Luis Zea

Luis Zea

Assistant Research Professor


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

  • 2018-Present Assistant Research Professor, BioServe Space Technologies, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 2015-2018 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 NASA-funded projects "Biofilm in Space" (scheduled to launch to ISS mid-2019), and "Characterization of Clinically- and Spaceflight-Relevant Bacteria and Fungi, and Drug Effectiveness under Simulated Lunar, Martian, and Micro-Gravities".



Journal Articles

Conference Papers

Conference Abstracts and Posters

Technical Presentations, Seminars & Workshops

  • Zea, L., Thinking Outside the Globe - Using Microgravity to Find Novel Solutions to Medical Problems on Earth, Aerospace Engineering Sciences Faculty Candidate Seminar, April 30, 2018
  • Zea, L., What happens when bacteria grow in microgravity? The story of an experiment performed on the International Space Station, Valencia Community College – Osceola Campus, April 3, 2018
  • Zea, L., On Scientific and Technical Publishing, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, May 3, 2018
  • 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