Center for Space Medicine

Center for Space Medicine History


Established in 2008, the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine marks the first time space medicine has been codified as an independent academic center or department in a university or medical school.

The Center for Space Medicine is the result of Baylor’s longstanding contributions to the nation’s human space program, its past leadership of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), and its #1 ranking in NASA-funded life science R&D for the past two decades.

Our center is a recognized leader in exploration medicine and biomedical innovation. It attracts the best minds to work collaboratively and translate new discoveries to mitigate health risks for human space exploration while also benefiting life on Earth. The center contributes to Baylor’s learning heath system.

Together with NSBRI, NASA and Rice University, Baylor and the Center for Space Medicine established in 2011 a Space 4 Biomedicine facility in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, complete with reconfigurable research and education capabilities and the first-ever Astro-Omics Laboratory.

Following the completion of the 20-year NSBRI cooperative agreement with NASA, Baylor College of Medicine successfully competed and received in 2016 a 12-year NASA award for the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH). The institute is led by the Center with major subcontractors being Caltech and MIT.

The Center for Space Medicine serves as a hub for space medicine faculty and staff, TRISH investigators, students, residents, fellows, visiting scholars and others to exchange ideas, host interactive scientific meetings and technology demonstrations, and participate in cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, education and clinical activities at the interface of space and medicine.

The Center developed and supports a unique Space Medicine Pathway for medical students. The pathway consists of didactic and research elective courses, with M.D. graduates in every year since the pathway was established in 2012.




Center for Space Medicine faculty members are thought leaders and distinguished physicians, scientists, and engineers, working at the frontier of health science and technology. Faculty members include the chair of the TRISH Board of Directors, TRISH leadership, former NASA astronauts, flight surgeons, scientists and engineers, and those with expertise in biomedical commercialization.

The Friedkin Chair for Research in Sensory System Integration and Space Medicine at Baylor is currently held by the CSM director. It is the only endowed professorship in space medicine in the world.

Center faculty have leadership roles at Baylor and NASA, consult with commercial space ventures, perform public outreach, serve on national boards, and provide expertise to the United States Congress and other entities of national and international importance.

Center faculty have received numerous accolades, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (NASA’s highest honor). The Scientific Achievement Award of the Space Medicine Association is named in honor of the CSM director Dr. Jeffrey P. Sutton.




Baylor College of Medicine attracts exceptional applicants to its M.D. program, and some are drawn to Baylor specifically because of the Center for Space Medicine.

Approximately 1,000 Baylor medical students have completed space medicine elective courses offered by the Center.

Students have earned a Ph.D. degree at Baylor College of Medicine through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, with thesis topics related to space medicine.

Space Medicine faculty, residents, fellows, and students publish scholarly peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals and have a growing portfolio of intellectual property.