MIT Apollo Program Professor to Head NASA-Sponsored Research Institute


Editors/Reporters: You are invited to a reception for Dr. Young, the new director of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and the Boston-area participants in NSBRI.

Date: Thursday, March 20
Time: Reception 5:00 - 6:30pm, with the formal announcement of Dr. Young's appointment at 5:30pm.
Where: MIT campus, in the atrium, Bldg E25. Announcement in E25-111.

MIT Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics Laurence R. Young has been named director of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), a new NASA-sponsored program.

The announcement of Dr. Young's appointment will be made at MIT on Thursday, March 20 in the atrium of Building E25, at 5:30 pm.

Two MIT colleagues of Dr. Young and scientists from Harvard, Boston University and the Harvard-MIT Health Science Technology Group will also play a role in the NSBRI.

The NSBRI will be the focal point of NASA-sponsored space biomedical research. Its twofold mission is to address the medical obstacles to safe, productive, long-term human presence in space and to apply the knowledge gained from space research to medical problems of people on earth.

"It's a very exciting job. As director, I will have some say in determining the shape of our future space program and in how we protect people who go into space," said Professor Young. He will assume his new responsibilities this spring and will divide his time between MIT and the NSBRI thereafter.

Professor Young was a principal investigator on four space shuttle missions and an alternate NASA payload specialist for the Space Life Sciences 2 Mission in October, 1993. He has been internationally recognized for his research on how the balance mechanism in the inner ear is linked to "space sickness." He is Director of the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium and was co-founder, with Y.T. Li, of the Man-Vehicle Laboratory at MIT.

The NSBRI consortium for the Institute will be led by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Other consortium members are MIT; Harvard Medical School; Johns Hopkins University Medical School and Applied Physics Laboratory; Morehouse School of Medicine; Rice University, and Texas A&M University. MIT biomedical research scientists C. M. Oman, a specialist in neurovestibular adaptation, and R. J. Cohen, whose specialty is cardiovascular alterations, will be team leaders for the NSBRI research consortium.

"We expect to have close collaboration among the consortium members. Now we can use the first-rate work already being done by universities with NIH-supported work and direct its application to space problems, " said Professor Young. "The Institute is a great opportunity to allow Space Life Sciences to reach its full potential. We have a lot of homework to do to send people to Mars."

The Johnson Space Center will sponsor the multidisciplinary NSBRI. The total value of the 20-year agreement is approximately $145 million, beginning at $10 million per year.

In addition to its twofold mission, the National Space Biomedical Institute will focus on developing a partnership among NASA, the scientific community and industry as their efforts relate to human development, exploration and long-term presence in space.

The NSBRI will function as a geographically distributed consortium using computer links. By expanding research already in progress on the MIT campus and elsewhere, the NSBRI will offer opportunities for faculty sabbaticals at the Johnson Space Center, for NASA scientists to visit MIT and for graduate training in biomedical research.


Topics: Aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Space, astronomy and planetary science, Faculty, Industry

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