Principal investigators

Ana Diaz Artiles, Ph.D.

Dr. Ana Diaz Artiles is an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. Her interests focus on the engineering, biomedical, and human factors aspects of space exploration, including artificial gravity, spacesuits, space physiology, and human health countermeasures. At Texas A&M University she directs the “Bioastronautics and Human Performance” research lab. She received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015, where she studied artificial gravity combined with exercise as a countermeasure for spaceflight-related physiological deconditioning. Prior to MIT, Ana worked for five years in Kourou (French Guiana) as a member of the Ariane 5 launch team. Dr. Diaz-Artiles has a background in aeronautical engineering from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), and SUPAERO in Toulouse (France). She is a 2011 Fulbright fellow and a 2014 Amelia Earhart Fellowship recipient.

Nicolaas Deutz, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Nicolaas Deutz, MD, PhD currently serves as Director for the Center for  Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (CTRAL). For more than 30 years, his research background and expertise focus on nutrition, metabolism, and physiology studies involving the use of stable isotope methodologies, both in humans and animals. Dr. Deutz has extensive experience with isotopic calculations, validation and data interpretation. The stable isotope approaches are used in several studies to unravel the metabolic changes in patients with chronic diseases (i.e., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, chronic heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, mild cognitive impairment and dementia, autism spectrum
disorder). This research leads to new insights in protein and amino acid kinetics in subjects with chronic disease and resulted in specific recommendations to nutritional supplements as method for reducing muscle wasting. Recently, he started studying the anabolic effects of specialized nutritional supplements in different chronic diseases and models of disease. Using translational
approaches is a logical extension of the body of his research in the field of protein and amino acids metabolism.

Bonnie J. Dunbar, Ph.D.

Dr. Dunbar is a retired NASA astronaut, engineer and educator, currently with Texas A&M Engineering as a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. She also has a joint appointment as the Director of the TEES Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI), and serves as director of the Aerospace Human Systems Laboratory.

Dunbar, who is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, came to Texas A&M from the University of Houston where she was an M.D. Anderson Professor of Mechanical Engineering. There she provided leadership in the development of a new integrated university science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) center and was director of the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston. She also directed the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture’s Space Architecture and Aerospace graduate programs. She has devoted her life to furthering engineering, engineering education and the pursuit of human space exploration. Dunbar worked for the Rockwell International Space Division Company, building Space Shuttle Columbia and worked for 27 years at NASA, first as a flight controller; then as a mission specialist astronaut, where she flew five space shuttle flights, logging more than 50 days in space; and then served for seven years as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Her executive service included assistant NASA Johnson Space Center director for university research; deputy director for Flight Crew Operations; associate director for International Space Station Mission Operations development, and as NASA headquarters deputy associate administrator for the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications.

After retiring from NASA, Dunbar became president and CEO of The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, where she established a new Space Gallery and expanded its K-12 STEM educational offerings. She has also consulted in aerospace and STEM education as the president of Dunbar International LLC, and is an internationally known public speaker.

Dunbar is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. She has been awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal five times, the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. Dunbar was inducted into the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 2002 was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. In 2012 she was elected into the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) International Executive Committee, and in 2013 she was selected into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. She is currently president of the ASE.

Mariëlle Engelen, Ph.D.

Dr. Marielle Engelen, PhD, Professor and Chancellor EDGES fellow, currently serves as Co-Director and Head of Clinical Research for the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (CTRAL). She is an expert in the field of clinical nutrition and metabolism in relation to functional performance during aging and in chronic (wasting) diseases. Her research focuses on the metabolic alterations underlying muscle wasting and dysfunction (weakness/fatigue) in chronic diseases, involving the use of stable isotope methodologies, and the effects of nutritional intervention and exercise rehabilitation to restore metabolism and physical and cognitive performance in these patients. As such, she has conducted and supervised many acute studies and coordinating human clinical trials, examining the effects of protein and amino acid intervention in relation to aging and in patients with chronic wasting diseases (i.e., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, chronic heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, cognitive impairment). In addition, she has the expertise in methodology and techniques to examine body composition, muscle function, physical performance, gut and cognitive function, balance, physical activity, wellbeing and clinical outcomes. She is the section editor “Translational Research in Wasting Disease” of the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, and Associate editor for Clinical Nutrition-ESPEN.

Richard B. Kreider, Ph.D., FACSM, FISSN, FACN, FNAK

Dr. Kreider serves as Professor, Executive Director of the Human Clinical Research Facility (HCRF), and Director of the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab at Texas A&M University. He served as Head of the Department of Health & Kinesiology and Thomas A. and Joan Read Endowed Chair for Disadvantaged Youth (2008 to 2017). He has 35 years of administrative experience serving as Co-Director/Director of the Wellness Institute & Research Center at Old Dominion University (1987 to 1993); Assistant Department Chair at the University of Memphis (1994 to 2002); Chair of the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation and Director of the Center for Exercise, Nutrition & Preventive Health at Baylor University (2002 to 2008); Head of the Department of Health & Kinesiology (2008 to 2017), and Executive Director of the HCRF (2017 to present). Under his leadership, the departments at Baylor University and Texas A&M University experienced extraordinary growth, development, improved teaching and research facilities, enhanced scholarly productivity, improvement in national rankings, and international impact. Dr. Kreider is a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Health & Kinesiology and Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. He has conducted numerous studies on nutrition and exercise and has published 8 books and over 250 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, 465 research abstracts, and 150 health and fitness-related articles. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited over 17,500 times in the literature (h-index 69, i10-index 163). Dr. Kreider and his students have presented over 690 presentations at regional, national, and international professional conferences. Dr. Kreider is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM); an active member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a co-founder, board member, and Fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (FISSN); founding Editor-In-Chief of the BioMed Central – Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (IF 5.15); Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (FACN); former Board Member of the American Kinesiology Association (2015 – 2018); elected Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology (FNAK, #568); member of the American Public Health Association (APHA); and, member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Dr. Kreider has received over 25 million dollars as a PI, Co-PI and/or consultant in internal and/or external funding to support research related to the role of exercise and nutrition on health, disease, rehabilitation, performance, and/or health disparities/equity. Additionally, he facilitated the procurement of over $100 million in support for programs he led. Dr. Kreider has received the NSCA Nutrition Achievement Award (2010), Global Health & Pharma Sport & Nutrition Award (2017), the ISSN Lifetime Achievement Award (#2, 2018) among others, and has served as an administrative mentor for the American Association of Kinesiology with a focus on entrepreneurial and innovative resource management. Dr. Kreider has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences internationally and serves as a scientific expert consultant for industry and national professional organizations. 

Gabriella ten Have, Ph.D.

Dr. ten Have serves as a Research Assistant Professor and Director of Preclinical Studies and Co-Director of the Analytical Laboratory in CTRAL. She earned her doctorate in Preclinical Nutrition at the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands and has expertise in both animal and human metabolism related clinical trials. Dr. ten Have has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles. According to Google Scholar, her work has been cited over 1,300 times and has an h-index of 20 (i10-index 25). She currently is working on an internally funded grant and supports a number of other funded projects being conducted in CTRAL.