Conquering space travel and stage fright

Faculty of Science
Students by the Rideau canal with STEM complex in the background
A dream for many, going into space is a reality for some. The effects of space travel on astronauts’ health are of significant concern for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Both organisations collaborated with Health Canada and uOttawa to further research about space travelers’ health.

Master’s student Tatiana Kozbenko, who is passionate about exploring the progression of health problems seen in space travelers, participated in this multi-sector partnership. She is co-supervised by Professor Carole Yauk from uOttawa and Dr. Vinita Chauhan from Health Canada. The goal of this research collaboration between uOttawa, Health Canada, CSA and NASA is to protect the next generation of astronauts during their work, which is slated to include manned Mars missions. Part of Tatiana’s thesis focused on the effects of space on the cardiovascular system. She recently published a first-author paper, “Deploying elements of scoping review methods for Adverse Outcome Pathway development: A space travel case example.”

Tatiana’s achievements include winning the Best Student Oral Presentation for her paper at the 52nd annual meeting of the North American Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society. She also presented at the Committee on Space Research International Scientific Symposium and the Health Canada Science Forum. Tatiana explains that growing her science communication skills by taking extra courses (e.g., SCI3101), volunteering with Let’s Talk Science, and generally expanding her understanding of design and public speaking principles greatly helped her become more confident and minimised her stage fright.

Tatiana Kozbenko
Tatiana Kozbenko

Following her master’s, Tatiana aims to explore a career at the intersection of STEM and business. She plans to move to Calgary and join the dynamic entrepreneurial innovation community there. Additionally, Tatiana will be starting a new role as a Young Director with the Fora network, through which she will be paired with a non-profit organization and serve as a director on their board.

Outside of her professional career development, Tatiana has served as an editor for BioMatters – a bilingual multimedia magazine of the Department of Biology. During her first undergraduate year, she also competed as a varsity athlete on the women’s Gee-gees volleyball team.

Tatiana highlights that the support and guidance of her co-supervisors, Prof. Yauk and Dr. Chauhan, and the team at the uOttawa Great Lab has been a driving force in her success. She advises students not to worry about sticking to a conventional path. “Take on every opportunity with full steam, even if you don’t know how it’ll fit into the bigger picture in the long run,” shares Tatiana. 

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