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Center for Aerospace Physiology

Center for Aerospace Physiology

MS in Medical Physiology

Area of Concentration in Aerospace Physiology (AOC in AP)

Resident and/or Online

Administrator of Program:  Dr. Thomas M. Nosek 216-256-3726


Definition of Aerospace Physiology

Aerospace physiology is the study of the physical and cognitive impact of an extreme and/or austere environment upon an individual. Those studies provide the foundation to develop strategies conferring mental and physical resilience against extreme environmental conditions, thereby optimizing performance of the aerospace traveler.


The rapidly emerging aerospace and space tourism industry is enabling “tourists” to travel to suborbital locations, the International Space Station, and potentially, the “Artemis” Moon base, Mars and beyond.  Sponsors of those projects range from government agencies such as NASA, the FAA and the European Space agency, to private industries which include Virgin Galactic, Space-X, to the US Space Force, Air Force, Navy and Marines.

Those commercial (civilian) space tourism industries, as well as the rapidly expanding federal and military aero- and space initiatives are hampered by an absence of scientists, physicians, educators and physiologists with first-hand experience of high-performance aviation. There is especially a dearth of physicians and scientists who have experienced both the physical challenges of aerospace aviation (hyper- and hypo- gravity, supersonic speeds, etc.) as well as subsequent outcomes. This creates a significant void in trained personnel; a void that we in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics are uniquely poised to fill.

Departmental Strength in Aerospace Physiology

Five of our primary departmental faculty in the CWRU Center for Aerospace Physiology (Dr. Michael Decker, Dr. Lisa Damato, Dr. Joe LaManna, Dr. Jessica Taylor, and Dr. Kui Xu), have been identified by NASA, NATO, the US Air Force, and US Navy as both aerospace scientists and educators who are already training graduate students, military civilian and enlisted personnel in the core concepts of aerospace physiology.  Four students have already received either funded summer or year-long fellowships from federal funding sources. Federal agencies currently fund a significant volume of aerospace-related research within the Department of Physiology & Biophysics. In addition, a series of focus groups conducted with future stakeholders, over the past 12 months, has created interest and enthusiasm for an aerospace physiology-focused program. 

 Stakeholders/Career Opportunities

·       Physician Careers

o   Civilian- Government Physician (Aerospace Medicine)

o   Aerospace Medicine Specialist Physician (Air National Guard, USAF, USN, NASA)

·       Research Physiologist Careers

o   NASA Human Research Program

o   Navy Research Physiologist

·       Department of Transportation--Federal Aviation Administration

o   Medical Examiner

o   Aerospace & Environmental Physiology research team

·       Commercial space companies

o   Virgin Galactic Research coordinator

o   SpaceX—medical support

·       Aerospace Operational Physiologist (USAF, USN)

Program Description:

The AOC in AP is available to both resident and online MSMP students who have completed their first year of core MSMP courses.  All courses (including the Aerospace Physiology Journal Club) are offered in a synchronous, lecture/small group format for resident students and both live broadcast and asynchronously from recordings over the Internet for online students.  The resident and online courses are exactly the same, with exactly the same content, quizzes, exams, and grading standards.  Students are free to mix and match how they engage the program, all or part of the program being resident or online.

All students in the AOC in AP program must satisfy all the requirements of the MS in Medical Physiology program to earn the MSMP degree.  For all MSMP students, the degree will officially be “MS in Medical Physiology” but students can indicate, and the Aerospace Physiology Administration Committee will acknowledge in all correspondence and letters of recommendation, that the student has completed an Area of Concentration in Aerospace Physiology.

Application Process for the AOC in AP program:

By the last day of April following their first year of study, MSMP students interested in the AOC in AP must:

1.     Be in good academic standing; i.e. have a GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 (to earn the MSMP degree, students must have a final GPA in the program GREATER than 3.0);

2.     Have passed the 1st year Comprehensive Examination over the two first year Medical Physiology courses;

3.     Provide an excellent statement to the Director of the AOC in AP program explaining why they want to be part of this AOC. This statement should be send to Dr. Nosek at:

4.     Receive a favorable recommendation from their Academic Advisor sent to Dr. Nosek.

The Aerospace Physiology Administration Committee (APAC) will evaluate all student petitions to enter the program and decide who will be admitted to the program.

MS in Medical Physiology

Area of Concentration in Aerospace Physiology (AOC in AP)

Resident and/or Online

Contact :  Dr. Thomas M. Nosek