• January 27, 2022
 NMSU professor appointed to national committee to guide future space research

nmsu Elba Serran – Photo courtesy of NMSU News Servicec

NMSU professor appointed to national committee to guide future space research

Elba Serrano, Regents Professor of biology at NMSU, has been appointed to serve on the Steering Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

The committee is tasked to review the state of knowledge in the current and emerging areas of space-related biological and physical sciences research and to generate consensus recommendations for a comprehensive vision and strategy for a decade of science at the frontiers of biological and physical sciences research in space.

“Dr. Serrano is a visionary who has led many cutting-edge programs at NMSU, and she is an outstanding role model for our faculty and graduate students,” said Enrico Pontelli, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “With decades of leadership in research and mentorship, her expertise will be an important asset to this committee.”

The committee’s website describes the study report as helping NASA define and align biological and physical sciences research to uniquely advance scientific knowledge, meet human and robotic exploration mission needs and provide terrestrial benefit.

“Elba’s work with the committee will contribute toward a comprehensive vision and strategy for the next 10 years and will push the frontiers of space research,” said Paulo Oemig, director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research at NMSU. “Elba’s experience and tremendous capacity to work with a broad coalition of researchers, staff and administrators places her at the forefront for charting the course that will assist NASA with meeting the needs of human missions in space.”

Oemig and Patricia Hynes, NMSU professor emerita and director of the Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation in New Mexico, supported Serrano’s appointment.

“Dr. Serrano is one of the finest colleagues I had the privilege of working with,” Hynes said. “She is an excellent mentor to the students in her research labs and a tireless member of the faculty, in and out of the classroom. Her appointment is another opportunity for people to meet a selfless collaborator with a voice for detail, integrity and accuracy. She always adds excellence to any program.”

Serrano thanked Oemig and Hynes for supporting her NASA-relevant research, calling them “inspirational leaders and tireless champions for faculty and students and excellence in research.”
“My work on the steering committee will be informed by my experiences as a research scientist and educator at a Hispanic-serving, land-grant institution in a southwestern state where space exploration is a burgeoning economic driver,” Serrano said.

Author: Minerva Baumann

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