Dr. Michael A. Schmidt, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Sovaris Aerospace, was invited to present his team’s research at the Life Sciences section at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palto Alto, CA on February 27-29, 2012. Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong was invited to give the keynote address, with closing remarks offered by Dr. Pete Worden, Director of NASA Ames Research Center. Other keynotes were given by David Mackay, Chief Test Pilot, Virgin Galactic; Jeff Greason, President, XCOR Aerospace; Dr. George Nield, Associate Administrator, Commercial Space Transport, FAA; Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, Founding Director, Challenger Center; Dr. Alan Stern – Associate VP, Southwest Research Institute.

Dr. Schmidt presented the work of his team, which includes research partner and co-investigator Dr. Thomas Goodwin of NASA Johnson Space Center. Dr. Schmidt’s group is focused on assessing the biological, biochemical, and physiologic demands placed on human and biological systems in the complexity of space.
His presentation was entitled, “Three Dimensional Human Tissues as Surrogate Targets for Assessing Radiation Effects on Humans Undergoing Repeated Suborbital Exposures.” For more than twenty years, Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Goodwin’s collaborative team has been developing 3D tissue models, along with methods to characterize genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic networks. These advanced 3-dimensional human tissue models have flown on 16 Shuttle and ISS missions, which has given their team insight into the rigor of these models under varied space and earthbound conditions.

The understanding gained from these models will ultimately be used to develop novel preventive and therapeutic solutions for space-based, as well as earth-based medicine. The aim of this work is to develop countermeasures that can be applied to reduce the risks associated with human space flight or enhance human performance in those exposed to the rigors of suborbital space flight, lunar space flight, missions to Mars, and ultimately deep space.

The 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, which was being convened by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), the Lunar Planetary Institute (LPI), the Commercial Space Flight Federation (CSF), and NASA Ames Research Center, was intended to allow scientists, engineers, and educators to engage with colleagues who are rapidly advancing the exciting new industry of commercial space flight.

Sovaris Aerospace, LLC is a private company focused on medical solutions to human performance in extreme environments. Sovaris develops assessment and countermeasure solutions for humans engaged in a range of demanding conditions, including space flight, professional race car driving, collegiate and professional athletics, and many others. Sovaris also develops a range of solutions in human preventive medicine and disease state management. Sovaris has collaborations with a broad range of institutions, investigators, and private groups, including NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Ames Research Center, Colorado State University, the University of Manchester, and the Southwest Research Institute.