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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
 
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Leading space researcher to discuss gravity's effects on the human nervous system

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 28, 2004) -- A leading space life sciences researcher will lecture Friday at Ohio University on how space flight affects the human brain's guidance and navigation systems. Sponsored by the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the lecture will take place Thursday, Sept. 30, at 4:10 p.m. in Stocker Center 103 on Ohio University's Athens campus.

Gilles Clément is the director of research for the "Centre de Recherche Cerveau et Cognition" at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Toulouse. He has performed research on space life sciences on more than 25 Space Shuttle flights since 1982. Having gathered data on more than 60 astronauts during and after space missions, his topics have included the influence of microgravity on posture, eye movements and spatial orientation in humans.

Humans perceive the environment via the interaction of specialized sensory organs that interpret both the external environment and internal maps. An individual's central nervous system uses sensations from these organs to coordinate and organize eye and body movements such as shifting from uncomfortable positions. Clément will discuss how gravity contributes to these sensory and motor functions – specifically, the effects of microgravity during space flight and how astronauts respond during early exposure to microgravity and also upon return to Earth.

Clément is currently the principal investigator of two Space Shuttle life sciences experiments and one International Space Station experiment. He also is a consultant for the Institute of Space Medicine in Toulouse and for the European Space Agency on biomedical projects for future exploration initiatives, particularly related to intermittent artificial gravity as a countermeasure to the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity on humans.

A faculty member at the International Space University since 1989, he also has been a visiting scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center's neuroscience laboratory, where he conducted research for international Spacelab missions and for the NASA Enhanced Duration Orbiter Medical project. In 2003, Clément published the book "Fundamentals of Space Medicine." He holds doctoral degrees in neurobiology from the University of Lyon and in natural science from the University of Paris.

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Media Contact: Russ College Director of External Relations Colleen Girton, (740) 593-1488 or girtonc@ohio.edu, or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793

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