Space life sciences training program receives five-year, $1 million funding renewal
The National Space Biomedical Research Institute has renewed its support for the graduate training program in space life sciences led by the Texas A&M University System’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in College Station, according to a program administrator. The program is conducted in partnership with the Texas A&M colleges of education and engineering, and the Health Science Center.
The program will receive $1 million in funding over the next five years – from July 2012 through June 2017, said Dr. Nancy Turner, a nutritional physiologist with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who conducts space-related research.
“The funding is a renewal and extension of previous project funding, which had been in place for the past six years for the purpose of training Ph.D. candidates interested in space life sciences,” Turner said.
The space life sciences training program at Texas A&M University System’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (COALS) emphasizes “earthbound applications” of science related to space travel. (Photo courtesy of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)
She said the funding allows for the selection of two new program fellows annually who receive two years of financial support.
“This program is also one of the university’s certificate programs, with participants earning a space life sciences certificate upon completion,” Turner said. “The certificate is noted on the student’s transcript while obtaining a doctoral degree at Texas A&M University in biomedical engineering, genetics, kinesiology, nuclear engineering (health physics), or nutrition — or an M.D./Ph.D. in medical sciences from the university’s Health Sciences Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.”
She said the goal of the training program is to develop a cadre of scientists capable of helping solve the most critical problems limiting long-duration spaceflight, and to apply space life science toward improving life on Earth.
“Some of the critical problems associated with extended spaceflight include bone loss, muscle wasting, the health effects of cosmic radiation and changes in metabolism,” she said.
Turner said over the years the program has expanded from the areas of kinesiology, nuclear engineering and nutrition to include the disciplines of biomedical engineering, genetics and medical sciences.
“Students also receive training in either nutritional and/or exercise physiology as a means to address biological issues associated with extended space travel,” she said. “So far, we have had 11 trainees in the program. One of the graduates from the program is in the process of doing a post-doctoral project with NASA and another is working with the Uniform Services University in Bethesda on their Radiation Combined Injury Program.”
Read the rest of the story: Space life sciences training program receives five-year, $1 million funding renewal | AgriLife Today.