The Future of Space Medicine (and Benefits for Earth)

- PDT
Session Stage 5
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Dr. Shawna Pandya
International Institute for Astronautical Sciences, Director

Dr. Shawna Pandya (pronunciation: SHAW-na PAND-ya) is a scientist-astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM, physician, aquanaut, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies and Fellow of the Explorers’ Club. She is also Director of the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences (IIAS)/PoSSUM Space Medicine Group, Chief Instructor of the IIAS/PoSSUM Operational Space Medicine course, Director of Medical Research at Orbital Assembly Corporation, clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta, podcast host with the World Extreme Medicine’s WEMCast series, Primary Investigator (PI) for the Shad Canada-Blue Origin student microgravity competition, appointed member of the ASCEND 2021 Guiding Coalition, Life Sciences Team Lead for the Association of Spaceflight Professionals, and sessional lecturer for the “Technology and the Future of Medicine,” course at the University of Alberta. She serves as medical advisor to several space, medical and technology companies, including Mission: Space Food, Gennesys and Aquanauta, as well as the Jasper Dark Sky Festival Advisory Committee. Dr. Pandya holds degrees in neuroscience (BSc Hons. Neuroscience, University of Alberta), space (MSc Space Studies, International Space University), and medicine (MD, University of Alberta), and a certification in entrepreneurship (Graduate Studies Program, Singularity University). She is currently completing a fellowship in Wilderness Medicine (Academy of Wilderness Medicine), was granted an Honorary Fellowship in Extreme and Wilderness Medicine by the World Extreme Medicine organization in 2021, and was one of 50 physicians selected to attend the 2021 European Space Agency Space Medicine Physician Training Course. Dr. Pandya was named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2021, and a Canadian Space Agency Space Ambassador in 2021.

Dr. Pandya was part of the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero-gravity in 2015. Dr. Pandya earned her aquanaut designation during the 2019 NEPTUNE (Nautical Experiments in Physiology, Technology and Underwater Exploration) mission. She previously served as Commander during a 2020 tour at the Mars Desert Research Station. Her expeditions were captured in the Land Rover short, released with the Apollo 11: First Steps film. She previously interned at ESA’s European Astronaut Center and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Her publications include book chapters on space spin-offs for medical benefit, psychological resilience in long-duration spaceflight, and reproduction and sexuality in long-duration spaceflight.

In 2021, Dr. Pandya was granted an Honorary Fellowship in Extreme and Wilderness Medicine by the World Extreme Medicine organization, was one of 50 physicians selected to attend the 2021 European Space Agency Space Medicine Physician Training Course, and was named a Canadian Space Agency Space Ambassador. In 2019, Dr. Pandya’s career and trajectory were captured at the Ontario Science Center’s “Canadian Women in Space,” exhibit, where Dr. Pandya is permanently exhibited alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space (and Dr. Pandya’s idol growing up).


In this talk, Dr. Shawna Pandya will discuss the health challenges of human spaceflight, our next frontiers - and how these lessons can be used to address everyday medical challenges on Earth.