three years and they must also have a currently funded NSBRI research project.
Each of the NSBRI teams address space health concerns such as bone loss and muscle weakening, balance and orientation problems, neurobehavioral and psychosocial problems, radiation exposure, remote medical care and research capabilities, and habitability and performance issues during spaceflight.
For more information, please see the NSBRI news release.