Dr. Joan Vernikos

Dr. Joan Vernikos is a world class expert in stress and healthy aging who officially retired from NASA as Director of Life Sciences (1993-2002) following a career there as a researcher and administrator. Since that time she has committed to bringing her knowledge and experiences on healthy aging to the general public. Dr. Joan accomplishes this as an author, consultant to organizations, motivational speaker and personal health coach. Like every one of us, Dr Joan lived a life full of ups and downs. Her education and unique background have directly influenced her approach to the issues of health and aging. Dr. Joan grew up in a family of doctors, including her father, where her apprenticeship was an invaluable daily discussion of health, illness, diagnostics and case studies – at a time before it was common for powerful medicines to be the first option to treat a condition. Her education was multilingual and multicultural. Born into a Greek family in the then cosmopolitan city of Alexandria, Egypt and educated in a British system, Dr. Joan completed her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of London. With her Greek husband Costas Danellis, she headed west to Ohio State University, teaching Pharmacology to medical students and doing research in brain-stress relationships. Four years later, with two children, the family moved to California, recruited by a young NASA for her stress expertise. There she pioneered research on how living in space in microgravity affected the health of astronauts. In the 1970’s Dr Joan sometimes worked behind the Iron Curtain with Soviet space scientists in a rare sharing of efforts between the two ‘enemies’. At age 34, she was widowed, becoming a single mother. Women in the workplace were then not always given equal treatment with male colleagues. Nevertheless, Dr. Joan managed to balance work and domestic responsibilities. She continued her research and pioneered a series of “head-down bed-rest” studies used to mimic the effects of micro-gravity in test subjects. In 1978 she re-married, to Geoffrey Hazzan, and later, they took on the new challenge of opening a chocolate shop, GEOFFROI, in London, specializing in making fresh cream truffles. The Chocolate Adventure , their book of stories and recipes is in the making. In 1993 Dr. Joan took on the role of Director of Life Sciences for NASA, a position she held until her “retirement” in 2000. There, she played a key role in the return to space of American hero John Glenn at the age of 77. She draws on this life experience to address issues seniors most commonly encounter. All her research and observations led her to conclude that managing stress and using gravity effectively hold the keys not only to healthy aging but for all of us living here on Earth. Her mission is to see this happen. Dr. Joan’s books include The G-Connection: Harness Gravity and Reverse Aging (2004), and Stress Fitness for Seniors (2009). In December 2011 her new book, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Simple Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death -- and Exercise Alone Won't will be published by Quill Driver Books. “Meeting challenge with a positive outlook is important to all I do. My ambition is to change attitudes towards aging both in seniors and the general population. Aging well is absolutely possible – almost regardless of your genetic traits or current condition there are many simple yet effective things you can do to invest in a healthier, more vital future. I feel a responsibility to share the many common sense solutions available to us today that just aren’t a common part of conversation.” Dr. Joan received awards and recognition for both her research and administrative leadership. A resume of her work, publications, awards and patents as well as a super short bio and a complete cv are available.

Broadcast 1989 (Special Edition)

Guest: Dr. Joan Vernikos. Topics: Inspiration Mars flyby mission, human factors, counter measures, mitigation strategies. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use.

Broadcast 777 (Special Edition)

Dr. Joan Vernikos was the guest for this Space Show program originally recorded and aired on Sept. 13, 2007 for a special replay on Monday, Sept. 17, 2007. Dr. Vernikos, the former Director of NASA's Life Science Division, is an expert in the effects of space, particularly gravity upon the astronauts. As we learned in this interview, she has taken her expertise regarding gravity and applied it to all of us non-astronauts for helping us to have healthy living here on Earth. Her book, "The G-Connection: Harness Gravity and Reverse Aging," is about this very subject. We discussed with Dr.

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