Autor Wątek: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)  (Przeczytany 552 razy)

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Luty 06, 2021, 09:23 »
Brała udział w pierwszej misji kosmicznej z 3 kobietami na pokładzie (STS-40 Columbie F-11 od 05-14.06.1991).

Fotka całej załogi w kosmosie podczas tej misji:
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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 02:03 »
W wieku 45 lat Millie Elizabeth Hughes-Fulford stała się też najstarszą kobietą, która wówczas znalazła się w kosmosie.
Jest trzecią astronautką, która zmarła na raka.
Zmarła dzień po 18. rocznicy katastrofy wahadłowca Columbia, którym w 1991 roku odbyła swój lot kosmiczny.



Millie Hughes Fulford: Of Mice and Men: Immunology in Spaceflight
Feb 8, 2020





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Polskie Forum Astronautyczne

Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 02:03 »

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 02:06 »
Millie Hughes-Fulford, astronaut and UCSF scientist, dies at 75
Sam Whiting Feb. 5, 2021 Updated: Feb. 5, 2021 8:07 p.m.



In 1984, UCSF research professor Millie Hughes-Fulford took a leave from that position and left her Mill Valley home for Houston so she could become an astronaut and work on the Spacelab, a laboratory in Space Shuttle Columbia.

Her mission was postponed and Hughes-Fulford was at Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, watching on that cold morning of Jan. 28, 1986, as Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in the air shortly after liftoff — a national tragedy broadcast live to much of America. It took another five years for Hughes-Fulford to get back into Columbia. But when it launched, on June 5, 1991, she spent nine days in orbit, drawing blood and conducting all form of tests on herself and her six crew mates while floating around to measure the effects of weightlessness on the heart, lungs and balance.

The research conducted on her flight, at age 46, laid a foundation for all the knowledge that has been built on the effect of space flight on humans, and shaped the rest of her career when she returned in 1991 to open the Hughes-Fulford Laboratory at the San Francisco VA Healthcare System.

“She came back to her world as a scientist and carried this experience of having flown in space and that became a unique filter through which she passed all of her scientific work,” said Dr. Mike Barratt, a NASA flight surgeon assigned to Columbia. “Everything she did had this base of space work and it was very credible.”

The Hughes-Fulford Laboratory was active at the San Francisco VA Healthcare System, in the Outer Richmond District, right up through Hughes-Fulford’s own seven-year battle with lymphoma. She died Tuesday, Feb. 2, at her home of 50 years. She was 75. Her death was confirmed by her granddaughter, Kira Herzog of Mill Valley, who spent the last year recording an oral history of Hughes-Fulford, with the intent of writing her biography.

“She was one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. She told me that when she was taking off in the shuttle she had absolutely no fear,” said Herzog. “She was logically thinking of what her next task was and that is how she faced everything including her cancer.”

At the VA, Hughes-Fulford studied the effects of weightlessness on the immune system, and why astronauts returning from space are susceptible to infection. A lab instrument she modified was able to study bone cell structures in a condition that mimics outer space.

“Millie was an absolute delight to work with. Her enthusiasm for science was infectious,” said Dr. Carl Grunfeld, who was her supervisor and colleague at the VA lab for 40 years. “Even during her illness she was writing papers and coming up with ideas for grants that she would bounce off of me. She never gave up.”

Millie Elizabeth Hughes was born Dec. 21, 1945, in Mineral Wells, Texas. Her father ran a country grocery and feed store where Hughes started working as soon as she was tall enough to stock shelves. The Hughes family had a TV console in Mineral Wells and there was always a crowd when space adventurer “Buck Rogers” came on. Hughes-Fulford was 5 years old when it premiered in 1950 and she idolized Buck’s sidekick Wilma Deering.

As soon as she was proficient at calculating prices and change in her head she was promoted to cashier where she worked up through graduation from Mineral Wells High School, in 1962. Always tall and rail thin, Hughes was 5 feet 11 inches tall at age 16 when she entered Tarleton State University, which later became part of the Texas A&M system. She majored in chemistry and biology and was often the only the woman in a class full of men, who did not appreciate it when she outscored them on exams.

“There was even hostility from some of the professors and the dean,” said Herzog. “They definitely did not want her in that program.”

After graduating at or near the top of her class in 1968 she enrolled at Texas Woman’s University, in Denton, to earn her doctorate in biochemistry. By then she was married to police officer Rick Wiley, and they had a daughter, Tori. After earning her doctorate in 1972, she hand-typed applications for maybe 100 academic jobs around the country. She got four responses and accepted a lab position at Southwestern Medical Center. That turned out to be the right choice because within a year or two that entire lab relocated to the VA hospital overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the Outer Richmond District.

Hughes-Fulford had been to California once, on a family trip, in a truck with a camper on it, to visit Disneyland when it opened in 1955. When she returned to the Golden State she had Tori, then 4, and they both brought a thick Texas drawl to the canal zone of San Rafael where they lived before moving to Greenbrae, and later to Strawberry, on the Richardson Bay side of Mill Valley.

Hughes-Fulford was content with her research at the VA, until the moment in 1978 when she saw an ad in the back of Family Circle magazine, asking for applications to be the first woman in space. There were 8,000 applicants and Hughes-Fulford made it to the final 20 before Sally Ride was selected to be the first female astronaut, aboard the Challenger in June 1983.

While going through the selection process in Houston, Hughes-Fulford learned that NASA was looking for bone researchers. She called a colleague at the VA and told him to start working on a NASA grant. That opened the door to her trip on the Columbia.

In the late 1970s she and Riley were divorced. In 1981, she met George Fulford, a United Airlines pilot based in San Francisco. They were married in 1983, and left on their honeymoon the same week she was accepted to the astronaut program at NASA.

“She was always smiling and enjoyed every second of her training,” said Dr. Barratt. “She just seemed happy to be there. But along with that she had the focus of a scientist.”

Columbia continued to fly. On its 28th mission, in February 2003, it broke apart when returning to the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. But neither catastrophe shook Hughes-Fulford’s dedication to space exploration, which she displayed in lectures at schools, national conferences and most recently on Zoom.

“She was devoted to getting young people excited about science,” said Dr. Grunfeld. “She realized what happened in space flight had implications for aging.”

In 2018, which was after she had technically retired, Hughes-Fulford partnered with Dr. Aenor Sawyer to start the University of California Space Health Program, based at UCSF. The program draws in researchers from the 10 campuses and three national laboratories. During its first conference, at the Rutter Center at Mission Bay in November 2019, Hughes-Fulford was a featured speaker on immunology. That same day she joined a panel of three astronauts to share her space travel expertise.

Even now, Hughes-Fulford is co-author of a scientific paper titled “Women in Space” being submitted to a medical journal.

“Millie was an inspiration on so many levels, from the surface of the earth to the low-earth orbit,’’ said Dr. Sawyer. “She infused every conversation with compassion, optimism, energy, humor, and an un-shakable confidence that a solution could be found.”

She is survived by her daughter, Tori Herzog and granddaughters Shoshana Herzog and Kira Herzog, all of Mill Valley. Donations in her name may be made to Stand Up to Cancer, P.O. Box 843721, Los Angeles, CA 90084-3721.


https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Millie-Hughes-Fulford-astronaut-and-UCSF-15928086.php

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #5 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 02:09 »
Hughes-Fulford Laboratory
Studying T-cell activation in microgravity

Our Mission

The Hughes-Fulford Laboratory, directed by Dr Millie Hughes-Fulford, is located in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, CA. The goal of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms which regulate mammalian cell growth.

Growth is induced by altering cell signaling and gene expression. The stimulation can be caused by growth factors, cytokines (including lipids and biolipids) or mechanical stress. Mastery of this knowledge could help those suffering from diverse diseases ranging from osteoporosis (lack of stimulation of the osteoblast growth) to cancer (inappropriate upregulation of tumor cell growth).

We have several on-going research projects, which include investigating the role of dietary fatty acids in prostate cancer cell growth, the response of osteoblasts to mechanical loading and the signal transduction cascades and gene expression occurring during T-cell activation.
http://www.hughesfulfordlab.com/

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 02:39 »
Millie Hughes-Fulford: Scientist in Space - KQED QUEST
1967 wyświetleń•10 cze 2011

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #7 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 16:38 »
W wieku 45 lat Millie Elizabeth Hughes-Fulford stała się też najstarszą kobietą, która wówczas znalazła się w kosmosie.
To zdanie jest prawdziwe w odniesieniu do debiutu kosmicznego kobiety w 1991 roku.

W 1989 starszą od Millie Hughes-Fulford kobietą w kosmosie stała się Matilda Shannon Wells Lucid, która zresztą ustanawiała ten typ rekordów wiekowych od swego pierwszego do ostatniego lotu.
« Ostatnia zmiana: Luty 07, 2021, 16:41 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #8 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 16:53 »
W wieku 45 lat Millie Elizabeth Hughes-Fulford stała się też najstarszą kobietą, która wówczas znalazła się w kosmosie.
To zdanie jest prawdziwe w odniesieniu do debiutu kosmicznego kobiety w 1991 roku.

W 1989 starszą od Millie Hughes-Fulford kobietą w kosmosie stała się Matilda Shannon Wells Lucid, która zresztą ustanawiała ten typ rekordów wiekowych od swego pierwszego do ostatniego lotu.

Matilda Shannon Wells Lucid jako jedyna Amerykanka odbyła długotrwałą misję na pokładzie stacji Mir.

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
« Odpowiedź #9 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 18:01 »
'To Get Back Together': 25 Years Since the Shuttle's First Life Sciences Mission (Part 1)
By Ben Evans, on June 11th, 2016


The STS-40 crew. Seated (from left) are Drew Gaffney, Millie Hughes-Fulford, Rhea Seddon, and Jim Bagian, with Bryan O’Connor, Tammy Jernigan, and Sid Gutierrez standing. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

(...) When Hughes-Fulford came aboard, O’Connor was once asked by an interviewer if he was “afraid” of having three women on the flight. “No,” the straight-laced Marine Corps colonel replied, “I’m more worried about having three doctors on the flight!”

O’Connor’s humor masked a real concern about the compatibility of members of his crew—in particular, his Payload Specialists. After the medical disqualification of Phillips, the arrival and involvement of Hughes-Fulford was far greater than it had been previously. This caused friction with Gaffney. “Sometimes,” O’Connor told the NASA oral historian, “I’ve thought that Millie and Drew were like oil and water and it was a pleasant surprise for me when, seeing how they operated or didn’t operate together in the office or after the training’s done or whatever, to where they would take all that baggage, old concerns with one another’s performance, disagreements about the science, and we’d get into the simulator and there was none of that. These two trained like two professionals.” Yet when the pair left the simulator, O’Connor compared their relationship to the 19th century feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. In her NASA oral history, Seddon agreed that there was “some stress, just some frictions” in the crew relationship.

From his position as the mission commander, O’Connor found this worrisome. He was concerned that, should some of their “underlying issues” affect work in space, during a critical time, it might affect their ability to get the job done. As a Marine, he had done much of his training and flying in single-seat aircraft and compared his fears to those of a bomber pilot or transport pilot, trying to get crews to work effectively together. O’Connor concluded that the seven of them should sit down and do a personality assessment, very similar to the Myers-Briggs psychometric test. This revealed that, unlike the military, in which two or three of around half a dozen personality types tend to dominate the rest, the shuttle crew featured much broader range and demanded a broader understanding. “You’ve got to be a little more forgiving of certain things,” O’Connor reflected, “and be more sensitive to other things to communicate properly and to operate as a crew.”

The personality assessment enabled them to smooth the road to a much better working relationship. “I think everybody just assumed that everybody would get along,” remembered Seddon. “Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially when you’ve been training together in close quarters for a long time. Everybody has their little quirks.” By the time STS-40 closed in on its launch in June 1991, O’Connor was more than satisfied that his crew would work like an oiled machine. And STS-40—whose bus-sized Spacelab module was packed with apparatus for 18 major medical investigations—would be one of the most complex research flights ever staged by the space shuttle.
https://www.americaspace.com/2016/06/11/to-get-back-together-25-years-since-the-shuttles-first-life-sciences-mission-part-1/

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« Odpowiedź #10 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 18:01 »
One Man and His Catheter: 25 Years Since the Shuttle's First Life Sciences Mission (Part 2)
By Ben Evans, on June 12th, 2016


Having ridden to orbit wearing a heart catheter, Drew Gaffney (left) offers his arm to Jim Bagian and Millie Hughes-Fulford for one of many blood draws. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, this week, one of the most complex scientific research missions ever undertaken rocketed into orbit aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. The first Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1) flight—utilizing the bus-sized Spacelab module in the shuttle’s payload bay—was the first mission totally dedicated to the life sciences. And the STS-40 crew, including a pair of physicians, a cardiologist, and a biochemist, also marked the first time in history that three women had flown together on the same mission.

Originally scheduled to take place in early 1986, prior to the Challenger tragedy, it was extensively postponed in the aftermath of the disaster and wound up flying in June 1991. By then, its crew complement had changed markedly. Physiologist Bob Phillips, who should have been one of the two Payload Specialists on SLS-1, was grounded by a medical issue and replaced, whilst the tragic death of another astronaut led to the replacement of STS-40’s original pilot, John Blaha, with Sid Gutierrez.

The “science team” of physicians Jim Bagian and Rhea Seddon, cardiologist Drew Gaffney, and biochemist Millie Hughes-Fulford would be largely responsible for the research work during the nine-day mission. However, the “orbiter team” of Commander Bryan O’Connor and crewmates Gutierrez—the first and only Hispanic-born shuttle pilot—and Tammy Jernigan had shown willingness to participate as “guinea pigs” for blood draws and other experiments. “Tammy Jernigan had already signed up for everything,” O’Connor recalled in his NASA oral history. “She was a scientist herself and certainly was interested and very engaged in the training.” For O’Connor and Gutierrez, as STS-40’s pilots, it was more difficult. Much of their training revolved around landing the shuttle and, although they accepted some experiment duties, they rejected those which posed a risk to their flying abilities, such as those which focused on the eyes or the vestibular system. (...)

Unlike most Spacelab flights, whose crews broke into two halves to work around the clock, STS-40 operated on a “single-shift” timeline. That said, the seven astronauts typically worked 14-hour days, with close measurements of their circadian rhythms to provide uniformity of biomedical data points. The 18 experiments aboard SLS-1 explored the fundamental problems affecting the biology of humans—including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, and hormone-secreting glands—as well as animals and fish in microgravity. Ten experiments used the astronauts, whilst seven others focused on 28 rats and another utilized almost 2,500 jellyfish. Researchers from France, Russia, Germany, and Canada participated in SLS-1, through a biospecimen-sharing project. (...)

As they worked, the science crew of Bagian, Seddon, Gaffney, and Hughes-Fulford literally regarded SLS-1 as their “home” for most of the flight … for they elected to sleep aboard the Spacelab module, too. “They all thought it was a great place to sleep,” O’Connor told Mission Control on one occasion. “It was nice and dark and quiet back there,” agreed Seddon. “We were doing single shifts, so the lab was essentially buttoned up for the night. It was dark and we could cool it down, so we just hung our hammocks back there.” Every so often, the quiet would be disturbed. The Spacelab was situated near the end of the payload bay, so the science crew could hear the boom boom boom of Columbia’s thrusters, as well as the mice in their cages and the refrigerators switching on and off. However, Seddon regarded it as a far more peaceful place to relax than the flight deck or middeck. (...)

In addition to humans and rodents, SLS-1 marked the first-ever flight of jellyfish aboard the shuttle. All told, 2,478 Moon jellyfish—one of the simplest organisms known to possess a nervous system—were housed in Columbia’s middeck and were being flown to examine their reproductive abilities and swimming behavior in microgravity. The jellyfish polyps, which developed into sexually reproductive ephyrae in space, proved “normal” in most respects, despite hormonal changes and swimming abnormalities after landing.  (...)

For the first time, an airport-style “people mover,” known as the Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV), was employed to remove the seven astronauts from the shuttle. It allowed them to doff their bulky pressure suits, regain their “land legs,” and subject themselves to the doctors for medical checks. For Millie Hughes-Fulford, the landing produced peculiar sensations. The position of the shuttle’s nose on the runway meant that the entire cabin was angled slightly downward, and she found it hard to get out of her seat and stand up. After removing her suit in the CTV, she finally had the chance to walk down the steps to see her husband and daughter. “Because my equilibrium was totally gone,” she told an interviewer from the Smithsonian, years later, “I was holding onto the rail, trying to move as quickly as possible and not walk like a little old lady.”

When her daughter arrived, Hughes-Fulford gave her a hug and whispered in her ear: “Help hold me up!
https://www.americaspace.com/2016/06/12/one-man-and-his-catheter-25-years-since-the-shuttles-first-life-sciences-mission-part-2/

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« Odpowiedź #11 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 18:01 »
1991: STS-40 Columbia, Spacelab life science (NASA)
2323 wyświetlenia•4 cze 2010 International Astronautical Federation

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https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-40.html

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« Odpowiedź #12 dnia: Luty 07, 2021, 18:01 »
From Undersea to Outer Space: The STS-40 Jellyfish Experiment
10 032 wyświetlenia•11 paź 2012 NASA STI Program

<iframe width="640" height="385" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FvjVKAAvIn8?fs=1&start=" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1994nasa.reptSS..../abstract

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/i-dont-think-youre-ready-for-this-jelly/280674/
I Don't Think You're Ready for This, Jelly
MEGAN GARBER OCTOBER 18, 2013

NASA raised thousands of jellyfish in space. They ended up unfit for life on Earth.


A moon jelly, illuminated. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Since the early 1990s, we humans have been doing something both odd and eminently sensible: We've been launching jellyfish into space. And we have been doing so for science. During NASA's first Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1) mission in 1991, NASA began conducting an experiment: "The Effects of Microgravity-Induced Weightlessness on Aurelia Ephyra Differentiation and Statolith Synthesis." To carry it out, the space shuttle Columbia launched into space a payload of 2,478 jellyfish polyps—creatures contained within flasks and bags that were filled with artificial seawater. Astronauts injected chemicals into those bags that would induce the polyps to swim freely (and, ultimately, reproduce). Over the course of the mission, the creatures proliferated: By mission's close, there were some 60,000 jellies orbiting Earth.

The point of all this, as the experiment's title (sort of) suggests, was to test microgravity's effects on jellyfish as they develop from polyp to medusa. And the point of that, in turn, was to test how the jellyfish would respond when they were back on Earth. Jellyfish, foreign to us in so many ways, are like humans in one very particular manner: They orient themselves according to gravity.

As the biologist RR Helm explains it:

When a jelly grows, it forms calcium sulfate crystals at the margin of its bell. These crystals are surrounded by a little cell pocket, coated in specialized hairs, and these pockets are equally spaced around the bell. When jellies turn, the crystals roll down with gravity to the bottom of the pocket, moving the cell hairs, which in turn send signals to neurons. In this way, jellies are able to sense up and down. All they need is gravity.

Humans, of course, are similarly sensitive. We sense both gravity and and acceleration using otoliths, calcium crystals in our inner ears that move ultra-sensitive hair cells, thus informing our brains which way gravity is pulling us. So if the space-raised jellyfish didn't fully develop their version of gravity-sensors, the thinking goes, it's likely that humans raised in microgravity would have similar trouble.

And here, according to Deep Sea News, is the result of the studies: The astro-jellies' sense of gravity did, indeed, seem to be impaired by being raised in space. The results of the STS-1 experiment, published in the journal Advances in Space Research, noted that while the space-bred jellies were "morphologically very similar to those which developed on Earth," their motor abilities were different on Earth than they were in microgravity. In a kind of lit review of the jelly experiments, Helm notes that "while development of the sensory pockets appears normal, many more jellies had trouble getting around once on the planet." The difficulties included, alas, "pulsing and movement abnormalities, compared to their Earth-bound counterparts."

Basically, the invertebrates had vertigo. (Or, as PopSci puts it: "As cool as being an astronaut baby sounds, the jellies didn't develop the same gravity-sensing capabilities as their Earthly relatives.") Which may not bode well for the vertebrate organisms that may be born in microgravity—space-faring humans among them.

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« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Luty 13, 2021, 02:13 »
Millie Hughes-Fulford, the First Woman Scientist in Space, Dies at 75
By Nina Bai February 11, 2021


Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD, speak with Thomas Lang, PhD, in her San Francisco VA Medical Center laboratory in 2016. Photo by Noah Berger

Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD, a UC San Francisco scientist who flew in June 1991 aboard the first space shuttle mission dedicated to biomedical studies, died Feb. 2 at the age of 75. She was the first woman to fly as a NASA payload specialist and was part of the first crew to include three women.

On that nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Columbia, Hughes-Fulford helped complete more than 18 experiments, which included herself and fellow crew members as subjects, as well as rodents and jellyfish. The mission brought back more medical data than any previous NASA mission, including documenting how space flight and microgravity affected the human body, a topic that would remain a focus of Hughes-Fulford’s long scientific career.

After her space flight, she returned to UCSF and became director of the laboratory that bears her name at the San Francisco VA Health Care System, focusing on the impact of microgravity on human cells. She received a NASA award for Best Flight Experiment on STS-131 (launched in April 2010), contributed to over 120 scientific papers, and was a scientific adviser to the Under Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs for many years. In 2018, she helped found the UC Space Health program, based at UCSF. Ever enthusiastic about science, she continued her work even after she became ill with lymphoma.

The Hughes-Fulford Laboratory at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center has studied the impaired growth of bone cells and immune cells in space, sending multiple experiments on eight separate missions aboard space shuttles and the International Space Station. Understanding the physiological effects of space flight is of critical importance for potential long-term space exploration, such as a Mars mission, and for longer residence in the space station. But space experiments also offer rare opportunities to illuminate the basic cellular mechanisms that affect health on Earth.

“When we go into spaceflight and we have microgravity, we have eliminated one variable. In mathematics, if you get rid of a variable, you can solve the equation, and we’re able to look at the immune system in a whole new way that has not been possible,” said Hughes-Fulford in a 2015 interview.


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Her earlier work, beginning on her Columbia flight, focused on space osteoporosis, a continuous loss of calcium and bone due to the loss of mechanical stress in microgravity. Astronauts can lose approximately 1 percent of their bone per month in space. The loss is only partly ameliorated by daily exercise, suggesting that microgravity has additional molecular impacts on how bone cells generate.

Hughes-Fulford then turned her research to immunosuppression in space, a phenomenon that had been observed in earlier space flights. On the Apollo missions, for example, half the astronauts reported bacterial or viral infection during their missions or within one week of returning to Earth. Hughes-Fulford’s lab revealed that microgravity altered gene expression and inhibited the activation of T-cells, a type of white blood cell that helps fight off infections. In June 2013, NASA honored that work as a top discovery on the International Space Station. Her most recent immunology experiment flew in January 2015 on a SpaceX mission to the space station.

“Millie launched the careers of many scientists, physicians and surgeons, and space explorers,” said Aenor Sawyer, MD, assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, who co-founded the UC Space Health Program with Hughes-Fulford. “Her legacy will create an impact for many generations to come and her direct scientific contributions will reach far into the future.”

Sawyer said Hughes-Fulford had recently contributed to an upcoming manuscript on the health effects of space travel on women and had collaborated on a immunosenescence project set to launch on SpaceX mission later this year.

Millie launched the careers of many scientists, physicians and surgeons, and space explorers. Her legacy will create an impact for many generations to come and her direct scientific contributions will reach far into the future.


  AENOR SAWYER, MD, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY

“She was a person of many virtues, warm, kind and caring, painstakingly honest and straightforward, and possessed of a salty sense of humor,” said Thomas Lang, PhD, professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, who was a collaborator and friend.

Millie Elizabeth Hughes was born Dec. 21, 1945, in Mineral Wells, Texas. She entered college at age 16, receiving a degree in Chemistry and Biology from Tarleton State University in 1968 and then a PhD from Texas Women’s University in 1972. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying cholesterol metabolism at what is now UT Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas in the lab of Marvin Siperstein, who later recruited Hughes-Fulford when he moved his lab to the San Francisco VA.



Millie Hughes-Fulford, PhD, speaks at UCSF in the early 1990s. After her space flight in 1991, she returned to UCSF and became director of the laboratory that bears her name at the San Francisco VA Health Care System. Photo via UCSF Archives

A lover of science fiction and a “space buff” from childhood, Hughes-Fulford dreamed of being an astronaut even before space flight became a reality. In 1978, she took a step in realizing that dream by answering an ad in Family Circle magazine seeking candidates to become the first woman in space. Among 8,000 applicants, she made it to the top 20 before Sally Ride was chosen to fly on the Challenger in June 1983.

Although Hughes-Fulford was selected as a payload specialist by NASA in January 1983, the shuttle program was delayed after Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff in 1986. She would realize her childhood dreams five years later on Columbia.

In 1983, she married George Fulford, a United Airline pilot based in San Francisco. She is survived by her daughter Tori Herzog, and granddaughters Shoshana Herzog and Kira Herzog. The family requests that donations in her memory be given to Stand Up to Cancer, P.O. Box 843721, Los Angeles, CA 90084‐3721.


https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2021/02/419791/millie-hughes-fulford-first-woman-scientist-space-dies-75
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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
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Millie Hughes-Fulford, NASA Shuttle Scientist, Dies at 75
Richard Sandomir By Richard Sandomir Feb. 11, 2021

As the space agency’s first female payload specialist, she conducted experiments about the impact of weightlessness on astronauts’ immune systems and loss of bone mass.


Millie Hughes-Fulford in 1984. She had aspired to fly to outer space since childhood, and finally achieved her goal on the space shuttle Columbia in 1991.Credit...NASA

Millie Hughes-Fulford, NASA’s first female payload specialist, who conducted biomedical experiments on the physical toll of spaceflight on humans on board the space shuttle Columbia in 1991, died on Feb. 2 at her home in Mill Valley, Calif. She was 75.

The cause was cancer, her daughter, Tori Herzog, said. Dr. Hughes-Fulford had received a diagnosis of lymphoma in 2014, and cancer had recently been found in her esophagus.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford had aspired to fly to outer space since childhood. She achieved her goal on the Columbia in June 1991, eight years after Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, flew on the Challenger.

The experiments Dr. Hughes-Fulford conducted on the shuttle were only the start of her yearslong examination into the effects of weightlessness on the body’s immune system and bone mass.

In addition to her work over nine days aboard the Columbia, which carried the Spacelab laboratory, she oversaw experiments on five shuttle flights (four to the Russian Space Station Mir and one to the International Space Station) and on a Russian Soyuz and two SpaceX missions (all to the international station).

Fifteen of the 29 Apollo astronauts had infections in space or soon after they returned. In her experiments, Dr. Hughes-Fulford examined how microgravity, or weightlessness, caused the suppression of T cells, the white blood cells that lead the immunological fight against disease.



Dr. Hughes-Fulford in 1985 in a device developed for determining mass in orbit. Credit...NASA

At the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where she worked for 47 years, she led a team of researchers that discovered that when there is no gravity, certain genes that activate T cells are greatly inhibited or do not switch on at all.

“There is a specific pathway that is not working in the absence of gravity,” Dr. Hughes-Fulford was quoted as saying in Science Daily in 2005. “You’re short-circuiting a whole lot of the immune response — namely, the ability to proliferate T cells — which shouldn’t be a surprise because life evolved in Earth’s gravity field.”

Her research carried the hope of helping to create treatments to decrease the immunosuppression of T cells, especially among older people.

“Millie was joyous about science,” Dr. Carl Grunfeld, associate chief of staff for research and development at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, said in an interview. “At one point during her illness, she proposed a different way to modify her chemotherapy and got a wonderful remission. When she told me about that, it was with the same joy about science as she had in the laboratory.”

Millie Elizabeth Hughes was born on Dec. 21, 1945, in rural Mineral Wells, Texas. Her father, Charles, owned a grocery store. Her mother, Lanore (Wilder) Hughes, was a homemaker. Later in life, both her parents became teachers.

At 5, Millie became infatuated with science fiction when she watched the early “Buck Rogers” television series. She admired the character Wilma Deering because she was a pilot — and because she wore pants at a time when Millie was always being told to wear a dress.

“And so I wanted to be Wilma Deering, because she could wear anything she wanted to, she flew a spaceship and was a professional woman,” Dr. Hughes-Fulford said in an interview for the Department of Veterans Affairs website in 2014.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford became a pilot and remained a science fiction fan, with strong devotion to the “Star Trek” television series and the “Star Wars” films, as well to the newest “Star Wars” attractions at Disney World, which she visited in 2019, her daughter said.

Recognizing that NASA’s missions in the 1960s and early ’70s were restricted to men, Dr. Hughes-Fulford became a scientist. She attended Tarleton State University (now a part of the Texas A&M University System) in Stephenville, where she graduated in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and biology from Texas Woman’s University in Denton in 1972.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, she studied the regulation of cholesterol metabolism. She soon moved to the VA Medical Center, and she was working there when she spotted an advertisement in Family Circle magazine announcing NASA’s search for the first woman in space.

She was among 8,000 applicants — and made the final 20 — but Dr. Ride was picked.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford found another route to space. She asked a colleague to apply for a NASA bone research grant that allowed him, once he received it, to pick two people as potential payload specialists. He chose her and himself, and in 1983 NASA named her.

But her scheduled mission was scrubbed after the Challenger exploded in January 1986, 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members.

Her flight, aboard the Columbia, finally lifted off in June 1991, about eight years after she was selected.

“When she went into space, it was like, ‘OK, let’s do this,’” her daughter said by phone. “It was originally supposed to be 19 months of training. When they went up, she was prepared for anything that could happen. She said her heart rate didn’t go up when they launched.”

Still, after sighting Earth, she was thrilled. “It looked alive to me,” she recalled to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser in 2014. “Imagine, looking at a living cell that has a glow to it. The entire Earth has a glow.”

Twelve years later, Columbia broke apart as it returned to the Earth’s atmosphere. Again, the entire crew was killed.



Dr. Hughes-Fulford had her own laboratory within the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where she worked for 47 years.Credit...Cory Huston/NASA

In 2006, Dr. Hughes-Fulford sent experiments to the International Space Station on a Soyuz spacecraft — resuming what had been lost when the Columbia was destroyed — in an incubator that included samples of T cells and a centrifuge to activate the cells. Once activated, the cells mimicked what happens when they are confronted with an infection, but some of the genes did not turn on in the weightless environment.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford, who had her own laboratory within the VA Medical Center, was also a professor in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at the medical school of the University of California, San Francisco.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by two granddaughters and her sister, Gail Shewmake. Her husband, George Fulford, a commercial pilot, died in 2018. A previous marriage, to Rick Wiley, ended in divorce.

Dr. Hughes-Fulford’s outer space experimentation earned her an award from NASA in 2013 for her work on T cells.

She received the honor shortly before the SpaceX launch in April 2014, in which her tests examined the causes of decreased T cell activation in weightlessness.

“What we are looking for are new ways to regulate the immune system to help people on Earth,” she told the Veterans Affairs website. “It’s not just the four people who may go to Mars in 2025 (although it will help them, too); it’s about people on Earth, especially the elderly.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/11/science/space/millie-hughes-fulford-dead.html?smid=tw-nytimesscience&smtyp=cur

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Odp: Millie Hughes-Fulford, STS-40 PS (1945-2021)
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