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Parag Vaishampayan

Parag Vaishampayan

Division Chief of the Space Bioscience Division, Ames Research Center

Organization: Space Biosciences Division

Professional Background

Dr. Parag Vaishampayan is the 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 supports 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).

Before joining Ames, he worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since 2008. He has supported planetary protection implementation for several NASA missions, including MSL, InSight, M2020, MARCO, and Psyche. He has successfully managed several multi-year, multi-institutional research projects as a principal investigator (PI).

His research work has appeared in more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and several (more than 50) presentations. He was instrumental in developing and implementing several novel molecular approaches, instruments, and bioinformatics analysis tools widely used by microbial ecologists. He is a leading microbial ecologist and bioinformatician working in the field of Space biology, Astrobiology, and planetary protection. He is the recipient of several prestigious honors and awards, such as the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal (2017), JPL Explorer award (2016), Voyager award (2016, 15), Mariner award (2012).

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