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The first Greek woman scientist ever to join NASA

Dr. Ioanna Vernikou joined NASA in 1964, in the beginning of the spatial research and the idea of space, and soon became Director of the Research Programs in the Department of Space Life Sciences. She was Head and Project Leader of many missions, including the historic mission of John Glenn’s return in 1998, when he was 77 years old in the Discovery spaceship.

After studying Pharmacology in the University of London, in England, Dr. Vernikou received a distinction from Ohio University and the Medical School of Wright State University. In 1986, she presented her work as an author, publisher and main contributor of the book “Adraneia” (=inertia) by the Academic Press.

Among the distinctions she received, her paper regarding stress was recongized by NASA as a very important one, and in fact, she was honored with the medal of scientific honor. She was also honored with the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for creating research programs of international recognition for NASA. She was elected a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and a member of the World Economic Forum. She has created three pantents, one of which is about the centrifugal in relevance with the medical applications in hypergravity. She has published more than 200 scientific articles.