February 9, 2021

Dr. Cheryl A. Nickerson

Dr. Cheryl A. Nickerson is a Professor in the Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines, and Virotherapy at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Tulane University, an M.S. in Genetics from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Louisiana State University. Her postdoctoral internship in bacterial pathogenesis and vaccine development was done at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Nickerson is internationally recognized for her pioneering spaceflight biomedical research discoveries showing unique microgravity-induced changes in the disease-causing potential of microbial pathogens (which laid the foundation for use of the microgravity platform for modern microbiological research in spaceflight), and advances in bioengineering three-dimensional (3-D) models of human tissues for infectious disease research and drug development. Her research has flown on numerous NASA missions to the International Space Station (with two more scheduled) and has resulted in a paradigm shift in how we view the infection process from the host-pathogen perspective. For her research contributions to advance NASA’s human spaceflight program, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and was selected as a NASA Astronaut candidate finalist.


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