MEDIA ADVISORY: UCSF Launches First Space Health Innovation Conference

By Scott Maier

What: UC San Francisco and the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) are co-sponsoring the inaugural Space Health Innovation Conference to advance research and scientific understanding of how space travel impacts health. Speakers include flight surgeons, scientists, engineers, health care experts, astronauts and thought leaders from academia, industry and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

Conference topics include NASA’s strategies for optimizing astronaut health and its Human Research Program, which focuses research and innovation on human health and safety in space; space-specific computational modeling and physical simulations; pre-flight preventive measures; in-flight health detection devices; and an innovators’ showcase. The conference will highlight the applicability of health technologies to space health and how space research is accelerating terrestrial health care solutions.

Media are invited to attend. The full program can be found here. Please reply to [email protected] or 415-463-0110. 

When: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Where: William J. Rutter Center, UC San Francisco Mission Bay campus, 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco 94143 (map)

Background: TRISH leads a national effort in translating cutting-edge terrestrial research into applied risk mitigation strategies for the human exploration of deep space. Working in partnership with NASA through a cooperative agreement, the institute is a consortium led by Baylor College of Medicine and includes the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

In fall 2018, TRISH appointed Aenor Sawyer, MD, MS, of UCSF, as chief health innovation officer and provided a three-year, $2 million research award to the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to support an annual conference, yearly fellowship, and space-related research and innovation projects.

Keynote Speakers

Jennifer Fogarty, PhD, NASA Human Risk Program chief scientist: NASA’s approach to researching human risks in space.

Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, UCSF professor of neurology, physiology and psychiatry, and founder and executive director of UCSF Neuroscape: “Unbounded Innovation,” highlighting Neuroscape’s role as a translational neuroscience center to assess and optimize brain function. 

Jonathan Clark, MD, MPH, former NASA flight surgeon: “Small Steps to Giant Leaps: The Evolution of Space Health, from Beta Bags to Nanochips” (Apollo 11 to ISS).

Astronaut Michael Barratt, MD, and retired astronauts Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD, of UCSF, and Stephen Robinson, PhD, of UC Davis, will present perspectives from the “Frontlines of Space Health,” with a call to innovators.

Ten UCSF scientists engaged with space research will participate in breakout sessions, along with about 20 experts from outside organizations:

  • Aenor Sawyer, MD, MS, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, director of the UCSF Skeletal Health Service and TRISH chief health innovation officer
  • Daniel Lowenstein, MD, executive vice chancellor and provost at UCSF and member of the TRISH Scientific Advisory Board 
  • Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics and former astronaut
  • Sonja Schrepfer, MD, PhD, professor of surgery
  • Tammy Chang, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery
  • Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, professor of laboratory medicine
  • Jeffrey Lotz, PhD, professor and vice chair of research in orthopaedic surgery
  • Susanna Rosi, PhD, professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science and neurological surgery
  • Jesse Courtier, MD, associate professor of radiology
  • Danielle Carroll, MD, UC Space Health fellow, UC San Diego surgery resident

INTERVIEW, PHOTO AND VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES: Conference speakers and attendees.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.