Alana Bartolini

Alana Bartolini
Staff Assistant
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Health Sciences

When I was thirteen years old, I sat in the theater of Space Camp Canada in Laval, Quebec. The Drifter’s song “Up On the Roof” played in the background while I watched footage of astronauts drinking water on the International Space Station. That moment sparked a curiosity in how the human body adapts to microgravity, and my fascination with space exploration began.

I completed my Bachelor’s degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. During my time in the program, I had the opportunity to take space medicine classes, where I explored the physiological impacts of space flight on the human body. I studied microgravity-induced changes to the cardiovascular, neurovestibular, neuromotor, and immune systems, as well as sleep pattern and nutritional alterations in astronauts. The inspiration from these classes has played a large role in my continuing goal to advance microgravity related medical research and support manned spaceflight.

During my undergraduate degree I had a large focus on clinical orthopaedic research. While shadowing an orthopaedic surgeon in Toronto, I completed research regarding patient satisfaction with different implant types, and reduction of transfusion rates in bilateral knee arthroplasty through the use of Tranexamic Acid. The latter of these studies showed significant results, which led to its presentation at the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, 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 anaesthesia after primary total knee arthroplasty. This work gave me a clinical perspective on patients suffering from bone disease, and motivated me to gain an understanding of the underlying cellular mechanisms.

In the summer of 2012, I was selected to be the Canadian Space Agency delegate at the NASA Academy at NASA Ames Research Center. I worked in the Bone and Signaling Laboratory, mentored by Dr. Ruth Globus and Dr. Josh Alwood, researching the long-term inflammatory effects of microgravity and radiation on osteoclasts/blasts/cytes. I am currently still at Ames, working with Dr. Eduardo Almeida on hyper- and micro-gravity effects on pre-osteoblast stem cells.

After staffing the academy this summer, I plan to pursue my MSc through a Canadian institution in conjunction with NASA Ames.


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. I have completed the Royal Academy of Dance Vocational Ballet Examinations, grades 1 through Advanced 2 and captained the McMaster Dance Company throughout university. I continue to dance in my free time.

Additionally I enjoy music, movies, travelling, adventures, and drinking maple syrup by the gallon.