Luis Zea

Luis Zea

Research Associate


Focus Area




  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering Sciences – Bioastronautics, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2015
  • M.S., Aerospace Engineering – Thermofluids, University of Central Florida, 2008
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, 2005

Professional Experience

  • 2015-Present Research Associate, BioServe Space Technologies, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 2015 Visiting Scientist, Brazilian Space Agency, UFMG Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • 2014 Visiting Scientist, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center, Cologne, Germany
  • 2010-2015 Graduate Research Assistant, BioServe Space Technologies, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado
  • 2008-2010 Heat Transfer Engineer, Siemens Energy, Inc., Orlando, FL
  • 2006-2008 Graduate Research Assistant, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • 2004-2006 Mechanical Engineer, ExxonMobil, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Awards (selected)

Research Interests

Space biology, gravitational microbiology, space life sciences, biological regenerative life support systems, small satellites, CubeSats, international cooperation for space exploration, STEM outreach

Space-Based Research Experience

Experience includes project management, engineering R&D, and/or science (PI or Co-I) on thirteen experiments performed in space: Micro-4 (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, STS-135), Micro-5 (Salmonella and Caenorhabditis elegans, SpaceX-5), Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space (AES-1) (Escherichia coli, Orbital-1), Butterflies in Space (butterflies STEM project, HTV-3), HeartCells (human-induced pluripotent stem cells, SpaceX-9), OsteoOmics (preosteoblasts, SpaceX-9), Nanobiosym (MRSA, SpaceX-10), Antibody-Drug Conjugates (lung cancer cells, Orbital-7), Magnetic 3D Cultures (lung cancer cells, Orbital-7), Micro-11 (human and bovine sperm, SpaceX-14), and Micro-12 (Shewanella oneidensis, SpaceX-15). Luis is also the Principal Investigator of the Biofilm in Space project, scheduled to launch to ISS in late 2018.





Journal Articles

Conference Papers

Conference Abstracts and Posters

  • J.S. Tash, F. Karouia, M.C. Schiewe, L.S. Stodieck, L. Zea, E.M. Yarns. MICRO-11: Spaceflight-Altered Motility Activation and Fertility-Dependent Responses in Sperm, American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR), Seattle, Washington, October 25-29, 2017
  • Nisar, Z., Stodieck, L., Zea, L., Ground Testing of Biofilm Formation on Spaceflight-Relevant Materials, American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR), Seattle, WA, October 24-28, 2017
  • Cortesao, M., Luo, J., Mueller, D., Nisar, Z., Muecklich, F., Hemmersbach, R., Hellweg, C., Zea, L., Moeller, R., Growth and biofilm formation of Penicillium chrysogenum in simulated microgravity, American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR), Seattle, WA, October 24-28, 2017
  • García, B., Lara, J., Ayerdi, V., Zea, L., Manufacturing a CubeSat Structure at an Academic Makerspace, 2nd International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM), Cleveland, USA, September 24-27, 2017
  • Zea, L., Beneficios de Investigaciones Biomédicas en Órbita Terrestre, Converciencia, Guatemala, Guatemala, Julio 24-28 2017
  • Zea, L., Diseño del Primer Satélite Guatemalteco, Converciencia, Guatemala, Guatemala, Julio 24-28 2017
  • Zea, L., Stodieck, L. and Klaus, D., Characterizing Phenotypic and Gene Expression Changes in E. coli Challenged with Antibiotics during Spaceflight, 4th International Space Station Research and Development Conference, Boston, MA, July 7-9, 2015
  • Zea, L., Stodieck, L. and Klaus, D., Preliminary Results of the Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space-1 (AES-1) Experiment Conducted Onboard ISS, ASGSR Conference, Pasadena, CA, October 22-26, 2014
  • Zea, L., Stodieck, L. and Klaus, D., The First Fifty Years of Bacterial Growth and Antibiotic Effectiveness Research in Space, ASGSR Conference, Pasadena, CA, October 22-26, 2014
  • Zea, L., Stodieck, L., Klaus, D.M., Bacterial Growth and Susceptibility to Antibiotics in Simulated Reduced Levels of Gravity, ASGSR Conference, Orlando, FL November 3-8, 2013
  • Mitchell, R., Zea, L., Over, S., Aber, I., Anderson, D., Carpenter, J., Curtis, B., Duchek, M., Edwards, W., Hava, H., Lestishen, J., Massina, C., Roth, B., Dream Chaser: Design of a Commercial Spacecraft’s Cockpit, SpaceVision 2011, Boulder CO, October 27-30, 2011
  • Zea, L., Jepson, P., Kumar, R., Role of Pressure and Reaction Time on Corrosion Control of H2S Scavenger, SPE 2008 Oilfield Corrosion Conference, Scotland, UK, May 27-30, 2008

Technical Presentations, Seminars & Workshops

  • Zea, L., What happens when bacteria grow in microgravity? The story of an experiment performed onboard the International Space Station, The University of New South Wales School of Biotechnology and Bimolecular Sciences & Australian Centre for Astrobiology October 3, 2017
  • Zea, L., Past, Current and Future Space Applications in Latin America, Latin America and Caribbean Regional Seminar, Promoting disarmament and non-proliferation in Latin America and the Caribbean: relevance and challenges of the Hague Code of Conduct, Santiago de Chile, Chile, April 25, 2017
  • Zea, L., Space Development Efforts in Guatemala, Americas Roundtable, 32nd Space Symposium, Colorado Springs, USA, April 11, 2016
  • Zea, L., Bacterial Experiment returned from the International Space Station – Research Opportunity, BioFrontiers Science Shorts, University of Colorado, January 21, 2015
  • Zea, L., Space Life Sciences and Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space, HudsonAlpha Seminar, HudsonAlpha, Huntsville, AL, Oct 30, 2014
  • Zea, L., Space-Based Life Sciences Research and its Benefits to the General Public, Icelandic Academy of Sciences, University of Reykjavik, Iceland, August 11, 2014
  • Zea, L., Bacteria in space: Statistical facts of the first 50 years of research and an experiment currently being conducted onboard ISS, German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) Institute of Aerospace Medicine Seminar, Cologne, Germany, July 22, 2014
  • Zea, L., Characterization of Gravity’s Influence on Mass Transport Phenomena and its Impact on E. Coli’s Behavior and Susceptibility to Antibiotics, BioFrontiers Seminar, University of Colorado, Boulder, February 13, 2013
  • Zea, L., Spaceflight Bacteria-related Phenomena and their Implications on Astronaut Health, Gravitational Biology Seminar, German Aerospace Center, Cologne, Germany, May 8, 2014
  • Zea, L., Some of BioServe’s Flown Payloads to Space – From Cells to Mice, Astrobiology Seminar, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, DLR, Cologne, Germany, May 28, 2014
  • Zea, L., Student European Low Gravity Research Association, German Aerospace Center, Cologne, Germany, July 4, 2014

Magazines and Newsletters

Other Academic Activities