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COMMITTEE BIOGRAPHIES

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Elizabeth R. Cantwell, Arizona State University (Co-Chair)
Robert J. Ferl, University of Florida (Co-Chair)
Kenneth M. Baldwin, University of California, Irvine
Steven Collicott, Purdue University
Ofodike A. Ezekoye ,The University of Texas at Austin
Mohammad Kassemi, Case Western Reserve University
Wayne Nicholson, University of Florida
James a. Pawelczyk, The Pennsylvania State University
Marylyn D. Ritchie, Geisinger Health System
Pol D. Spanos, Rice University
Krystyn J. Van Vliet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Peter W. Voorhees, Northwestern University
Erika Wagner, Blue Origin
Hai Wang, Stanford University
David Weitz,  Harvard University

 

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Co-Chair, is vice president for Research Development and professor of practice, School of Matter, Transport & Energy at Arizona State University. Previously, she was the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Mission Development Engineering Directorate. She served as the deputy associate laboratory director for the National Security Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Prior to joining Oak Ridge, Dr. Cantwell was the division leader for the International, Space, and Response Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her career began in building life-support systems for human spaceflight missions with NASA and she later served as a program manager at NASA headquarters working with life and microgravity programs. She earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Cantwell has extensive Academies experience, including current memberships on the Space Studies Board and the Division Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences; previous service as co-chair of the Committee on Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space; and as a member of the Committee on NASA’s Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap, the Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps: Space Station Panel, the Committee on Technology for Human/Robotic Exploration and Development of Space, and the Committee on Advanced Technology for Human Support in Space.

ROBERT J. FERL is professor and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research 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 has recently 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). In that role he has been responsible for research and academic program development at KSC, and he has facilitated the recruitment of faculty and research programs from UF/IFAS to be located at KSC. He served on the Science Council of the Division of Space Life Sciences of Universities Space Research Association. In 2016 he was presented the AIAA 2016 Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award and the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. He has served on the Academies Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space: Plant and Microbial Biology Panel (2009-2011) and co-chair of the Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space.


KENNETH M. BALDWIN is an Emeritus Professor, Above Scale, of physiology and biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. In 1973, he joined the faculty in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, where he ascended over a period of 40 years to the rank of Professor, Above Scale. Dr. Baldwin's laboratory research focused on the field of plasticity of cardiac and skeletal muscle in response to physical activity and inactivity, including space flight. Dr. Baldwin was appointed chair of the NASA Life and Microgravity Sciences Advisory Committee and appointed to the NASA Advisory Council. His academic distinctions include the 1995 APS Edward Adolph Award, the 1998 American College of Sports Medicine Southwest Chapter Achievement Award, and the 1999 NASA Public Service Medal for Space Biology Research, the 2006 APS Exercise and Environmental Honor Award, the 2003 NASA-NSBRI Award for space science research, the 2006 NASA Public Service Medal for Advisory Service to the Administrator, and the 2011 American College of Sports Medicine Honor Award for Research. He received his B.A. in physical education at Springfield College, Massachusetts, his M.S. in exercise science at the University of Massachusetts and his Ph.D. in exercise physiology at the University of Iowa. Dr. Baldwin previously served as the chair of the Animal and Human Biology Panel of the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space.

STEVEN H. COLLICOTT is the Associate Head for Engagement and professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. His research interests include low-gravity fluid dynamics, experimental fluid mechanics, and optical diagnostics. Dr. Collicott has substantial experiences with microgravity physics experimentation including a variety of interactions with players in the commercial flight services field. His experiments have flown on ISS, commercial sub-orbital vendors, and commercial parabolic flight plus he has launch agreements and experiments nearing completion to fly with most commercial sub-orbital companies. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Dr. Collicott received a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. He has no prior Academies experience.

OFODIKE A. EZEKOYE is a Donald J. Douglas Centennial Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His expertise is heat and mass transfer in fire, combustion, and high temperature systems. He has published over 200 journal and conference papers in fire, heat transfer, aerosol dynamics and combustion. He has worked on experimental and computational characterization of fire and fire tactics, modeling of probability density function evolution, and heat transfer in high temperature systems. Dr. Ezekoye serves as the chair of the ASME technical committee (K11) on Heat Transfer in Combustion and Fire Systems. He has served on the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Protection Research Foundation board of advisors. He has served on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Department of Fire Protection Engineering’s advisory board. He served on the board of directors of the Central States Section of the Combustion Institute. He has been an associate editor of the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer. Dr. Ezekoye is a fellow of the ASME, has received the NFPA Bigglestone best paper award for fire communication, and won both the National Science Foundation Early Career Award (CAREER) and Society of Automotive Engineering Ralph R Teetor Educational Award. He earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of California, Berkeley. He previously served on the NRC’s Committee to Identify Innovative Research Needs to Foster Improved Fire Safety in the United States.

MOHAMMAD KASSEMI is a research professor at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He is also the NASA Advanced Research Technology Support (ARTS) project director at CWRU. Prior to this, he was the chief scientist at the National Center for Microgravity Research at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, Ohio supporting fluids and combustion science research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). During his 28 years tenure at NASA GRC and 18 years at CWRU he has applied his expertise to a diverse set of multidisciplinary research problems in multiphase flow and transport, materials processing, microgravity fluid and thermal management, radiation heat transfer in semitransparent materials, capillary and interfacial phenomena, and microfluidics and physiological flows in biomedicine. Dr. Kassemi is currently the principal investigator (PI) of the Zero-Boil-Off Tank experiment scheduled to fly on the ISS in February 2016. He has also been PI on eight other Fluids and Materials NRA awards involving microgravity bubble dynamics, solidification and crystal growth from melt and vapor, and interaction of radiation with natural convection in materials processing. In the last ten years Dr. Kassemi has developed integrated multi-scale fluid-structural-Interaction (FSI) models investigating the impact of weightlessness on the performance of human cardiovascular, vestibular and renal systems in support of the Digital Astronaut and Exploration Medical Capability projects within the NASA Human Research Program. He is currently the PI on the Renal Stone Formation Simulation Module aimed at delineating the impact of microgravity, partial gravity and dietary countermeasures on the risks of renal stone formation in space. Dr. Kassemi is the recipient of the 2015 NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Award for his contributions on the effects of long-term microgravity on human health and on performance of cryogenic propellant systems and materials processing in Space. He earned a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Kassemi earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron. 
 
WAYNE L. NICHOLSON is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science of the University of Florida, and is located at the Space Life Sciences Laboratory next to NASA Kennedy Space Center. In his laboratory, Dr. Nicholson studies the changes in bacterial cell physiology and transcription caused by the extremes of the space environment. His interests include the mechanisms of bacterial spore resistance and longevity, the survival and proliferation of microorganisms in extreme extraterrestrial environments, and microbial evolution in novel environments including human space habitats. Dr. Nicholson earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has no prior Academies experience.

JAMES A. PAWELCZYK is an associate professor of physiology and kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Pawelczyk served as a payload specialist on STS-90 Neurolab. During the 16-day Spacelab flight, the seven-person crew aboard NASA space shuttle Columbia served as both experiment subjects and operators for 26 individual life sciences experiments focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. Dr. Pawelczyk’s primary research interests include the neural control of circulation, particularly skeletal muscle blood flow, as it is affected by exercise or spaceflight. Dr. Pawelczyk is a member of the American Heart Association, the American Physiological Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Society for Neuroscience. He has won numerous awards, including the Young Investigator Award from the Life Sciences Project Division of the NASA Office of Life and Microgravity Science Applications and the NASA Space Flight Medal. He earned two B.A. degrees, in biology and psychology, from the University of Rochester, an M.S. in physiology from Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. in biology (physiology) from the University of North Texas. Dr. Pawelczyk has previously served as a member of the NRC’s Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps: Space Station Panel, Committee on NASA’s Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap, Committee to Review NASA’s Space Flight Standards, Planning Committee for the Issues in Space Science and Technology Workshop Series, Committee on NASA’s Research on Human Health Risks, Committee on Aerospace Medicine and Medicine of Extreme Environments, and as a member of the Space Studies Board. He currently serves as a member of the NRC Committee to Review NASA’s Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks.


MARYLYN D. RITCHIE is the Biomedical and Translational Informatics director of Geisinger Clinic. Dr. Ritchie is also a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and the director of the Center for Systems Genomics at Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Penn State she was an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, Dr. Ritchie also served as an investigator in the Center for Human Genetics Research, where she directed the Computational Genomics Core and the Program in Computational Genomics. She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals such as American Journal of Human Genetics, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Human Molecular Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Plos Genetics. Dr. Ritchie is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Human Genetics and the American Statistical Association. She has received many honors throughout her career, including the Kavli Fellow from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship. She earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Pittsburg-Johnstown, a M.S. applied statistics, and a Ph.D. in human genetics from Vanderbilt University.

POL D. SPANOS (NAE) holds the L.B. Ryon Endowed Chair in Engineering at Rice University. His interests are in the area of dynamical systems, with emphasis on probabilistic (risk and reliability), non-linear, and signal-processing aspects and with applications to aerospace engineering and several other engineering disciplines. His research findings have been disseminated in more than 300 papers in archival journals, technical conferences, and industrial reports. Dr. Spanos is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics and of the Journal of Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics. He is a fellow of the ASME, Alexander von Humboldt Association of America and a corresponding/foreign member of NA/NAE of Hellas, India, and Europe. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, AFOSR, NASA, and by many industrial consortia. He has received several awards from NSF, the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASME, and Rice University. He has served, worldwide, as a consultant to many governmental organizations and industrial entities. Dr. Spanos received an M.S. in structural dynamics and a Ph.D. in applied mechanics and with minors in applied mathematics and in business economics, all from the California Institute of Technology. He has previously served as a member of the Academies’ Committee for the Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment and the Panel on Armor and Armaments.
 

KRYSTYN J. VAN VLIET is an associate professor of 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 joined the MIT Department of Biological Engineering in 2011. 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 currently leads the Singapore-MIT Alliance in Research & Technology (SMART) BioSystems & Micromechanics IRG, which includes approximately 175 researchers in Singapore and MIT, including 8 other MIT faculty from several engineering departments and 25 Singapore-based faculty collaborators. This team invents and develops new technology platforms for diagnostics and treatment of cell & tissue disease. Within five years, this team of engineers, biologists, and clinicians has contributed several key breakthroughs and inventions to cell imaging, drug screening, and optical imaging; this includes one start-up company and several devices now involved in international clinical trials. Dr. Van Vliet earned her Sc.B. from Brown University and her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has no prior NRC service. 
 

PETER W. VOORHEES is the Frank C. Engelhart Professor at Northwestern University in the Department of Materials Science. He is also the co-director of the Northwestern Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering and the Center for Hierarchical Materials Design. He was a member of the Metallurgy Division at the National Institute for Standards and Technology until joining the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. He has flown experiments investigating the dynamics of coarsening processes on the shuttle and, more recently, on the international space station. Dr. Voorhees’ research interests include the dynamics of coarsening processes, nanowire growth, materials genomics, and the morphology and topology of interfaces in materials. He received both his B.S. in physics and his Ph.D. in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has served on as chair of the Academies Committee on Microgravity Research, and was a member of the Space Studies Board and as chair for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space: Applied Physical Sciences Panel.

ERIKA WAGNER serves as business development manager for Blue Origin, a private firm developing vehicles to enable tourists and researchers to access space at dramatically lower cost and increased reliability. Prior to joining Blue Origin, Dr. Wagner worked with the X PRIZE Foundation as senior director of exploration prize development and founding executive director of the X PRIZE Lab@MIT. Previously, she served at MIT as science director and executive director of the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program, a multi-university spacecraft development initiative to investigate the physiological effects of reduced gravity. She was previously a member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s Suborbital Applications Researchers Group, furthering the research and education potential of commercial suborbital launch vehicles. Today, she serves on the Boards of the Washington Aerospace Scholars, Museum of Flight, and American Society for Gravitational and Space Research. Her research spanned both human and mammalian adaptation to microgravity, partial gravity, and centrifugation; as well as organizational innovation and prize theory. She earned her Ph.D. in bioastronautics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. 

HAI WANG is professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University. His research interests are in combustion, molecular transport theories, nanomaterials for renewable energy conversion, hybrid propulsion systems, and nanocatalysis. He is currently the editor-in-chief of Progress in Energy and Combustion Science. Dr. Wang received the Senior Research Award from Viterbi School of Engineering at USC, the Combustion and Flame Most Cited Author 2005-2008 recognition from Elsevier, and the Distinguished Paper Awards from the Thirty-First and Thirty-Fifth International Symposia on Combustion. He earned his Ph.D. in fuel science from Pennsylvania State University. He has no prior Academies experience.

DAVID A. WEITZ (NAS/NAE) is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at Harvard University. He is also the director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), the co-director of the BASF Advanced Research Initiative, an associate faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and a member of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology. At Harvard University, Dr. Weitz’s research interests are the physics of soft condensed matter, specifically their structural and mechanical properties, the properties of colloidal suspensions, the mechanical properties of biomaterials, and microfluidics for making emulsions using multiphase flow. He also works closely with industry, having served on the board of directors for several start-ups including microfluidics-driven startups GnuBIO and HAbSel. Dr. Weitz earned his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He currently serves as Associate Editor and Member on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Editorial Board, was a member of the Academies Panel on Review of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and was a chair on the Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee.