James A. Pawelczyk bigraphy, stories - American astronaut

James A. Pawelczyk : biography

September 20, 1960 -

James Anthony "Jim" Pawelczyk (born September 20, 1960) is an American researcher of physiology and Kinesiology who flew aboard the NASA STS-90 Space Shuttle mission as a Payload Specialist.

Professional career

Post-doctoral fellowship in cardiovascular neurophysiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 1989-1992; Visiting scientist, Department of Anaesthesia, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1990; Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 1992-1995; Director, Autonomic and Exercise Physiology Laboratories, Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, 1992-1995; Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 1995; Associate Professor of Physiology and Kinesiology, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1995–present. Dr. Pawelczyk took leave from Penn State University to fly as a payload specialist on STS-90 (Neurolab).

NASA career

User design group, GASMAP (Gas Analysis System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology); Unit principal investigator for the NASA Specialized Center for Outreach, Research and Training (NSCORT) grant in integrative physiology. He received a NASA Young Investigator Award in 1994 for his work in the area of autonomic neurophysiology. Pawelczyk was a co-investigator for experiments flown on the Neurolab mission, and two Shuttle-Mir (Phase 1B) flights. Pawelczyk served as a Payload Specialist on STS-90 Neurolab (April 17 to May 3, 1998). During the 16-day Spacelab flight the seven person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia served as both experiment subjects and operators for 26 individual life science experiments focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. The STS-90 flight orbited the Earth 256 times, covered 6.3 million miles, and logged over 381 hours in space. Pawelczyk testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation in 2003. His testimony advocated strengthening research on board the International Space Station. He is a standing member of NASA's Life Sciences Advisory Subcommittee, and served as a member of the Research Maximization and Prioritization (ReMAP) Taskforce in 2002.

Honors and awards

Research Scientist, United States Olympic Swimming Trials, 1984; Pre-doctoral training award, National Institutes of Health, 1988-1989; Research award, Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, 1988; Post-doctoral training award, National Institutes of Health, 1989-1992; Young Investigator Award, Life Sciences Project Division, NASA Office of Life and Microgravity Science Applications, 1994, NASA Space Flight Medal (1998).

Family background

He was born in Buffalo, New York, although he considers Elma, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, as his hometown. He has two children. His hobbies include cycling, swimming, woodworking, philately, and outdoor activities. Pawelczyk is the first astronaut of full-blooded Polish descent to go into space. (Polish Cosmonaut Mirosław Hermaszewski was the first Pole in space in 1978 when he flew aboard a Soyuz 30 spacecraft as part of a Soviet bloc program 'Interkosmos'.) In 1999, Pawelczyk and three other astronauts from the STS-90 crew were guests of State of the Republic of Poland. He presented the president with the Polish flag that flew with him aboard space shuttle, Columbia. His parents, Joe and Rita, along with representatives of the Polish American Congress from Buffalo and Chicago accompanied the crew on their visit. He has two children, Katie and Brad.


Graduated from Iroquois Central High School, Elma, New York, in 1978. Went on to earn two Bachelor of Arts degrees in biology and psychology from the University of Rochester, New York in 1982. At Pennsylvania State University he earned a master of science degree in physiology in 1985, and a doctor of philosophy degree in biology (physiology) from the University of North Texas in 1989. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1992.

Scholarly activity

Pawelczyk is co-editor of Blood Loss and Shock, published in 1994. He has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on 11 federal and state grants and contracts, and has over 20 refereed journal articles and 3 invited book chapters in the areas of cardiovascular regulation and cardiovascular physiology.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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