Dr. Dorit Donoviel

Executive Director, Translational Research Institute for Space Health
Baylor College of Medicine

Associate Professor, Center for Space Medicine

Dorit Donoviel, Ph.D., serves as Executive Director for the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH), a NASA-funded cooperative agreement with a consortium led by Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, TX and includes the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. Under Dr. Donoviel’s leadership, the mission of TRISH is to lead a national effort in translating cutting edge emerging terrestrial biomedical research and technology development into applied space flight human risk mitigation strategies for human exploration missions. Prior to TRISH, Dr. Donoviel served as deputy chief scientist and Industry Forum Lead for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). Before her work with TRISH and NSBRI, Dr. Donoviel worked in the private sector, where she led metabolism drug discovery programs at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals in Houston, TX.

Under Dr. Donoviel’s leadership, the NSBRI successfully completed a pathfinding international study collaborating with the German Space Agency to use their brand new spaceflight analog facility, :envihab. This groundbreaking pilot study resulted in more than 5 scientific publications and paved the way for NASA to use a ground-based model for the highest risk to human health in low earth orbit, the Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome.

TRISH, under Dr. Donoviel’s leadership, has matured into a highly successful innovation research program that serves NASA and the Nation’s needs. During the 2019 pandemic, when academic laboratories were shuttered, Dr. Donoviel directed funded researchers to pivot their work towards developing novel diagnostics, therapeutics, and medical training to fight the pandemic. This enabled the researchers to get back to work to demonstrate novel approaches that combat the virus response at the same time as they demonstrated proof of principle for a medical application for spaceflight.

Dr. Donoviel’s vision, and ability to bring multiple stakeholders together to work toward a common cause, has enabled TRISH to build EXPAND, the first ever human research database and repository to collect data and biospecimens from private spaceflight participants. Working closely with SpaceX and their first all commercial crew, Inspiration4, TRISH successfully implemented a scientifically robust space research program and completed data collection in record time.

Dr. Donoviel is the recipient of awards from the NASA Human Research Program and was awarded the NSBRI Pioneer Award. She continues to author numerous scientific articles and papers in academic journals and is a sought-after expert for interviews by news organizations, both regionally, nationally, and internationally. She regularly authors opinion pieces on the importance of health research in spaceflight. Dr. Donoviel has been, and continues to be, a keynote speaker about space health concerns, science, and biomedical innovations at numerous domestic and international conferences.

Dr. Donoviel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology and the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She is a long-standing Faculty Senator and serves on the College’s Institutional Policy Committee. Dr. Donoviel’s training includes a B.A. in Biochemistry at University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Washington. Dr. Donoviel also performed postgraduate training at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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