Copyright: ESA/NASA – S. Cristoforetti
  • We are working on building an evidence base on how the space environment affects the craniofacial structures. 
  • We have a series of projects that involve synthesising studies of clinical and pre-clinical research (animal and human studies). 
  • We conduct meta-research studies to innovate the methods to address the needs of these reviews.

Systematic Threat Analysis of Radiation from Space (STARS) project

STARS is a collaborative team of researchers from CAMARADES Berlin, Berlin Institute of Health @ Charité along with researchers and interns based in the Space Medicine Team of European Astronaut Centre/European Space Agency (ESA) and researchers based in University of Glasgow and UC Irvine. Currently, we work on two systematic reviews on impact of ionising radiation. Our projects are available on Open Science Forum: "Are there sex differences in susceptibility to ionised radiation" and "Non-neoplastic effects of ionising radiation on central nervous system – a systematic review."
Open Science Forum link for the projects
Are there sex differences in susceptibility to ionised radiation OSF | Are there sex differences in susceptibility to ionised radiation
This project uses series of innovative approaches including a new quality assessment for in-vitro studies (see the tools and guidelines section) along with developing machine learning algorithm that can screen complex data in addition to the findings of the reviews. 
As part of the review, we are currently running a crowdsourcing exercise to engage members of public in our research projects. Read more about it on a blog post on European Space Agency website: ESA is calling for Citizen Scientists – ESA – Exploration
STARS project logo
STARS project logo

Project leads

  • Professor Mona Nasser – University of Plymouth
  • Dr Alexandra Bannach Brown – Quest Centre, Berlin Institute of Health
  • Dr Anna Fogtman – Space Medicine Team, European Space Agency


  • Murray Mackay
  • Diana Donovan
  • Ioana Domocos
  • Jernej Šorli
  • Nimita Patel
  • Alexandru-Petru Vasile
  • Milad Dulloo
  • Jeromine Vacquie
  • Marta Hasny
  • Giorgio Lorini
  • Fanny Roessler
  • Illay Öztürk, (current and previous ESA interns)
  • Olivia Drayson (PhD student, University of California, Irvine)
  • Nicole Elango (BDS student, University of Plymouth)
  • Olufemi AJipatutu (MSc student, University of Plymouth)
  • Marieke Dewulf (MSc student, University of Plymouth)
  • Dr Mario Gianni (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Ria Mae H. Borromeo (University of the Philippines Open University)
The project is supported through the internship programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), ESA topical team programme, COST-EU action (short scientific mission), University of Plymouth Strategic investment Fund and University of Plymouth NERC “Cross-disciplinary research [CDR] for Discovery Science” Fellowship Awards, Berlin Institute of Health/QUEST Centre fellow programme.

Caving Analog Mission: Ocean, Earth, Space (CAMões)

In Portugal, the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) has engaged a Portuguese and international team of research institutions to develop and implement research programs focused on bioastronautics, space medicine, geosciences, robotics, suborbital spaceflight, human health, and atmospheric science. Over the past two years, these teams have come together for an annual technical summit in Portugal where they review collaborative projects, exchange findings, and explore further scientific endeavours to push the limits of their technology and discoveries. The result has been increased university student involvement across each country, the introduction of a new university curriculum in Portugal, increased access to international experts, co-publication of technical work, and a growing database of knowledge. This year has been a pivotal one for this team as INESC TEC announced the inauguration of a new scientific test bed: a lava tube cave.
Selected members of the organisations will be carrying out an inaugural space research analogue, the Caving Analog Mission: Ocean, Earth, Space (CAMões), in the Azores November 21-28, 2023. The CAMões team will live and work inside the Natal Cave on Terceira Island for this analogue. An analogue is something that is similar or comparable to something else. For the space industry, there is a growing number of unique or extreme environments used to test planetary exploration. Analogue studies using lava tubes on Earth inform the solutions for a spectrum of industries such as geological, climate, medical, and biological.
There are scientific characteristics of Azorean lava tube systems that can contribute to unique studies. A member of this first CAMões crew is Yvette Gonzalez, a Visiting Researcher with the Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research. She will work closely with Dr Daniela Oehring, Professor Mona Nasser, Professor Stephen Hall, and Dr Prashanti Eachempati on novel ocular and medical research in this rare context.
The experiments are partially supported by the Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC) – University of Plymouth.
People with hard hats on in a cave
Caving Analog Mission: Ocean, Earth, Space (CAMões)

Project team

  • Yvette Gonzalez
  • Mona Nasser
  • Daniela Oehring
  • Stephen Hall
  • Prashanti Eachempati

Monitoring the human brain during Space Flight: Mitigating Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome

Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS) is a well documented form of neuropathology unique to the microgravity environment, and known to lead to raised intracranial pressure due to dynamic cranial fluid shifts that occur in microgravity conditions. Numerous approaches are necessary to investigate SANS and to identify the best way to monitor the brain in the space environment. Dr Jon Sen will be joining the group and undertaking an M.D. degree under supervision of Professor Mona Nasser, Dr Daniela Oehring, and Professor Stephen Hall. He is working on evaluating the usage of multi-modal monitoring of the brain of astronauts during spaceflight, including Pupillometry, optic nerve sheath ultrasound, cerebral blood flow and other techniques, and how they can be optimised for the space environment and for reliability.
The experiments are part of a series of projects in collaboration Nebula Research & Development, Jeddah, with the Saudi Space Agency, and taking place on SpaceX and Axiom missions launching from NASA space centres during 2023 and 2024.

Other systematic reviews in space medicine

Kim DS, Weber T, Straube U, Hellweg CE, Nasser M, Green DA, Fogtman A. The Potential of Physical Exercise to Mitigate Radiation Damage-A Systematic Review. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 Apr 29;8:585483. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.585483. PMID: 33996841; PMCID: PMC8117229.
Nasser M, Fogtman A, Mackay M, et al. Methodological innovation/Adaptation for systematic reviews for space medicine. International Astronautical Conference, Dubai, Oct 2021.


Kumbargere Nagraj S, Eachempati P, Paisi M, Nasser M, Sivaramakrishnan G, Verbeek JH. Interventions to reduce contaminated aerosols produced during dental procedures for preventing infectious diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Oct 12;10(10):CD013686. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013686.pub2. PMID: 33047816; PMCID: PMC8164845. Interventions to reduce contaminated aerosols produced during dental procedures for preventing infectious diseases - PubMed (
Kumbargere Nagraj S, Eachempati P, Paisi M, Nasser M, Sivaramakrishnan G, Francis T, Verbeek JH. Preprocedural mouth rinses for preventing transmission of infectious diseases through aerosols in dental healthcare providers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022 Aug 22;8(8):CD013826. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013826.pub2. PMID: 35994295; PMCID: PMC9394685. Preprocedural mouth rinses for preventing transmission of infectious diseases through aerosols in dental healthcare providers - PubMed (