Rich Whittle is a Ph.D. Candidate in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, working in the Bioastronautics and Human Performance Laboratory under Prof. Ana Diaz Artiles. His dissertation is titled “Quantifying the effects of altered-gravity and spaceflight countermeasures on acute cardiovascular and ocular hemodynamics”. Rich’s research interests focus on understanding and characterizing physiological changes in altered-gravity environments, in particular changes on the cardiovascular system during spaceflight, the effect of countermeasures including Lower Body Negative Pressure (LBNP) and short radius centrifugation, and the relationship to spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS). He is planning to graduate in Summer 2023.
Rich received a Master of Science in Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield University, where he was the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize Winner, a Master of Arts and Master of Engineering from the University of Cambridge, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership from Stratford Business School (all UK). He has worked as a British Army Officer since 2009 and is still a serving Captain in the British Army Reserves.
During his military career, Rich deployed on combat operations with The Parachute Regiment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and researched the causes of lower limb overuse injury in military recruits. He also served as an Operations Officer within UK Defence Intelligence (GEOINT), helped write the Royal Air Force Centre of Aviation Medicine Human Spaceflight Strategy, and was an industry project management consultant. He is a graduate of both the International Space University Space Studies Program and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he was HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Medal Winner.
Curriculum Vitae (last updated July 24, 2022)
Nathan Keller is an explorer and adventurer. A Ph.D. student on loan from Texas A&M’s Kinesiology department, Nathan went straight into the workforce after finishing his Bachelor’s degree at Texas Christian University. For years he ran gyms, started businesses, and eventually found his passion for teaching. As a high school science teacher, Mr. Keller taught Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, and Physics for five years and considers his time in that role to be his highest honor thus far.
The meandering adventure of life has finally led him to pursue his original calling to further the frontiers of science and human exploration. Parlaying his life’s experience and education into his love for all things space, Nathan‘s doctoral work focuses on the implementation of technology countermeasures to the negative effects of prolonged human spaceflight.
Logan Kluis is a PhD student in Bioastronautics in Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering department. His research interests focus on human spaceflight and in particular, human-spacesuit interaction and performance.
Logan received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and minor in Biomedical Engineering at Massachusetts institute of Technology (MIT). While there, he was a recipient of the Aerospace Engineering Department’s James Means Excellence in Space Systems Engineering Award. Outside of the classroom, he was a member of the MIT football team and twice received Academic All-Conference Honors. He was also a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity where he served as President and received the MIT Fraternity Senior Legacy Award. Logan is also a Matthew Isakowitz Fellow.
Poonam Josan is a PhD student in Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering department. Her interests focus on space human factors, in particular human-system integration (HSI) and human performance optimization in altered gravity environments. She is also interested in understanding human and robotic interactions and using Earth-based analogs to develop related operational frameworks for integrated human-robotic planetary exploration.
Poonam received a B.Tech. in Aerospace Engineering from SRM University, India where her research focus was on improving thrust efficiency of micro-propulsion devices using aerospike nozzles. To pursue her interest in human spaceflight, she moved to the US and received a MS in Space Studies from University of North Dakota (UND). While there, she was heavily involved in student rocketry, high altitude ballooning, planetary space suits and human habitation related analog research (both as a subject and mission controller). She also served as President of UND’s Dakota Space Society which engaged the general public in STEAM related activities. Upon graduation, Poonam worked for start-ups in the Southern California aerospace industry before eventually deciding to return to academia. Her current research work at BHP utilizes NASA’s HSI standards for the experimental design and Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) testing of a Virtual Assistant (VA) tool developed for future long duration exploration missions.
Apart from space exploration, Poonam enjoys traveling, exploring national parks, hiking, and learning about modern history.
Renée Abbott (Woodruff)
Renée Abbott is a Ph.D. student in Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering department. She is a 2021 NASA NSTGRO recipient, and her research will include developing and assessing the effectiveness of virtual reality technologies as tools to enhance the behavioral health of astronauts on long duration missions. Her additional work is focused on assessing physiological function in altered gravity environments via parabolic flight and short-radius centrifuge analogs. In 2020, Renée received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with minors in mathematics and astrophysics from Texas A&M. She has also been a member of the A&M Gymnastics club since 2017 and served as the Women’s Team Captain from 2020-2021.