Ashley Nemec-Bakk, Ph.D., is one of three researchers nationwide to receive a postdoctoral fellowship from the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine.
Nemec-Bakk is a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy’s Division of Radiation Health and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She will join two other researchers in the new fellowship cohort supported by the TRISH Academy of Bioastronautics, which will supply research funding for two years.
Using her research background in the effects of heavy ion radiation on the cardiovascular system, Nemec-Bakk will use two new ground-based models of deep space travel to study the effects of radiation and microgravity on form and function of the heart, major arteries and blood vessels of the eye.
“We are excited to be working with TRISH,” said Nemec-Bakk. “With this funding, we will be able to investigate the cardiovascular effects of the simulated space environment. This research will aid NASA in determining how the heart is affected by space travel and what countermeasures may be suitable for future space missions.”
In addition to research funding, TRISH fellows receive mentorship from experienced faculty mentors, connections to space flight experts and the opportunity to expand their network and their project’s reach. The project is backed by NASA’s Human Research Program, with a mission, in part, to support the upcoming Artemis missions, which aim to put the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.
Nemec-Bakk received her Master of Science degree in free radical biology in 2016, and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in radiation-induced fetal programming in 2020, from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She joined UAMS in January 2021.
Led by Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine, TRISH is a consortium that includes the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. NASA recently awarded the institute a six-year extension to further its work by delivering solutions to mitigate biomedical risks for human exploration while advancing terrestrial health technologies.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprises. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state and is the state’s largest public employer.