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Review of NASA’s Biomedical Research Program Appendix B Letter of Request from NASA
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Review of NASA’s Biomedical Research Program National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters Washington, DC 20546-0001 OCT 15 1988 Reply to Attn of: UL Dr. Claude R. Canizares Space Studies Board, HA 584 National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Dear Dr. Canizares: The Committee on Space Biology and Medicine recently completed a major report, A Strategy for Research in Space Biology and Medicine in the New Century, which reviewed the status of space life sciences research in all of the disciplines funded by NASA's life sciences program, and laid out a comprehensive strategy for research during the next decade. In that report, numerous biomedical research questions related to astronaut health and safety were identified as critical to NASA's long-duration flight program. I would like to request that the committee now undertake an assessment of NASA's current program in biomedical research in light of the recommendations of the Strategy report. Specifically, we would ask that the Committee on Space Biology and Medicine (CDBM) undertake a review of NASA's entire biomedical research program, both intramural and extramural, and assess the degree to which the program meets research needs over the next ten years. The research priorities given in the recent CSBM report, A Strategy for Research in Space Biology and Medicine in the New Century, could be used as a point of departure when considering future needs and priorities. It would be helpful if the committee would examine the relationship between intramural and extramural biomedical research activities sponsored by the agency, and review the content and program organization of both. The roles of the NASA Specialized Centers of Research and Training and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, in the biomedical program, could also be examined. Such a review should cover all NASA biomedical research activities at NASA, including those currently conducted in conjunction with operational medical and aerospace medicine programs. Some of the specific items which I would hope to see considered in the report are: The balance of discipline areas emphasized in the current program.
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Review of NASA’s Biomedical Research Program The degree to which studies of fundamental cellular and physiological mechanisms are addressed in each discipline program. The balance between ground and flight investigations. NASA plans for the development and validation of physiological and psychological countermeasures. Plans for validation of animal models. Extent to which programs are supporting new, advanced technologies and methodologies. In order to carry out such a study, the committee will no doubt find it necessary to visit make site visits to the NASA centers responsible for directing or carrying out biomedical research. We understand that completion of the study would require approximately two years from its inception, so that delivery of a report in the fall of 2000 might be reasonably expected. Sincerely, Joan Vernikos, Ph.D. Director, Life Sciences Division