Dr. Virginia Wotring

Human Performance in Space

BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee FL USA

Ph.D., Pharmacological and Physiological Science, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA. “Antagonism in inhibitory members of the ligand gated ion channel superfamily”. Advisor: Kong-Woo (Peter) Yoon, M.D.

Post-graduate research at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL USA centered on structure, function and pharmacology of ligand-gated ion channels of the nervous system.


Associate Professor, Center for Space Medicine and Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX USA

Deputy Director and Chief Scientist, Translational Research Institute for Space Health Houston, TX USA

Science and Technology Integration Manager, National Space Biomedical Research Institute, Houston, TX USA

Discipline Lead, Pharmacology, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston TX USA

Research and Teaching Interests

My current research involves examining the changes in physiology and pharmacology that occur in the confined, closed, microgravity, elevated radiation environment of a space mission, one example of an extreme environment. My work ranges from the molecular level to that of the whole human, and includes a wide variety of techniques and collaborations. A recent research project aboard the International Space Station collected and examined medication use data directly from crewmembers during space flight. Other projects include studying women’s health treatments during spaceflight missions, and examination of genes and proteins altered when organisms live in a spaceflight environment. Some background research on pharmacology in space has been published in book form: Space Pharmacology (2012) Springer.

Peer-reviewed Publications


1. Jain V, Ploutz-Snyder R, Young M and Wotring VE. Evaluating Potential Venous Thromboembolism Risk Factors in Female Astronauts: a retrospective cohort study. (in review).
2. Wotring V and Smith L, Dose Tracker Application for Collecting Medication Use Data from International Space Station Crewmembers, (Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, in press).
3. Blue RS, Bayuse T, Daniels V, Wotring VE, Suresh R, Mulcahy R and Antonsen E. Supplying a Pharmacy for NASA Exploration Spaceflight: Challenges and Current Understanding”, npj Microgravity 2019;5:14.
4. Blue RS, Chancellor JC, Antonsen EL, Bayuse T, Daniels V, and Wotring VE. Limitations in Predicting Radiation-Induced Pharmaceutical Instability during Long-Duration Spaceflight, npj Microgravity 2019;5:15.
5. Wotring V and Smith L (2018). Dose Tracker: an iOS app for collection of medication use data from volunteer crewmembers on the International Space Station. Front. Physiol. Conference Abstract: 39th ISGP Meeting & ESA Life Sciences Meeting.
6. Carpentier WE, Charles JB, Shelhamer M, Hackler AS, Johnson TL, Domingo CMM, Scott, GBI and Wotring, VE (2018) Biomedical findings from NASA’s Project Mercury: a case series. npj Microgravity. March 13; 4(6). Altmetric: 95.
7. Kast J, Yu Y, Seubert CN, Wotring VE, Derendorf H. (2017) Drugs in space: Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in astronauts. Eur J Pharm Sci. May 19 Pubmed PMID: 28533143
8. Jain V and Wotring VE. (2016) Medically induced amenorrhea in female astronauts, npj Microgravity. April 21; 2. Altmetric: 416.
9. Wotring VE. (2016) Chemical Potency and Degradation Products of Medications Stored Over 550 Earth Days at the International Space Station, AAPS J. Jan;18(1):210-6. doi: 10.1208/s12248-015-9834-5. Altmetric: 193.
10. Wotring VE. (2015) Medication Use by U.S. Crewmembers on the International Space Station, FASEB J. vol. 29 no. 11 4417-4423. PMID: 26187345. Altmetric: 90.
11. Cimini BA, Strang CE, Wotring VE, Keyser KT, Eldred WD. (2008) Role of Acetylcholine in Nitric Oxide Production in the Salamander Retina. J Comp Neurol 507:1952-1963.
12. Wotring VE and Weiss DS. (2008) Charge Scan Reveals an Extended Region at the Intracellular End of the GABA Receptor Pore that Can Influence Ion Selectivity. J Gen Physiol. Jan;131(1):87-97.
13. Erkkila BE, Weiss DS and Wotring VE. (2004) Picrotoxin-Mediated Antagonism of Acetylcholine and 7 Receptors. Neuroreport 15 (12) 1969-1973
14. Filippova N, Wotring VE and Weiss DS. (2004). Evidence that the TM1-TM2 loop contributes to the 1 GABA receptor pore. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 20906-20914.
15. Wotring VE., Miller TS and Weiss DS. (2003) Mutations at the GABA receptor selectivity filter: a possible role for effective charges. J. Physiol. 548.2: 527-540.
16. Wotring VE, Yongchang Chang and Weiss DS. (1999) Permeability and single channel conductance of human homomeric 1 receptors. J. Physiol. 521.1: 327-336.
17. Yoon KW, Fuse T, and Wotring VE. (1998) Multiple picrotoxinin effect on glycine channels in rat hippocampal neurons. Neuroscience 87(4): 807-815.
18. Wotring VE and Yoon KW. (1995) The inhibitory effects of nicotinic antagonists on currents elicited by GABA in rat hippocampal neurons. Neuroscience 67(2): 293-300.

Books & Chapters

1. Wotring V. (2018) Space Pharmacology: How Space Affects Pharmacology. In: Hock F., Gralinski M. (eds) Drug Discovery and Evaluation: Methods in Clinical Pharmacology. Springer, Cham.
2. Wotring VE. (in press) Pharmacology during Spaceflight in Principles of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight, M. Barratt (ed) 2nd edition, Springer.
3. Keyser KT, Wotring VE, Strang CE. The Role of Acetylcholine and Its Receptors in Retinal Processing. In Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology, Elsevier, 2017. ISBN 9780128093245
4. Wotring VE. Monitoring Physiology During Spaceflight in Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, and Environmental Monitoring IV (Proceedings of SPIE) Eds Sarka O. Southern, Mark A. Mentzer, Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez, 2014.
5. Wotring VE., Space Pharmacology in SpringerBriefs in Space Development Series, 2012, over 1000 chapter downloads per year since publication (Bookmetrix).
6. Strang CE. Wotring VE, Keyser KT (2010) Nicotinic Receptors in the Retina. The Encyclopedia of the Eye Besharse, Dana & Dartt, (eds). Elsevier.
7. Wotring VE. (2003) Chloride channels, in Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 3rd Ed. Elsevier.

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