Space Shuttle

The graduate training program in Space Life Sciences at Texas A&M University is sponsored by:
Marcelo E. Vazquez, M.D., Ph.D.
Marcelo Vazquez

National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) Space Radiation Liaison

Office: One Baylor Plaza, NR-425, Houston, Tx 77030-3498
Mailing Address: Brookhaven National Laboratory, Medical Department, 30 Bell St., Upton, NY 11973
Phone: (631)521-0078
Fax: (631)344-5311

Dr. Marcelo E. Vazquez is the Space Radiation Liaison for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) and NASA.  He assists the Director in interfacing NSBRI radiation activities in science, technology and education with NASA’s Human Research Program‘s (HRP) Space Radiation Program Element, including the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratory as well as HRP’s Bone, Muscle and Cardiovascular disciplines. Prior to his current NSBRI position, Dr. Vazquez was Associate Team Leader and investigator for the NSBRI’s Radiation Effects Team studying the effects of space radiation on the central nervous system.

His research interest is the identification of the molecular, cellular and system responses as well as behavioral alterations induced by heavy ion exposures. His long-term research goals are the development and testing of radioprotectant compounds to utilized humans exposed to ionizing radiation (astronauts, radiation workers, radiation therapy patients, etc.). In addition, Dr. Vazquez is interested in the short and long-term effects of space radiation on bone and the cardiovascular system using state-of-the-art imaging techniques as well as molecular and cellular methods. His work was supported by NSBRI and NASA. His scientific career was centered in the study of the effects of charge particle exposures using neural explants, neural stem cells, established and primary neural cell lines and animal models as a paradigm for space radiation neurotoxicity. The study of the cellular and molecular alterations associated with heavy ion neurotoxicity and how changes in LET and projectile fragmentation modulate the biological response are critical parts of this research interest.

His current scientific interest is the characterization of acute and late health risks for humans during lunar operations. Dr. Vazquez is particularly interested in the potential acute effects associated with Solar Particle Events during exploration missions to the Moon and beyond. His efforts at the present time are centered in the development of a NSBRI sponsored center of acute radiation research as well as the development of the next generation of dosimetry systems for EVA operations. He is also interested in the utilization of terrestrial analogs to develop concept of operations supporting human exploration activities on the Moon and Mars.

Dr. Vazquez has served as Brookhaven National Laboratory’s (BNL) NASA Liaison Scientist (1995-2006) and Project Manager of the Medical Department Team supporting the NASA-BNL Heavy Ion Program (1999-2006). For BNL, he served as Chairman of the Medical Department Experimental Safety Review Committee, a member of the Medical Department Strategic Planning Committee, and member of the Medical Department Laboratory Animal Facility Advisory Committee. Since 2000, he has served as Vice-Chairman of COSPAR’s Scientific Commission F – Life Sciences as Related to Space.

Dr. Vazquez has mentored more than 60 graduate students at Columbia University’s Resident Program in Ophthalmology, DOE’s Educational Programs at BNL and is a founder and Director of the NASA Space Radiation Summer School at BNL. He is also a faculty member at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Stony Brook, New York.