Jessica Ulrika Meir (born July 1, 1977) is Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, following postdoctoral research in comparative physiology at the University of British Columbia. She has studied the diving physiology and behavior of emperor penguins in Antarctica, and the physiology of bar-headed geese, which are able to migrate over the Himalayas. In 2000, Meir graduated with a Master of Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. In September 2002, Meir served as an aquanaut on the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 4 (NEEMO 4) crew. In June 2013 she was named an astronaut candidate by NASA, becoming one of the eight members of NASA Astronaut Group 21. She is from Caribou, Maine.
PERSONAL DATA: Born and raised in Caribou, Maine. Recreational interests include skiing, hiking, running, cycling, soccer, and SCUBA diving. She is a private pilot and is conversational in Swedish.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Caribou High School, Caribou, Maine. Earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from Brown University in 1999. Earned a Master of Science Degree in Space Studies from International Space University in 2000. Earned a Doctorate in Marine Biology (diving physiology) from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD) in 2009
ORGANIZATIONS: American Physiological Society, Society for Experimental Biology, Canadian Society of Zoologists, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.
SPECIAL HONORS: American Physiological Society Early Career Advocacy Science Policy Fellowship (2013); National Science Foundation International Research Post-doctoral Fellowship (2009); Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) Scholar Award (2008); Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellowship (2006); Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship (2003); Lockheed Martin Space Operations (LMSO) Special Recognition Award (2002); LMSO Employee of the Month (2002); NASA JSC Space and Life Sciences Directorate Special Professional Achievement Award (2002); Lockheed Martin Technology Services “Lightning Award” (2002).
EXPERIENCE: For her Ph.D. research, Dr. Meir studied the diving physiology of marine mammals and birds, focusing on oxygen depletion in diving emperor penguins (Antarctic field research) and elephant seals (northern California). She investigated the high-flying bar-headed goose during her post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia, training geese to fly in a wind tunnel while obtaining various physiological measurements in reduced oxygen conditions. In 2012, Dr. Meir accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she continued her research on the physiology of animals in extreme environments. She also took part in Smithsonian Institution diving expeditions to the Antarctic and Belize, and has been very active with scientific outreach efforts.
NASA EXPERIENCE: From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Meir worked for Lockheed Martin’s Human Research Facility (NASA JSC), supporting human physiology research on the space shuttle and International Space Station. During this time, she also participated in research flights on NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft and served as an aquanaut crewmember in the Aquarius underwater habitat for the 4th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) mission. Dr. Meir was selected in June 2013 as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class. Her Astronaut Candidate Training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. She completed astronaut candidate training in July 2015, and is now qualified for future assignment.