Published: Sept. 1, 2020

Allie AndersonAllie Anderson
Assistant Professor, Smead Aerospace
Friday, Sep. 4 | 12:30 P.M. | Zoom Webinar - Registration Required

Abstract: As NASA’s priorities shift toward longer duration flights in deep space microgravity or on the surface of the Moon or Mars, the decrements to human health and performance will be exacerbated. This talk discusses our research to develop technologies to measure and mitigate the body’s adaptations to extreme stressors, with the primary motivation to advance human space exploration. It will outline work in four core aerospace emphases:

  1. Extravehicular activity (EVA),
  2. Alternative reality (XR) technologies for spaceflight applications;
  3. The spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS); and
  4. Human resilience in isolated, confined, extreme (ICE) environments.

Each of these areas is identified by NASA as critical to resolve prior to a human mission to Mars. We are tackling future EVA issues by pursuing paradigm-shifting technologies to enable planetary surface exploration. Our methods investigate novel ways to design spacecraft and train astronauts through XR environments like virtual reality (VR). Our research has also made contributions to SANS by investigating the acute physiological responses of the eye and cardiovascular system to countermeasures and by developing technologies to investigate the syndrome’s etiology. Finally, our work assesses cognitive and behavioral health, while providing countermeasures applicable in ICE settings. Together, these aerospace applications span subdisciplines with in the fields of engineering, science, medicine. Thus, by focusing our research on human health and performance in extreme environments, we are advancing the state of the art for Earth-based applications in several diverse fields. 

Bio: Allison Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences within the Bioastronautics lab. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Integrative Physiology and an Affiliated faculty member with the Biomedical Engineering program. She received her B.S. in Astronautics Engineering from the University of Southern California in 2007, an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.S. in Technology Policy in 2011 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Biomedical Engineering in 2014 from MIT. She was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute to study human space physiology at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Her work investigates human health and performance in aerospace environments with a focus on aerospace biomedical engineering. Specifically, her work is directed toward enabling a human mission to Mars and has been supported by the Translational Research Institute for Space Health and NASA. She was selected as the 2020 Young Professional Engineer of the Year (AIAA Rocky Mountain Region).