Alana Bartolini

McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Health Sciences

Principal Investigators: Dr. Joshua Alwood and Dr. Ruth Globus

Education and Experience:

When I was thirteen years old I attended Space Camp Canada (Cosmodome) in Laval, Quebec. I remember sitting in the theater watching footage of astronauts on the International Space Station. The Drifter’s song “Up On the Roof” played in the background while the astronauts demonstrated how to drink water in the weightless environment. That moment sparked a curiosity in the human body adaptations to microgravity, and my fascination with space exploration began.

Since that time, I have continued to pursue my interest in space while completing my Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Though the majority of my program is based on human anatomy/physiology, cell biology, collaboration and presentation skills, I have had the unique opportunity to take two classes with a focus on space medicine. Through these classes I have explored the physiological impacts of spaceflight by researching changes to the cardiovascular, neurovestibular, neuromotor, and immune system, as well as sleep pattern and nutritional alterations in astronauts. I have also had the chance to meet and attend lectures by Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, and partake in a live feed chat with remote medicine specialist Dr. Christian Otto. The inspiration from these experiences has played a large role in my continuing goal to advance microgravity related medical research and support manned spaceflight.

During my undergraduate degree I have had a large focus on clinical orthopedic research and musculoskeletal (MSK) health. While shadowing an orthopedic surgeon in Toronto, Ontario, I completed two research studies: Comparison of patient satisfaction with Oxford vs. Total Knee Arthroplasty, and Use of Tranexamic Acid in Bilateral Knee Arthroplasty. The latter of these studies showed significantly important results, which led to its presentation at the Canadian Orthopaedic Association meeting in the summer of 2011, and my co-winning of the Dr. Barry Tobe Award for innovation and excellence in medical care. My recently completed undergraduate thesis focused on the clinical outcomes of manipulation under anesthesia after primary total knee arthroplasty. My experience with the MSK system and passion for space lead me to the NASA Academy where I will work in the Bone and Signaling Laboratory exploring the effects of radiation on osteoblasts and osteoclasts.

Interests:

My background is in competitive dance where I trained for 10 years in the styles of jazz, tap, ballet, acro, contemporary, and modern. While competing nationally with my studio, I also attended a performing arts high school where I captained the semi-professional modern company in my grade twelve year. I have completed the Royal Academy of Dance Vocation Ballet Examinations, achieving ‘Distinction’ in grades 1 through Advanced 2. I have continued to dance through university and have lead the McMaster Dance Company for the past two years.

In addition to dance, I adore music (at one point or another I’ve been able to play piano, guitar, flute, and cello), reading, volunteering, and choreographing musicals, fashion shows, and events.