CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 16, 2001
Astronaut-professor to speak at UI about 1998 Columbia mission
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A Pennsylvania State University professor, who spent
16 days in space as part of a 1998 space shuttle mission, will speak about
his experience at the University of Iowa Thursday, April 19. The presentation
by James A. Pawelczyk begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Medical Alumni Auditorium,
E331 General Hospital.
Pawelczyks presentation, "From Classrooms to Cosmos: An Overview
of the Neurolab Mission," is the 9th annual Louis E. Alley Memorial Lecture,
sponsored by the department of exercise science in the UI College of Liberal
In 1995, the same year he joined the faculty of the Noll Physiological Research
Center at Penn State, Pawelczyk was selected as a payload specialist for the
Neurolab space shuttle mission (http://neurolab.jsc.nasa.gov/). In April and
May of 1998, he logged 16 days and 6.4 million miles in space onboard Space
Shuttle Columbia, circling the earth 256 times and conducting neuroscience
experiments that addressed changes in the development of the nervous system,
balance, blood pressure regulation, sleep and control of movement during spaceflight.
Before he was tapped by NASA for the flight, Pawelczyk had spent several
years conducting research on blood pressure regulation. Problems with regulation
of blood pressure lead to orthostatic intolerance -- an inability to maintain
adequate blood flow to the brain. This condition, which affects as many as
500,000 Americans, is routinely observed following spaceflight.
In addition to his UI lecture, while he is in town Pawelczyk will speak
to some local elementary school students. He is scheduled to visit Hoover
Elementary in Iowa City at 1 p.m. April 19.
The Louis E. Alley Memorial Lecture was established in 1992 in honor of
Alley, who was a professor in the UI department of physical education, the
predecessor to the department of exercise science, from 1950-1983. He served
as department chair from 1960-1978. He was noted for his innovations in graduate
education, and his leadership set the groundwork for the current nature of
the academic programs in exercise science.