Selected as a payload specialist by NASA in January 1983, Dr. Hughes-Fulford flew in June 1991 aboard STS-40 Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS 1), the first Spacelab mission dedicated to biomedical studies. The SLS-1 mission flew over 3.2 million miles in 146 orbits and its crew completed over 18 experiments during a 9 day period bringing back more medical data than any previous NASA flight. Mission duration was 218 hours, 14 minutes and 20 seconds.
Upon her return to Earth, she served as the Scientific Advisor to the Under Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 3 years. Today, as a Professor at the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco, Dr. Hughes-Fulford continues her research at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco as Director of the Laboratory for Cell Growth and Differentiation and as a principal medical investigator. She is currently the Deputy Associate Chief of Staff at the VA Medical Center, San Francisco. In addition to her duties as the dACOS/E, she is continuing her studies of the control of human colorectal cancer growth with the VA and the regulation of bone growth with NASA.
She is also the PI on a series of SpaceHab/Biorack experiments examining the regulation of osteoblast (bone cell) growth regulation. The experiment, OSTEO flew on STS-76, in March of 1996. OSTEOGENE was on STS-81 which flew in January, 1997. OSTEOMARS is manifested on STS-84 scheduled to fly in May, 1997. The experiments are designed to examine the activation of bone cell growth and induction of gene expression in microgravity. These studies should help scientists understand the osteoporosis that occur in astronauts during spaceflight. More information on these studies can be obtained at http://www.spacedu.com.
Planned SLS-1 shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster.
Planned SLS-2 shuttle mission. Cancelled after Challenger disaster.
Carried Spacelab life sciences module. Payloads: Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS)-1 with long module, getaway special bridge assembly with 12 getaway specials, Physiological Monitoring System (PMS), Urine Monitoring System (UMS), Animal Enclosure Modules (AEM), Middeck Zero-gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE), 7 Orbiter Experiments Program experiments.