Tara Ruttley is an Associate ISS Program Scientist. Image Credit: NASA
Ruttley participated in a two-hour underwater extravehicular activity along with her NEEMO-6 crewmates. Image Credit: NASA
Ruttley stretches her right calf in a neutrally buoyant environment. Image Credit: NASARuttley is now the Associate International Space Station Program Scientist and represents all aspects of NASA science on the space station. This includes coordination of experiments with scientists and international partners, as well as communicating about the experiments and results to the public. Ruttley always had wanted to work with the U.S. space program and had a particular interest in biology and physiology. She is fascinated with how microgravity affects human physiology from the systems level all the way down to the cellular level. Ruttley pursued a Bachelor of Science in biology at Colorado State University. Through her participation in student design conferences, Ruttley became more interested in the hardware aspects of maintaining optimal crew health in space. As a result, she pursued a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from CSU, with an emphasis in biomedical engineering. Upon graduation, Ruttley accepted a position in the Biomedical Systems division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in January 2001. Combining her training in biology and mechanical engineering, she worked as lead hardware engineer for the Health Maintenance System on the space station. Ruttley has since completed a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her interdisciplinary background has provided her with the skills needed to coordinate experiments from many different fields of science and technology.