Astronaut turned Penn State professor to help manage International Space Station

September 18, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organization that manages the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory pursuant to a cooperative agreement with NASA, today (Sept. 18) announced that former NASA astronaut and Penn State Associate Professor of Physiology and Kinesiology James (Jim) Pawelczyk, has joined the organization’s board of directors.

James (Jim) Pawelczyk

Former astronaut and current Penn State Associate Professor of Physiology and Kinesiology Jim Pawelczyk has joined the board of directors of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space.

IMAGE: Penn State

As the newest member of the CASIS board of directors, Pawelczyk will join a group that seeks to enhance the use of the ISS National Lab through basic and applied space-based research, continuing the progress toward our nation’s goal of developing a sustainable market economy in low-Earth orbit.

In addition to Pawelczyk’s experience as a NASA payload specialist onboard Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-90, a role in which he logged 381 hours in space, he joins the board as an acclaimed researcher in the fields of physiology and kinesiology. Pawelczyk has published more than 50 papers, with many focused on the effects of spaceflight on human health. During his career, Pawelczyk has assisted in the formation of U.S. space life sciences strategy through the National Academy’s Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space, Space Studies Board, and the Committee on Aerospace Medicine and the Medicine of Extreme Environments, as well as NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Research Committee.  

Pawelczyk has made many contributions to Penn State. He founded and directs the University’s novel, dual-title doctoral program in clinical and translational sciences and has received college and University awards for his contributions to the University’s teaching and outreach missions. Pawelczyk holds a bachelor of arts in biology and psychology from the University of Rochester, a master of science in physiology from Penn State, and a doctorate in biology from the University of North Texas.

“We are honored to have Jim Pawelczyk join the CASIS board of directors, as his work and general knowledge within the space research community will provide tremendous value to the ISS National Lab as we burgeon new avenues to leverage humankind’s greatest technical achievement,” said CASIS Interim Board of Directors Chair Lt. Gen. James A. Abrahamson (USAF Ret.). “The CASIS board welcomes Jim and his keen insight, as we push the boundaries of fundamental and applied research to bring value to our nation through space-based inquiry.”

In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is the nonprofit responsible for management of the ISS National Lab.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 18, 2020