11/2021: New research project with ESA in Antarctica

The European Space Agency has informed us on our success in proposing a research project to study muscle and cartilage physiology in over-winterers at Concordia Station in Antarctica. I am the PI of an international and interdisciplinary team of scientsts from Italy (Triest University), the UK (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Germany (TU Darmstadt and Saarland University). We look forward to this exciting adventure!

10/2021: Launch party of astronaut Matthias Maurer

I was invited to present our research at the launch party of German astronaut Matthias Maurer in Oberthal. Details HERE and HERE.

10/2021: Radio interview

German radio station “Deutschlandfunk Nova” broadcasted a live interview with me on the spaceflight of 90-year old William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain James T Kirk of Star Trek (at 1:25 min. into the program).

09/2021: Physicsworld review on The Spacefarer’s Handbook

A review on our recent Spacefarer’s Handbook was published by physicsworld.

08/2021: Media articles on our latest paper

The website Market Research Telecast has published an article on our latest AI paper. There is also an article in German on the FOCUS website.

07/2021: Machine learning manuscript published by GeroScience

The journal GeroScience [IF 7.713] has published our newest paper that deals with the prediction of individual age-related performance decline trajectories by machine learning.

06/2021: Invited talk at the Finnish Satellite Workshop 2021

I feel honoured to be invited to give a talk at the Finnish Satellite Workshop 2021 in Helsinki, Finland. Title of the talk and link to the abstract: “Health issues in connection to spaceflight“.

05/2021: Book review and interview by ‘Popular Science’

Thanks a lot to the ‘Popular Science’-team for publishing this wonderful book review and an interview with my brother an me!

04/2021: Several interviews and news mentions

My start as a professor triggered several outreach items, including (all in German) a news article of the Saarland state chancellery

03/2021: Interview published on the first week as a professor

The German Society of Female Surgeons (Die Chirurginnen e.V.) has published an interview with me and asked me about my career, the first week as a professor, and career advice for young surgeons. Find the interview (in German) HERE.

03/2021: Professor at Saarland University

I have changed jobs and am now the full Professor (W3) for Innovative Implant Development at Saarland University in Germany. The Werner-Siemens-Foundation is funding this chair that was created to conduct interdisciplinary research on smart implants for the treatment of bone fractures. THIS is the new department website.

02/2021: New papers accepted

We just had papers accepted in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A [IF 5.236], the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease [IF 5.178], and Sensors [3.275], and we look forward to seeing them published soon!

02/2021: Lightning talk at the NASA Human Research Program IWS Conference

We presented our newest results from the AGBRESA bed rest study at an online NASA conference.

01/2021: Bed rest paper published in Experimental Cell Research

Our second paper from the AGBRESA bed rest study was published, titled “Sixty days of head-down tilt bed rest with or without artificial gravity do not affect the neuromuscular secretome“. Find it HERE.

12/2020: Introductory talk on Space Physiology

My amazing colleague Julia Attias and I gave talks on Space Physiology and Countermeasures in a Space Physiology mini symposium in the Virtual Environmental Ergonomics Series of Brock University, Canada, on December 17th. Thanks to Stephen Cheung (Brock University, Canada), Tadej Debevec (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) and Chris Tyler (University of Roehampton, UK) for having us!

11/2020: Several news mentions

I was recently interviewed for articles on laundy in spaceflight in the New Scientist and The Telegraph. The space magazine Tähdet ja avaruus from Finland published an interview with me on human centrifugation (in Finnish):

10/2020: Paper published in GeroScience

The official Journal of the American Aging Association, GeroScience [IF 6.444], has published our newest paper on physical performance declines throughout the aging process. Find it HERE.

10/2020: Talk at the World Space Week Space Health Symposium

On Monday, October 5th, I gave a talk at the World Space Week Space Health Symposium online with the title “Musculoskeletal research in bedrest studies”. I also chaired a session the same day. Many thanks to Dr Rowena Christiansen of University of Melbourne, Australia, for her great work in organizing the event! This is the event flyer:

09/2020: Session chair at CURAC 2020

I had the honour to chair a session at the 2020 German Society for Computer- and Robot-Assisted Surgery (CURAC) meeting. It was great to be back at the first real-life conference since March. CURAC is an amazing mix of computer scientists, engineers and surgeons.

08/2020: “The Spacefarer’s Handbook – Science and Life Beyond Earth” is here!

Our new book was published and is now available. We are ready to give book presentations and talks, and we hope everyone enjoys the read!

08/2020: No motor unit remodeling in bedrest with or without artificial gravity

Our first paper of the AGBRESA bedrest study was published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. It deals with the motor unit number and size, which were both not affected by bedrest or human centrifugation.

06/2020: New paper published on performance of the oldest-old athletes

We have published a new research paper on performance declines in track and field athletes 80 years and older in the journal ‘Rejuvenation Research‘.

05/2020: Our new book “The Spacefarer’s Handbook – Science and Life Beyond Earth” will soon be published

This is the link to the Springer book website.

03/2020: Results presented at the German National Space Research Symposium in Bonn

At the German National Space Research Symposium of the German Aerospace Center DLR’s “Research in the Space Environment” (Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen) program helt in Bonn, we presented our latest bedrest research results.

01/2020: NASA HRP Investigators Workshop in Galveston near Houston

We have presented our first preliminary results from the AGBRESA bedrest study at a NASA conference.

11/2019: ISS proposal selected by ESA

ESA has given our proposal for an ISS experiment with the title “Neuromuscular electrical stimulation to enhance the exercise benefits for muscle functions during spaceflight” a favourable review. It is now in the definition phase for implementation. It includes pre-, in- and postflight experiments in astronauts flying to the ISS and is a collaboration with scientists from Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and the UK.

10/2019: Field study at UCI World Master Track Cycling Championships in Manchester, UK

We just completed a field study at the World Championships in indoor track cycling for master athletes in the Manchester velodrome. Team photo:

10/2019: Inaugural lecture at RWTH Aachen University

On October 18th, 2019, I gave my inaugural lecture as a formal step to celebrate the habilitation (postdoctoral thesis and license to teach at a university) in RWTH Aachen University Hospital. Topic: “Medical Challenges in Spaceflight”.

06/2019: Poster presented at the EFORT conference 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal

05/2019: Physics Department Colloquium in Helsinki

In the Physics Department Colloquium of the University of Helsinki, Finland, I gave an invited talk on Space Medicine. Details HERE.

05/2019: Interview in the PM Magazine and in “Der Stern”

An interview on Space Medicine was published in the German popular science magazine PM and in the journal “Der Stern”.

04/2019: Interview published in Austrian Medical Journal

Find an interview titled “Expert for extraterrestrail matters” in the Austrian Medical Journal.

02/2019: Orthopaedic Surgeon and Manchester

I passed the exam to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon and started a new position as a research fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University on a DFG (German Research Foundation) grant!

01/2019: Our bedrest-study team

The AGBRESA bedrest study is about to start, so we took a team-pic of our research-group including colleagues from Manchester Metropolitan University, Schulthess-Klinik Zürich and the University of Amsterdam. The photo was taken inside the Short Arm Human Centrifuge at DLR in Cologne.

11/2018: Our book as a cake

During a book presentation in Würzburg, Germany, Springer came up with a great surprise: the handbook for future astronauts as a chocolate cake:

10/2018: Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study 2019

The NASA/ESA/DLR collaborative bed rest study got a “mission patch”! Find out more about the study HERE. I will be involved as a Co-I with experiments on neuromuscular interaction and wound healing.

10/2018: Space Medicine article published 

The German journal for medical students published an article I wrote on Space Medicine and how to become a space physician.

9/2018: Field study at the World Master Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain

More than 8100 athletes between 35 and 102 years of age participated in the World Master Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain. I was there for experiments in biomechanics and thermoregulation, funded by the START program of the Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University.

Infrared camera analysis of a running athlete

8/2018: Paper published showing differences in performance declines with age for athletics disciplines

Our new paper appeared in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. Rates of decline in sports-performance with age differ between disciplines and genders.

7/2018: German Research Foundation fellowship grant received

The German Research Foundation “DFG” granted me a 2-year research fellowship to perform musculoskeletal experiments in a 60-day bedrest study in cooperation with ESA and NASA. (Project description here)

6/2018: “Medical challenges on space missions”

Deutsches Ärzteblatt, the German journal for medical doctors, published my article on medical challenges on space missions. Read it HERE!

5/2018: HealthTV talkshow

German HealthTV invited me to discuss health topics in their new talkshow “Besprechstunde”. We filmed the first two episodes in “Unkelbach” pub in Cologne.

Talkshow “Besprechstunde” in a Cologne pub with Ursel Schievenbusch, Manfred Spitzer and Ingo Froböse

03/2018: Second place at German winter throwing championships

I got second in the javelin throw F35 at the German winter throwing championships in Erfurt. Results here!

01/2018: Book tour

Urs and I are on tour with our new book. Find tour dates, photos and media reports on our book-website!

12/2017: DLR Human Physiology Workshop

I participated in the Human Physiology Workshop at German Aerospace Center (DLR) and presented a new study related to musculoskeletal ageing.
Find the abstracts HERE.

11/2017: Paper published in PLOS ONE

See our new paper on microcirculation in thoracolumbar fractures HERE!

11/2017: Interview in der Mainpost

11/2017: Book published

Our “Handbook for future Astronauts” is now officially published! Check for example the Springer website or Amazon. An interview of us was printed by the newspaper Mainpost on November 11, 2017.

The dates of our “tour” of book presentations can be found HERE.

10/2017: German Congress of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery

Find the abstract of the talk I gave at DKOU 2017 in Berlin HERE.

10/2017: German champion in standing long jump and greek discus triathlon

At the German championships in old greek track and field disciplines (“LSW special sport“), I became german champion in standing long jump and greek discus triathlon in my age group. Cool thing to try out!

08/2017: Research stay at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston

I just spent a week in Houston for research – impressive! Had the honour to give a WISE lecture with the title: “Space Medicine – What We Might Have to Deal with on the Way to Mars.” and met a ton of interesting people. Here are some photos:

Columbus Module, ISS

Trying to fly the Space Shuttle

The ISS with gravity

08/2017: Fifth place at EMACS 2017

In Aarhus, Denmark, I participated in the European Master Athletic Championships and became fifth in Throws Pentathlon! What a great experience! It was particularly fascinating to see fit athletes 80 years and older participate in sports! Get out of your chair and on the track!

07/2017: Paper on IVDs in bedrest accepted

The Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions (JMNI) accepted our new paper on intervertebral discs in bedrest. See the pdf here!

06/2017: European Master Athletics Championships, Aarhus 2017

I will participate in the European Master Athletics Championships in Aarhus on August 5th, representing Germany in Throws Pentathlon in national colours. How exciting is that!

05/2017: Manual for Future Astronauts can now be pre-ordered!

The new book can now be ordered online, for example here on the Springer website! Currently the release date is August 2017.

03/2017: Meeting John Charles in Paris

John Charles is Chief Scientist of the NASA Human Research Program. We figured out how to take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower.

02/2017: ESA/NASA bed-rest meeting: kick-off at DLR in Cologne

The kick-off meeting for the ESA/NASA bed-rest study was a great success! The study will test human centrifugation as a countermeasure for long-term missions, for example to Mars. We met the other research teams and dicussed organisational issues in a teleconference with NASA. The study is scheduled for 2018.

12/2016: Astronaut candidate

Germany is searching for its first female astronaut. I applied and had the honour to participate in the selection process and tests including detailed testing at DLR in Hamburg. I made it under the best 86 applicants and met the most fascinating women ever! On March 1st two finalists will be presented to the public and start their training. One of them will hopefully get the opportunity to fly!

My official Astronaut Candidate portrait. Photo: Juliana Socher

11/2016: Bed-rest proposal accepted by ESA/NASA!

Together with five international colleagues, I submitted a proposal on muscle strength and neuromuscular interaction to a call for a bed-rest study released by ESA and NASA. The proposal was now accepted and we are looking forward to the kickoff-meeting in :envihab in Cologne in February! ESA and NASA are collaborating in this 60-days study that will investigate the use of human short arm centrifugation in space flight. 24 healthy volunteers will lay down for 60 days in 6° head-down tilt, and we will take muscle biopsies, measure muscle strength and analyze blood samples for relevant hormones and breakdown products to evaluate the effects of centrifugation on the neuromuscular system. My team consists of scientists from the UK, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. Find more information on ESA bedrest studies here.

11/2016: Keynote Lecture at British Trauma Society

What a great honour to be invited to give a keynote lecture at the British Trauma Society Annual Meeting in Birmingham! Title: Bones and Injuries in Space Flight. A great experience, lovely people, wonderful meeting!