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Scott Parazynski, MD

Full Affiliate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Dr. Scott Parazynski has lived and traveled all over the world, spending many of his grade school and high school years in places such as Dakar, Senegal; Beirut, Lebanon; Tehran, Iran; and Athens, Greece. A graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, he went on to train at Harvard and in Denver in preparation for a career in emergency medicine and trauma. Dr. Parazynski is also a physiologist with expertise in human adaptation to stressful environments.

In 1992, he was selected to join NASA's Astronaut Corps and eventually flew five Space Shuttle Missions and conducted seven spacewalks (EVAs). In his 17 years as an astronaut, he served in numerous senior leadership roles, including EVA Branch Chief and the Lead Astronaut for Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System Inspection & Repair. Dr. Parazynski has spent over eight weeks in space with more than 47 hours outside on spacewalks.

In addition to being a life-long SCUBA diver and accomplished mountaineer, Dr, Parazynski is also a commercial, instrument, multiengine and seaplane-rated pilot with over 2,500 flight hours. He began climbing in his teens, and has climbed in the Alaska Range, the Cascades, the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas. On May 20, 2009, he scaled Mt. Everest and became the first astronaut to stand on top of the world. Additionally, as part of a NASA-sponsored expedition to the high Andes, he conducted a scientific dive in the summit caldera lake of 19,700-foot Licancabur volcano, the world's highest lake.

He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including: five NASA Spaceflight Medals, two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, two Vladimir Komarov Diplomas from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, two Flight Achievement Awards from the American Astronomical Association, the Aviation Week Laureate Award, the Ellis Island Family Heritage Award, Gold Medal from the American Institute of Polish Culture, and the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club. Additionally, he is a member of the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.

He is currently a visiting professor of space medicine at the University of Oxford, a consulting professor in the department of medicine at Stanford Medical School, and a clinical assistant professor of aerospace medicine at UTMB-Galveston. He is also chairman of the board of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education non-profit organization, motivating 400,000 school kids each year with simulated space missions.

Dr. Parazynski became the chief medical officer for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston's Center for Polar Medical Operations in 2012. In this role, he oversees the health screening and medical care of the National Science Foundation's United States Antarctic Program's.

His research involves a wide range of medical and surgical devices, including robotic control tools, powered implantable devices, systems to reduce Intensive Care psychosis, and devices that improve situational awareness and reduce error in critical care environments. Additionally, he is involved in studies aboard the International Space Station, assessing human adaptation to long duration spaceflight.


Lumbar Spine Paraspinal Muscle and Intervertebral Disc Height Changes in Astronauts after Long-duration Spaceflight on the International Space Station
Chang, DG, Healey, RM, Snyder, AJ, Sayson, JV, Macias, BR, Coughlin, DG, Bailey, JF, Parazynski, SE, Lotz, JC & Hargens, AR 2016, Spine. DOI:

Primary care in extreme environments: Medical clinic utilization at Antarctic stations, 2013-2014
Pattarini, JM, Scarborough, JR, Lee Sombito, V & Parazynski, SE 2016, Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, vol 27, no. 1, pp. 69-77. DOI:

Self-contained diffuse optical imaging system for real-time detection and localization of vascular occlusions
Pollonini, L, Forseth, KJ, Dacso, CC, Parazynski, SE & Friedman, JD 2015, . in Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS. vol. 2015-November, 7319730, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. pp. 5884-5887, 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2015, Milan, Italy, 25-29 August. DOI:

Microgravity-induced back pain and intervertebral disc herniation: International space station results
Sayson, JV, Lotz, JC, Parazynski, SE, Chang, DG, Healey, RM & Hargens, AR 2015, . in 66th International Astronautical Congress 2015, IAC 2015: Space - The Gateway for Mankinds Future. vol. 1, International Astronautical Federation, IAF, pp. 21-45, 66th International Astronautical Congress 2015: Space - The Gateway for Mankinds Future, IAC 2015, Jerusalem, Israel, 12-16 October.

Back pain in space and post-flight spine injury: Mechanisms and countermeasure development
Sayson, JV, Lotz, J, Parazynski, S & Hargens, AR 2013, Acta Astronautica, vol 86, pp. 24-38. DOI:

Nanotechnologies and regenerative medical approaches for space and terrestrial medicine
Grattoni, A , Tasciotti, E, Fine, D, Fernandez-Moure, JS, Sakamoto, J, Hu, Y, Weiner, B, Ferrari, M & Parazynski, S 2012, Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, vol 83, no. 11, pp. 1025-1036. DOI:

Extravehicular activity development and verification testing at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
Jairala, JC, Durkin, R, Marak, RJ, Prince, AR, Sipila, SA, Ney, ZA, Parazynski, SE & Thomason, AH 2012, . in 42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012. 42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012, United States, 15-19 July.

Suborbital commercial spacefl ight crewmember medical issues
Vanderploeg, J, Campbell, M, Antuñano, M, Bagian, J, Bopp, E, Carminati, G, Charles, J, Clague, R, Clark, J, Gedmark, J, Jennings, R, Masten, D, McCormick, M, McDonald, V, McGinnis, P, Michaud, V, Murray, M, Myers, KJ, Parazynski, S, Richard, E, Scheuring, R, Searfoss, R, Snyder, Q, Stepanek, J, Stern, A, Virre, E & Wagner, E 2011, Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, vol 82, no. 4, pp. 475-484. DOI:

Building nanoglands
Grattoni, A , Parazynski, S & Hussain, F 2011, Mechanical Engineering, vol 133, no. 2.

International space station life science research funding
Campbell, MR, Bopp, EA, McDonald, V, Charles, JB, Chandler, MR, Calder, A, Hamilton, D, Stepanek, J, Polk, JD, Parazynski, SE, Holland, D, Johnston, SL, Clark, J & Arnold, A 2008, Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, vol 79, no. 4, pp. 440-441. DOI:

From model rockets to spacewalks: an astronaut physician's journey and the science of the United States' space program.
Parazynski, SE 2006, Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, vol 117, pp. 273-281.

Access systems for partial gravity exploration & rescue: Engineering analysis & design
Chappell, SP, Klaus, DM & Parazynski, SE 2006, . in SAE Technical Papers. 36th International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2006, Norfolk, VA, United States, 17-20 July. DOI:

Simulated hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS) in microgravity
Broderick, TJ, Privitera, MB, Parazynski, SE & Cuttino, M 2005, Journal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques - Part A, vol 15, no. 2, pp. 145-148. DOI:

Direct measurement of capillary blood pressure in the human lip
Parazynski, SE, Tucker, BJ, Aratow, M, Crenshaw, A & Hargens, AR 1993, Journal of Applied Physiology, vol 74, no. 2, pp. 946-950.

Transcapillary fluid shifts in tissues of the head and neck during and after simulated microgravity
Parazynski, SE, Hargens, AR, Tucker, B, Aratow, M, Styf, J & Crenshaw, A 1991, Journal of Applied Physiology, vol 71, no. 6, pp. 2469-2475.

Development of exercise devices to minimize musculoskeletal and cardiovascular deconditioning in microgravity.
Schwandt, DF, Whalen, RT, Watenpaugh, DE, Parazynski, SE & Hargens, AR 1991, Physiologist, vol 34, no. 1 Suppl.

Muscle changes with eccentric exercise: implications on Earth and in space.
Hargens, AR, Parazynski, S, Aratow, M & Friden, J 1989, Advances in myochemistry, vol 2, pp. 299-312.