DAN is pleased to announce the addition of Michael Gernhardt, Ph.D., to its board of directors. Gernhardt is a decorated NASA astronaut and a dive instructor who has worked as a professional deep-sea diver and subsea oil field project engineer. His sustained dedication and contributions to research bridging diving and aerospace science make him an excellent fit for the organization.
Gernhardt began making major contributions to both diving and aerospace physiology while doing his doctoral work in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His theoretical decompression model of tissue gas bubble dynamics was a landmark in gas physiology management for deep sea and aerospace applications. Before working with NASA, Gernhardt was vice president for special projects at Oceaneering International. In 1988 he founded Oceaneering Space Systems to use his operational experience to adapt subsea technology for the International Space Station (ISS) program. Gernhardt also worked to develop new portable life-support systems and decompression procedures for extravehicular activity (EVA).
A veteran of four space flights, Gernhardt has logged 43 days in space and four spacewalks. He developed a program that used nitrox diving as a training tool for repairing the Hubble Space Telescope and has contributed to exercise prebreathing protocols for space walks and a variety of ISS EVA developments.
An experienced air, mixed-gas, bounce-bell and saturation diver, Gernhardt continues to regularly share his insights at diving medical symposia hosted by organizations such as the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society and the American Academy of Underwater Sciences as well as in peer-reviewed medical journals. He is currently a member of the astronaut office EVA branch, project scientist of the EVA Physiology and Performance Project (EPSP), manager of the Johnson Space Center’s Environmental Physiology Laboratory and project manager of the Small Pressurized Rover project.
“My focus has always been to strive for safety, efficiency and simplicity in diving — whether recreational scuba instruction, commercial oilfield diving or scientific diving — and to apply those same principles to space missions,” said Gernhardt. “I hope to use my position at DAN and its considerable expertise and professional network to promote relevant and important areas of investigation and advancements in dive safety.”
“We’re thrilled to have Mike Gernhardt joining the DAN board,” said DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle. “It’s rare to find such an accomplished scientist who also has a strong background in both commercial and recreational scuba diving. DAN — and divers worldwide — will no doubt benefit from the perspectives Dr. Gernhardt brings to the organization.”
AWARDS, PUBLICATIONS AND HONORS
NASA Space Flight Medals (4), NASA Exceptional Service Medals (2), NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (AUAS) NOGI Award for Science.