PHILADELPHIA — The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) has enlisted David F. Dinges, PhD, professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and associate director, Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, and Ann R. Kennedy, DSc, Richard Chamberlain Professor of Research Oncology, and professor of Radiation Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, to serve as team leaders in its efforts to protect astronaut health during long-duration spaceflight. Dr. Dinges and Dr. Kennedy were chosen from a national pool of experts to be part of the seven person team appointed by the NSBRI.

Each of the scientists chosen by the NSBRI will lead one of seven discipline area research teams focused on specific challenges faced by humans in space. Dinges will lead the Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors team, and Kennedy, who is also the director of the NSBRI Center of Acute Radiation Research at Penn, will lead the Radiation Effects team.

"NSBRI's position at the forefront of space biomedical research will be enhanced with these outstanding scientists serving as team leaders," said Jeffrey P. Sutton, MD, PhD, NSBRI president and CEO. "Their expertise and knowledge will be beneficial to the Institute, NASA and human spaceflight in general. They will play an instrumental role in our efforts to overcome health challenges facing humans while in space and to improve health care on Earth."

As team leaders, Dinges and Kennedy are responsible for reporting on their teams' research projects and working closely with the NSBRI Science Office and NASA to ensure alignment with operational needs. The team leaders' term is for three years and they must also have a currently funded NSBRI research project.

Each of the NSBRI teams address space health concerns such as bone loss and muscle weakening, balance and orientation problems, neurobehavioral and psychosocial problems, radiation exposure, remote medical care and research capabilities, and habitability and performance issues during spaceflight.

For more information, please see the NSBRI news release.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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