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It Takes a Village: AKA Our Team

I am sure everyone has heard the saying “It takes a village to….”. Well, that is also the case with research and especially spaceflight research. There are a number of people from multiple institutions involved – Indiana University, Department of Defense (Army), NASA and CASIS (integrate spaceflight opportunities between NASA and other institutions/companies etc), and within Indiana University, there are many faculty members, staff members and trainees that are critical to the success of our mission.

The main faculty members working with me on this exciting project add a dynamic range of expertise to our research: Todd McKinley,MD, an orthopaedic trauma surgeon; Tien-Min “Gabriel” Chu, DDS, PhD, a dentist and tissue engineer; Stuart Warden, PT, PhD, a physical therapist; Yinghua Cheng, MD, PhD, an orthopaedic surgeon that has been working closely with me for seven years; and Marta Alvarez, DDS, PhD, a dentist and molecular biologist.

Additionally, my lab is staffed with some amazing talent: Paul Childress, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; David Olivos, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; Evan Himes, MS, lab technician extraordinaire; Cathy Summerlot, administrative support; Aamir Tucker, undergraduate student; Jane Han, medical student; Kishan Shah, medical student; David Scofield, medical student; Jeff Rytlewski, medical student; and Jonathan Harris, MD, orthopaedic resident.


                               Bottom row Left to Right: David Scofield, David Olivos, Andrew Engle, Jeff Rytlewski and Jane Han
Middle row left to right: Cathy Summerlot, Aamir Tucker, Paul Childress, Melissa Kacena
Back row left to right: Evan Himes, Kishan Shah and Marta Alvarez

Each individual brings with him/her specific skills and training which is critical in accomplishing our objectives. I want to take the opportunity to thank each of my current team members as well as my past team members for their many and varied contributions! Also, I am taking this opportunity to introduce our team as you will see their names in future blogs and possibly even meet them. Several will be joining us as we head to the NASA Ames Research Center to complete launch simulation studies and when we go to Kennedy Space Center to prepare our payloads for spaceflight. We will be blogging about those adventures as they occur, so be sure to check back in July and February for those blog posts or subscribe to our blog alerts!

As you can see, I am fortunate this research has the support of many professionals – and just like our research, this blog “takes a village” as well.


written by Melissa

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Carl Pinkham