Sharmila Bhattacharya


Program Scientist

Space Biology

Dr. Sharmila Bhattacharya is the Program Scientist for Space Biology at NASA. She is responsible for strategic planning and implementation of research for the Space Biology program. Previously, Dr. Bhattacharya served as the Space Policy Advisor to the US Senate Committee for Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Sharmila has been a NASA Principal Investigator conducting research on the space shuttle, the International Space Station, and small satellites. Before joining NASA, she conducted post-doctoral research in Neurobiology at Stanford University and earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at Princeton University.



2024 CME NASA Symposium Abstract

Space Biology provides an understanding of the fundamental building blocks required for life to thrive in space. Two critical environmental stressors that impact biological systems in space include elevated levels of ionizing radiation and altered gravity conditions, amongst others. When exposed to this unique environment, animals, plants, and cellular systems undergo molecular and biochemical changes, resulting in metabolic and physiological responses in space. Understanding these changes is critical to optimizing conditions where humans, plants, microbes, animals, and cellular systems co-exist and can be maintained sustainably in space for long durations of time.