Dr. Joan Vernikos, former Director of Life Sciences at NASA, is a pharmacologist from the University of London, well-known expert in stress research and a pioneer in how living in the microgravity of space adversely affects the health of astronauts.
Her supporting ground simulation research also led to her proposal of the Gravity Deprivation Syndrome that proposes Gravity as the common link in the relationship between microgravity, bed rest, extended occupational sitting and the reduced use of gravity on Earth with ageing.
Joan is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and has received numerous awards for her work on the relationship of space research in understanding ageing, including the Boynton of the Bioastronautics Society, the Strughold award from the Aerospace Medical Association and a Lifetime Award of Women in Aerospace.
In October 2018 at the 69th International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Dr Vernikos was inducted into the International Astronautical Federation Hall of Fame, in recognition of her substantial contribution to the progress of space science, technology, and space benefits to mankind, following a long career in which she was one of the first five scientists recruited by NASA because of her expertise in Stress, and where she went on to become Director of the NASA Space Life Sciences division for more than 10 years.
She is a public speaker on the benefits gained from space research and technology, such as designing a human-powered centrifuge and using gravity as a therapeutic agent. Joan has published a series of books to present practical and effective solutions for maintaining good health throughout life and healthy ageing.