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The Paraboladies

Eleonor Frost, Lauren Church, Dr. Nina Purvis and Maia Gummer
Aerospace Medicine Research Group
London, England
We are The Paraboladies - a group of 4 women interested in Aerospace Medicine from a
variety of backgrounds including medicine, human sciences, and physics. We formed our
team to partake in the European Student Aerospace Challenge 2018/19
(https://www.esa.int/Education/ESA_Academy/Student_Aerospace_Challenge_2018-2019),
after bonding at an Aerospace Medicine open day at RAF Farnborough, UK. Lauren and Nina
had previously met whilst attending the European Space Agency’s Human Space Physiology
Training Course in 2018, both being medical students in London. Maia and Eleonor both
completed University College London’s Space Medicine module as part of their
undergraduate degrees. Lauren, Maia, and Nina are now studying for Master’s degrees in
Space Physiology and Health at King’s College London.
For the challenge we undertook a project entitled, “Pre-Flight Medical Checks in the
Commercial Suborbital Spaceflight Participant”, producing a 60-page report and poster
presentation of our findings from a literature review and qualitative questionnaire to
professionals in aerospace medicine. We presented this research as part of the challenge at
the Suborbital Day 2 in Paris, France 2019. After this, we presented our research at the
International Space Development Conference in Arlington, USA 2019; at the UK Space
Primer in London, UK 2019; and are due to present at the UK Space Conference in Newport,
Wales 2019.
A shared passion and commitment to Aerospace Medicine has meant that our participation
in the challenge has grown into further research that we hope to publish as well as science
outreach activities.
--
Maia Gummer

Maia has recently graduated from University College London with an honours degree in
Human Sciences, where her passion for Space Medicine began. She completed a module in
Space Medicine and Extreme Environment Physiology, coordinated by Dr Kevin Fong and Dr
Dan Martin which inspired her to progress onto her current Master’s course in Space
Physiology and Health at King’s College London. Maia has attended multiple conferences on
the topics of space and aerospace medicine, and is a start-up committee member of the
Royal Aeronautical Society Aerospace Medicine subgroup for students and early career
professionals. With the Paraboladies, she has compiled a report that defines the pre-flight
medical checks for passengers on commercial suborbital spaceflight. With the team she has
then presented this research internationally this summer at the Student Aerospace
Challenge in Paris, the International Space Development Conference in Washington DC, as
well as the first ever UK Primer on Space Medicine at UCL in London. She is a member of
several London based aerospace and space medicine societies, helping to organise
conferences around the U.K. She is a STEM ambassador, and alongside her undergraduate
degree wrote Science and Technology content for PiMedia, UCL’s largest student media
outlet. She is also employed by the Royal Air Force as a reservist, giving her exposure to the
growth of space research in the military. She has multiple flying hours, both dual and solo,
under her belt from the RAF Elementary Flying Training curriculum. Through this experience,
as well as visits to places of aerospace physiology research such as the RAF Centre of
Aviation Medicine, Maia has experienced the physiological effects of flying and G force
herself.
--
Speaker bio: Dr Nina Purvis

Dr Nina Purvis brings her integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Astrophysics and a
Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded PhD in Medical Physics together, along with her
aspirations of becoming a clinician-researcher and lecturer, to form an interest and
commitment to Aerospace Medicine. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in
Oncological Imaging and Radiogenomics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New
York City, then began Graduate-Entry Medicine and Surgery at Barts and The London. She is
currently intercalating a Master’s in Space Physiology and Health at King’s College London
before completing her final two years of medical school. She attended the European Space
Agency’s Human Space Physiology Training course in 2018, after submitting an abstract
entitled, “A Review of the Effects of Spaceflight on the Female Reproductive System”.
During this course she completed a project analysing the development of infants in Lunar
gravity. As part of Team Paraboladies, she completed a research project into formulating
pre-flight medical checks for commercial spaceflight and has presented this research at the
UK Space Primer 2019 (London, UK), the UK Space Conference 2019 (Newport, Wales), as
well as competing in the European Student Aerospace Challenge at the Suborbital Day 2019
(Paris, France). She has shown dedication to the field by attending lectures at the Royal
Aeronautical Society and shadowing doctors in the UK’s new Aviation and Space Medicine
speciality at RAF, Farnborough. Through these links, she is the principal investigator for a
study modelling radiation exposure in suborbital spaceflight. Holding various professional
memberships, including the IoP, The Physiological Society, RAeS, and AsMA. She is a
published author and has presented at several international conferences. Nina taught
undergraduate physics for three years at the University of Hull, as well as GCSE physics at
Hull Trinity House School for one year, holding a postgraduate qualification in teaching and
research. She is also a proud Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust alumni having received
the prestigious scholarship to study Medicine and Surgery as a graduate. Nina holds
extracurricular qualifications in First Aid, A level Mandarin Chinese, and MATLAB
programming. She is a keen STEM ambassador, helping organise outreach activities such as
Hull Science Fair, having been active in science outreach since 2012 via ScienceGrrl and
STEM Learning.
--
Eleonor Frost

Eleonor Frost is a recent graduate of UCL with an honours degree in Physics and Medical
Physics, going into a graduate medicine program. Her experience in Space Medicine includes
teaching and mentoring by Dr Kevin Fong on UCL’s Space Medicine and Extreme
Environment Physiology course. Alongside this, her thesis researching the “Feasibility and
Design of a Microgravity Surgical Workstation” has won a UK wide competition and is an
individual finalist at the IAC 2019. This year she is working as a research assistant at ISSET
developing two microbiology experiments set to launch to the ISS in spring 2019. Eleonor is
currently involved in organising the two UK Space Conference Space Medicine panels and is
a start-up committee member of RAeS Aerospace Medicine subgroup for students and early
career professionals. She is also the lead for two research groups: the SGAC SMLS working
group researching how to study ICP changes in microgravity and the ‘Paraboladies’ defining
pre-flight medical checks for suborbital spaceflight. Alongside the team in the latter she has
presented in Paris, Washington, London and is invited to 3 further presentations in 2019.
She is also an active member of RAeS, AMSRO and the SGAC Space Medicine and Life
Sciences Group.
--
Lauren Church

Lauren Church, an aspiring flight surgeon, is a medical student at King’s College London; she
has interrupted her studies following her third year in order to complete a Master’s Course
in Space Physiology in academic year 2019-20. Lauren has been interested in Space
Medicine for a number of years, attending many conferences as a delegate and being
competitively selected as the youngest student to attend the European Space Agency’s 2018
Human Space Physiology Training Course, submitting an abstract on the effects of
microgravity on the vestibular system.
Lauren won a Royal Society of Biology essay prize with a work entitled “Moving to Mars” on
the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans and how its DNA repair properties might help us in
our quest to colonise the Red Planet. She regularly gives talks on human spaceflight to
visitors of London’s famous Science Museum, and recently spoke on a panel at the Space
Generation Advisory Council’s European Student Forum on the future of space medicine.
Outreach and education have been a large part of Lauren’s focus in STEM, as a STEM
Ambassador with STEM Learning UK, and having worked as a mentor with ISSET’s Mission
Discovery initiative for the last 3 years, coaching and guiding school-age students to design
experiments to send to the International Space Station. Beyond this role with ISSET, Lauren
has been carrying out some of the winning experiments, with 2 experiments due to launch
to the ISS in spring of 2020. As part of the Paraboladies, Lauren has completed research on
the pre-flight medical checks required for suborbital commercial spaceflight, and is proud to
have presented this work at the final of the European Student Aerospace Challenge, as well
as the International Space Development Conference and the UK’s first Space Medicine
Primer in 2019. This work complements her previous repertoire of research on the use of
IVIM-MRI to predict treatment response in body cancers and research into HIV.


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