Astronaut candidate's profile
What is your current job?
Assistant Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School - I am a comparative physiologist – I study animals that live in extreme environments. I work with two types of mammals that challenge our views of normal physiology – diving seals that hold their breath to dive deep into the ocean, and hibernators that survive winter cold and inactivity. My goal is to identify the physiological limits of species in extreme environments, which can tell us how they may be able to respond (or not) to changing habitats, and to provide insights for human medicine based on nature's solutions to physiological challenges.
Why do you want to become an astronaut?
I have always been driven to explore, and to ask questions about the world. I want to become an astronaut because I see human spaceflight as a way to further these goals and help the world through discovery. I would be excited to participate in this type of exploration, which I believe is incredibly important for the future of our species.
What motivated you to study in your field?
Animals can survive and thrive in some of the most inhospitable habitats on Earth, and I find this completely fascinating. I was motivated to study physiology as an undergraduate, once I saw how different aspects of physiology could sometimes be so similar across different types of animals, but sometimes so specialized and different.
Think back to a teacher who had a positive impact on your life. What did she/he do to influence you?
I have had so many great teachers, it is hard to pick just one. My best teachers encouraged me to think for myself, ask questions, be motivated, and get out in my community.
What do you like best about your job?
I enjoy the variety of my job – I get to write, plan, and manage budgets, but I also do lab experiments and sometimes get outside and see wild animals in the field. By keeping up with all the different parts of my projects, I always get to keep learning.
Which living person do you most admire? OR Who are your heroes in real life?
I have been extremely impressed by Bill Gates recently. He’s truly putting his money where is mouth is – contributing his wealth towards big initiatives that could change the world for the better. I am inspired by his leadership and the example he sets in taking action to help others.
What is your favourite sci-fi movie?
What is your motto?
Find inspiration in the world – it doesn't matter if it is close to home or far, far away.
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