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Dr. Martinez is Co-investigator in $1.1 million NASA Grant.

HHP faculty Dr. Daniel Martinez is among a group of researchers who have been awarded a 1.1 million grant from NASA to explore bone loss among astronauts. NASA plans longer missions and needs to address the problem of bone loss among astronauts spending extended periods in weightless conditions.

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Dr. Daniel Martinez

Below is a excerpt from a news release published by the Cullen College of Engineering

During the next three years, Martinez will work with lead investigator Harry Hogan and co-investigator Susan Bloomfield, both faculty at Texas A&M University, to study measures to counteract bone loss during these missions. All three are named on a roughly $1.1 million grant received in July from NASA’s Human Research Program—nearly $265,000 of the total funding Martinez’s efforts.

“The long-term health consequences for crew members are unclear, so the problem needs to be better understood,” said Martinez. “Our research will address this problem through a series of experiments using the adult male hind limb unloaded rat model.”

Through both treadmill running and resistance training exercises, researchers will assess activities effect on bone mass, bone mineral density and bone quality in rats. Researchers will analyze these aspects in the hope their results will offer a better look at the consequences of extended periods in space and tender solutions to combat this loss.

“Many bone properties, most notably bone strength, are not directly measurable in humans. This is where animal studies provide a crucial role,” Martinez said. “The results will provide direct quantitative and objective evidence for better defining the risk of space travel on long-term crew member health and the factors most critical to monitor when assessing recovery of bone health following single or multiple missions.”

Dr. Martinez is part of the Laboratory of Integrated Physiology