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Kerwin Award: Serena Auñon-Chancellor

July 01, 2022

Kerwin Award: Serena Auñon-Chancellor

Established and sponsored by KBR in honor of Joseph P. Kerwin, the first physician/astronaut. It is presented for advances in the understanding of human physiology during spaceflight and innovation in the practice of space medicine to support optimal human health and performance in space.

A white woman with long dark hair in an astronaut's spacesuit without the helmet is shown against an American flag.Serena Auñon-Chancellor, M.D., M.P.H., was the 2022 recipient of the Joe Kerwin Award. She was honored for her research efforts in the study of newly discovered problems of spaceflightrelated venous drainage anomalies and the potential for thromboembolism. She conducted hundreds of experiments during a 6-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS) and was co-author of an article describing the condition. She is a subject lead for NASA for the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine efforts needed to protect the flight control team and astronauts. During her residency, she supported the evaluation of spaceflight participants and attended the launch of spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi. Her research has resulted in multiple medical publications, and she has provided multiple invited presentations at conferences, including a presentation at the White House. She is an active astronaut representing medical issues related to spaceflight.
   Born in Indianapolis, IN, Dr. Auñon-Chancellor received a B.S. from The George Washington University, Washington, DC, in 1997. She earned her M.D. in 2001 from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She then served a 3-year residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston and then completed a year as Chief Resident in the Internal Medicine Department. She then served a 1-year residency in aerospace medicine in 2007 at UTMB.
   Dr. Auñón-Chancellor began her NASA career at Johnson Space Center in 2006 as a Flight Surgeon and spent more than 9 months in Russia supporting medical operations for ISS crewmembers in Star City. She also held the position of Deputy Crew Surgeon for STS-127 and as Deputy Lead for Orion Medical Operations. She was selected in July 2009 as an astronaut and graduated in 2011 from Astronaut Candidate Training. From 2010-2011, she spent 2 months in the Antarctic searching for meteorites as part of the ANSMET Expedition. In 2012, as part of the NEEMO 16 mission, she operated the Deep Worker submersible and subsequently served as an Aquanaut during the NEEMO 20 mission on the Aquarius underwater laboratory. She currently handles medical issues for the ISS Operations and Commercial Crew branches.
   Dr. Auñón-Chancellor’s awards and honors include the U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeons’ Julian Ward Award, an Outstanding UTMB Resident Award, the William K. Douglas Award, and the Thomas N. and Gleaves James Award for Excellent Performance by a third-Year Resident in Internal Medicine. She is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Preventive medicine, and the National Engineering Honor Society, and is an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association.