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Space Biosciences Management

Parag Vaishampayan
Parag Vaishampayan, PhD
Division Chief (Acting)
Space Biosciences Division

Dr. Parag Vaishampayan is the acting Division Chief for the Space Biosciences Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. From 2020 to 2022, he served as a Space Biology Portfolio Scientist providing overall scientific leadership and direction to maintain the scientific integrity of projects within the ARC Space Biology Portfolio. He supported over 70 active space biology projects to better understand how spaceflight affects living systems in simulated ground-based experiments, the International Space Station (ISS), and preparing future human exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit (BLO).

Biography

Amela Zanačić
Amela Zanačić
Deputy Division Chief (acting)
Space Biosciences Division

Amela Zanačić is the acting Deputy Division Chief in the Space Biosciences Division.

Biography

Yasaman Shirazi
Yasaman Shirazi, PhD
Branch Chief
Bioengineering Branch

Dr. Shirazi is the Bioengineering Branch Chief. She currently also serves as the Space Biology Vertebrate Portfolio Lead at NASA Ames, working with interdisciplinary teams across the agency, payload developers, and commercial partners to accomplish mission success for the Rodent Research experiments.  She is also the co-director of the Bone and Signaling Lab in the Biosciences Collaborative Laboratory (BCL, aka N288). Her research focuses on better understanding the effects of the space environment (weightlessness and heavy ion radiation) on skeletal structure and strength, with the goal of reducing/preventing bone loss during spaceflight and promoting maximal recovery upon return to Earth.  She is a Principal Investigator for the Polaris RADREADS project, which aims to develop a novel, end-to-end bleed to read device for personalized biodosimetry to assess individualized radiation exposure and response via quantifying circulating miRNA in the blood and using microfluidic technology. 

Biography

Marilyn Murakami
Marilyn Murakami
Assistant Branch Chief
Bioengineering Branch

Marilyn Murakami is the Assistant Branch Chief for the Bioengineering Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. She has been with NASA for 28 years. Her major responsibility, besides supporting the branch chief, is to manage the project resources that support the organization.

Biography

Tara Samuels
Branch Chief (Acting)
Flight Systems Implementation Branch

Tara Samuels is the Branch Chief (Acting) for the Flight Systems Implementation Branch.  Previously, she served as the Lead Systems Engineer for various space biology payloads.  She holds an MS in Aerospace Engineering and an MBA.

Portrait of Elizabeth Pane
Elizabeth Pane
Assistant Branch Chief
Flight Systems Implementation Branch

Elizabeth Pane is the acting Assistant Branch Chief for the Flight Systems Implementation Branch. Previously, she was the Ames Space Biology ISS Portfolio Manager for Cellular and Molecular, Invertebrate, and Microbial flight missions.

Ahleah Rohr Daniel
Ahleah Rohr Daniel, PhD, MPH, CIH
Deputy Branch Chief
Space Biosciences Research Branch

Ahleah Rohr Daniel, PhD, MPH, CIH has joined the Space Biosciences Research Branch (Code SCR) as the Deputy Branch Chief. Over the last 5+ years, Dr. Rohr Daniel supported the Science Directorate (Code S) as either the Industrial Hygiene Representative from Code QH or the Deputy Branch Chief of Code SCR, responsible for managing chemical compliance and laboratory safety to ensure a healthy and safe work environment for personnel at NASA Ames. She is also now the project manager for NBISC. Dr. Rohr Daniel earned her MS and PhD in Organic Chemistry in 2008 and 2011, as well as her MPH in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Michigan in 2013 and achieved her CIH in 2017.

Biography

Amy Gresser
Amy Gresser, Ph.D.
ARC Space Biology Portfolio Manager

Dr. Amy Gresser is the Space Biology Portfolio Manager at NASA Ames Research Center. She is responsible for managing a portfolio of over 70 active grants focused on development and operations for space biology experiments performed on the International Space Station and other free-flyer platforms or utilizing ground-based analog systems.

Biography

Medaya Torres
ARC Space Biology Deputy Portfolio Manager

Medaya Torres is the Ames Space Biology Deputy Portfolio Manager (Acting).

Jonathan Galazka, PhD
Jonathan Galazka, PhD
ARC Space Biology Portfolio Scientist (Acting)

Dr. Jonathan Galazka is the acting Ames Space Biology Portfolio Scientist. Before serving in this role, he was the NASA GeneLab Project Scientist in 2017, joining the Space Biosciences Research Branch in 2015. Before this, he was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA Ames Research Center studying the genetic and epigenetic response of yeast to microgravity exposure and a Postdoctoral Scholar at Oregon State University, where he studied the mechanisms of heterochromatin establishment and the role of heterochromatin in maintaining genome structure. Jonathan attained his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, studying biomass degradation and conversion by filamentous fungi and yeasts at the Energy Biosciences Institute. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys spending time with his family in nature.

Biography

Egle Cekanaviciute, PhD
Egle Cekanaviciute, PhD
ARC Human Research Program Project Manager

Dr. Cekanaviciute is the Ames Research Center Lead for the NASA Human Research Program (HRP), responsible for managing ARC personnel and budget that support HRP.  She is also a Principal Investigator in the Radiation Biophysics Laboratory in the Space Biosciences Research Branch and the course director of the STAR: Spaceflight Technologies, Application and Research training program. She began her career at ARC as a contractor via USRA in 2017, joining civil service in 2020. Dr. Cekanaviciute holds a BA in Neurobiology from Harvard University and a PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University.

Biography