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Project Title:  Stress Response and Neurovestibular Compensation and the Potential Ameliorative Effects of Team Support (Postdoctoral Fellowship) Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2021 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
Start Date: 08/01/2021  
End Date: 08/31/2023  
Task Last Updated: 08/30/2021 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Sarma, Mallika  Ph.D. / Johns Hopkins University 
Address:  Human Spaceflight Lab, Department of Otolaryngology 
710 Ross Research Building 
Baltimore , MD 21287-0006 
Phone: 248-930-2729  
Congressional District:
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: Johns Hopkins University 
Joint Agency:  
Shelhamer, Mark  Sc.D. MENTOR: Johns Hopkins University 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX16AO69A-P0601 
Responsible Center: TRISH 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Unique ID: 14579 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2021 TRISH-RFA-2101-PD: Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) Postdoctoral Fellowships 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX16AO69A-P0601 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: None
Human Research Program Risks: None
Human Research Program Gaps: None
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 08/31/2023 per TRISH (Ed., 8/4/22)


Long-duration space flight will likely produce neurovestibular challenges that could have severe negative consequences on astronaut safety and mission success. Basic neurovestibular functions such as fine-motor and sensorimotor control are essential for vehicle control and operation of key scientific experiments. It is therefore imperative that astronauts are able to successfully adapt neurovestibular systems upon exposure to new challenging environments. However, the adaptation process can be adversely impacted by a variety of factors, including stressors from disruptions to sleep, the environment, having to perform, and engaging with new people, all of which are anticipated in a mission setting. The challenge to neurovestibular systems during space flight, compounded with other stressors, will impact the ability to maintain safe and effective space travel and eventual long-term habitation; yet this remains understudied.

When experiencing these compounding stressors, the physiological stress response may influence neurovestibular responses. Specifically, the level of stress may impact how well the neurovestibular system adapts to change. In addition, any such mission will have a crew, where a team of individuals are dependent on each other. NASA has conducted substantial research about the negative stress associated with interpersonal issues in isolation and confinement that contribute to compounded stressors. However, the positive factors of team support may dampen the negative effects of a greater stress response, with positive implications on the function of other physiological systems, including the vestibular system.

This project will study 1) how stress response can impact neurovestibular adaptation and 2) how social support may ameliorate the detrimental effects of stress response on neurovestibular adaptation. With these insights, we can develop countermeasures to mitigate space flight risks related to human health countermeasures and human factors and behavioral performance.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2021 
Task Progress: New project for FY2021.

Bibliography: Description: (Last Updated: 01/12/2023) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography
 None in FY 2021