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02-040
For Release: June 7, 2002

Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-2406
katherine.martin@grc.nasa.gov

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office
216/433-8806
lori.j.rachul@grc.nasa.gov


NASA and Cleveland Biomedical Research Leaders Form Consortium

NASA's goal of protecting astronauts' health during long-term space missions has led to the planned infusion of $7.5 million into the Cleveland biomedical community over the next three years.

An agreement among NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University was signed today to establish the John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium. The Consortium also includes the National Center for Microgravity Research on Fluids and Combustion, a partnership between Case Western Reserve University and the Universities Space Research Association. Using an integrated, interdisciplinary approach, the Consortium will combine member organizations' unique skills, capabilities, and facilities to achieve common research goals involving human health in space as well as on earth.

The research will leverage NASA's state of the art knowledge and expertise in the areas of fluid physics and sensor technology together with the other Consortium members' world class capabilities in biomedical research and health care to mitigate risks to astronaut health in long-term space flight.

Conducting research to enable safe and productive human habitation of space is a major goal of NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), which sponsors this research. Mary Kicza, Associate Administrator heading OBPR, elaborates, "Long-term space flight exposes human beings to physiological and psychological health risks from radiation, reduced gravity and isolation and requires the ability to provide crew medical care remotely."

While NASA has a long history of transferring aerospace technology and methodology to the biomedical community, recent emphasis has been placed on systematically combining the disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering for the widest possible benefit of future space missions and improved terrestrial products and processes.

Glenn Director Donald J. Campbell explains, "The John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Research Consortium reflects not only NASA Glenn's commitment to improving long-term human space flight, but also its impact on the Greater Cleveland Community by introducing new technologies applicable to medical products for use by physicians and their patients."

Dr. Huntington Willard, who serves as Consortium Chairman as well as President and Director of the Research Institute of University Hospitals adds, "This partnership furthers our efforts to integrate Cleveland's major research institutions and to drive the area towards its goal of becoming a center of excellence in the life sciences and bioscience technology. Under the umbrella of this Consortium, we will be able to demonstrate the synergy of working together towards shared goals in biomedical research and technology."

Mr. Bill Sanford, Interim President of BioEnterprise Corporation, concluded, "This is a terrific project for Northeast Ohio that will showcase the value of the space program, demonstrate the extraordinary biomedical engineering capabilities of our institutions, enhance the economic vitality of our region, and contribute to a healthier population everywhere."

More information on the John Glenn Biomedical Engineering Consortium including descriptions of projects can be found at:

http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/grcbio/bec.html

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