Dr Charles Limoli is a professor and scientist of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine. He and his colleagues are probing a phenomenon called “Space brain”. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], USA has awarded UC Irvine Dr Charles Limoli the lead scientist.$9 million to study the underlying mechanisms of ‘space brain’ and understand the early and long-term effects of space/ cosmic radiation on astronauts’ cognition.
This “space brain” project is part of NASA’s Human Research Program, critical to further human exploration of space, including asteroids and Mars. The study aims to investigate how cosmic radiation affects astronauts cognition and identify ways to mitigate these effects.
Dr. Limoli received his BS degree in chemistry from MIT then went on to receive his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from UCSD. Following a postdoc at UCSF, he received his first academic appointment at that institute where he stayed for 12 years before joining UCI in 2006. Since that time Dr. Limoli’s research has focused on radiation effects in the CNS, where he has defined many of the mechanisms that contribute to radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction. His work has since defined the importance of oxidative stress in the brain, how irradiation disrupts neuronal structure and synaptic integrity and how stem cells can be used to offset the adverse effects of both radio- and chemotherapy in the brain. Continued work strives to further understand the causes, consequences and potential remedies for neurocognitive dysfunction caused by various cancer treatments.
UC Irvine fellow investigators on the NASA project include Ivan Soltesz, professor and chair of anatomy & neurobiology; Munjal Acharya, assistant professor of radiation oncology; and Janet Baulch and Vipan Kumar are project scientists in Limoli’s research group.
Findings of the study was that Mars-bound astronauts face chronic dementia risk from galactic cosmic ray exposure reported in Nature’s Scientific Reports.