Division of Aerospace Medicine

The Aerospace Medicine program at the Medical University of South Carolina operates as a research division focusing on the complex phenomenon of microgravity and how the stressors of spaceflight affect the human body. From radiation, G-forces, trauma, hypoxia, and more, the human body undergoes uncommon stressors which may not be commonly seen terrestrially. Many of our faculty members have expertise in neurology, radiology, otology, ophthalmology and neurosurgery. Under the guidance of Dr. Donna R. Roberts, MUSC has the privilege to expand its robust research into the realm of spaceflight and human performance.

As we enter a new era of increased spaceflight activity with the promotion of governmental participation and commercial entities sending additional individuals into space the prevention of emergencies is of an utmost priority. Medical concerns may contribute a portion of potential risk for these individuals especially as humanity expands into longer durations of space flight. Our mission at MUSC is to focus on these issues to integrate education, clinical management and research with spaceflight companies.

What is aerospace medicine?

Aerospace Medicine at MUSC: Why Choose Us?

We offer an integrated team of different specialists committed to analyze phenomenon seen in astronauts/pilots. MUSC is the only academic medical center in South Carolina with doctors recognized nationally and internationally for their expertise and research.

  • History of Excellence: Our team is composed of experts in aerospace medicine ranging from clinicians to researchers. With such extensive academic experience, it allows for rapid exchange of knowledge for the advancement of understanding in this field
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  • Exclusive Research Opportunities: We are an active site working with governmental, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations to gain access to different testing environments and data.

Overview

  • Collaborations: Our research has worked with industry leaders to increase access to research environments including parabolic flight, telemetry and more.
  • Outreach opportunities: Our researchers actively engage in fostering educational and mentoring opportunities for individuals more interested in getting involved with the world of spaceflight medicine.

Areas of Research

  • Spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome
  • Cerebrovascular flow dynamics in spaceflight
  • Identification and potential management of cerebrovascular emergencies in spaceflight
  • Anatomical deformations in microgravity
  • Neurophysiologic manifestations of microgravity
  • Electrographic manifestations of microgravity

Investigators 

Donna R. Roberts, M.D. – Neuro-radiology, Neurology
Program Director/Coordinator 

Jonathan Edwards, M.D. – Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology

Ekram Kutluay, M.D. – Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology

Sami Al Kasab, M.D. - Neuro-endovascular surgery and Neurology

Frederico Rodriguez-Porcel, M.D. – Neurology, Neurocognitive, Movement Disorders 

Habib Rizk, M.D. – Otolaryngology, Neuro-otology 

Eric Berman, M.D. – Neuro-Ophthalmology

Residents

Mark Rosenberg M.D., Neurology
Brian Saway M.D., Neurosurgery
Maria Grimberg M.D., Neurology
Austin Coker M.D., Radiology

Ancillary Staff & Students 

Andrew Taylow
Lead Research Assistant

Joseph Tidwell
Student Research Assistant

FLEX Cohort

In the News

Researchers set out to determine the brain and gravity’s effect on eyesight

Going to Space Can Literally Change The Shape of Your Eyeball. Here's Why

Your Brain In Space

Dr. Roberts and Dr. Ricci preparing for vestibular testing in parabolic flights. 
Dr. Roberts and Dr. Ricci preparing for vestibular testing in parabolic flights.
Dr. Rosenberg skydiving in Dubai, UAE while presenting at the 72nd Annual International Astronautical Congress. 
Dr. Rosenberg skydiving in Dubai, UAE while presenting at the 72nd Annual International Astronautical Congress.
Inspiration4 mission rocket photographed travelling over Folly Beach. 
Inspiration4 mission rocket photographed travelling over Folly Beach.
Four FLEX Medical Student cohort sitting in an AC130 at AirExpo Charleston 
DFLEX Medical Student cohort sitting in an AC130 at AirExpo Charleston..
Dr.  Roberts with colleagues from the MUSC Brain Stimulation Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies in parabolic flight. 
Dr. Roberts with colleagues from the MUSC Brain Stimulation Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies in parabolic flight.

Aerospace Medicine Special Interest Group

Open to all members of the MUSC community, created as a space for everybody who is interested with the world of spaceflight medicine. Please contact Dr. Mark Rosenberg for more information and upcoming events at rosenbem@musc.edu.

Donations and Funding Opportunities

Donations can be made to the Department of Neurology at MUSC.

Please contact Heather Parrish.