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Biomarkers as Predictors of Resiliency and Susceptibility to Stress in Space Flight (NNX14AN49G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

This study will determine the predictive validity of a set of relevant, valid and reliable biomarkers for various neurobehavioral outcomes for distinguishing those who are more resilient versus those who are more susceptible to the adverse effects of the combination of high performance stress and acute sleep loss—two conditions commonly experienced in space flight. The deliverable will be the development of a countermeasure (set of biomarkers) to provide mission planners and system developers with individualized strategies for crew resources, and for mitigating stress and other behavioral health and performance risks during short-duration and long-duration space flight.

Neurobehavioral decrements in space flight are due to operational and physiological stress related to fatiguing workload and work schedules (e.g., slam shifts), and to reduced sleep quality and duration. Sleep loss produces fatigue, variability in behavioral alertness, deficits in attention, memory and executive functions, reduced mood-affect regulation, and ultimately increased accidents and injuries. Stress is also associated with neurobehavioral changes. Increased workload and performance demands (i.e., more difficult cognitive tasks, with greater time pressure and with negative feedback on performance) produce higher ratings of stress, task difficulty, effort required, frustration, distress, and total mood disturbance.

Specific Aims:

  1. Determine whether candidate biomarkers, including cardiovascular measures, change in response to high performance demands and acute sleep loss stressors.
  2. Evaluate the predictive validity of a set of candidate biomarkers, including cardiovascular measures, for neurobehavioral susceptibility to the stressors in Aim 1.
  3. Identify candidate biomarkers that differentiate susceptible and resilient individuals in responses to the stressors in Aim 1.
  4. Determine the stability of candidate biomarkers from pre-mission to in-mission baseline and from in-mission recovery to post-mission.

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Stroke volume
Heart rate

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in Progress. Some restricted access data exist for this experiment.
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Blood pressure
C reactive protein
Cardiac output
Cortisol, salivary
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress
HERA Campaign 2 01/30/2015 08/27/2015 Four 14-day missions
HERA Campaign 3 01/26/2016 10/19/2016 Four 30-day missions

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI)