Australians in Space: Living Systems and the Future

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Gordon Cable AM

Gordon is a specialist in aerospace medicine, currently Medical Officer RAAF Liaison within the Office of the Chief Technical Officer at the Australian Space Agency, and  concurrently Head of Aerospace Medicine Training at the RAAF Institute of Aviation Medicine. He holds multiple Fellowships of professional aerospace organisations in Australia and internationally, and holds academic appointments at the University of Adelaide and the University of Tasmania where he teaches a postgraduate unit in space medicine as part of the Healthcare of Remote and Extreme Environments Program.

Prof. Matthew Gilliham, University of Adelaide. Plants: an essential source of nutrition, pharmaceuticals and material for sustaining long term space habitation

Matthew is Director of the Waite Research Institute, the University of Adelaide’s flagship for Agriculture, Food and Wine innovation, which utilises the breadth of the University’s multidisciplinary capabilities to solve pressing challenges. Matthew is a current Clarivate Highly Cited Author (Animal and Plant Sciences) and member of the South Australian Premier’s Science and Innovation Council; he emigrated from the UK after a postdoctoral fellowship and a PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Prof. Siobhan Banks. Managing Psychosocial Risks for Humans in Space

Siobhan Banks is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Behaviour-Brain-Body Research Centre, University of South Australia. Her research sits at the nexus of biology, behaviour, and technology. She works with 24/7 industries such as healthcare, transportation, defence, and space to help manage fatigue and stress to optimize performance and wellbeing. She has received over $10M in research funding during her career, ranging from basic to applied research and this work has been cited over 6000 times (GoogleScholar). In 2019 she was awarded the Australian Council Graduate Research Award for Excellence in Promoting Industry Engagement in Graduate Research.

Dr John Cherry, Australian Space Medicine

John is a Director of the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ASAM) and the Chair of ASAM’s Space Life Science Committee. He has worked for NASA and European Space Agency developing medical support and training for astronauts and he remains actively engaged in Space Medicine research. Prior to medicine, he worked as an Astrophysicist, commercial helicopter pilot, high school science teacher, and expedition leader.

Session 5: Australians in Space: Living Systems and the Future

Humans will be venturing further into space over the coming decade than ever before. Explorers will be exposed to the hostile environments and challenges that living beyond the protection of Earth’s atmosphere brings.  Australian researchers and clinicians are working on strategies that will help humans live sustainably, remain healthy and perform at their best off-Earth.   This panel examined Australia’s current and future contributions to 3 areas that humans as living systems require to achieve those goals – psychological support in isolation and confinement, medical care in remote and extreme environments, and growing space resilient plants for sustainable nutrition.

Moderator: Associate Professor Gordon Cable, Australian Space Agency, University of Adelaide and University of Tasmania


  • Professor Matthew Gilliham, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Siobhan Banks, University of South Australia
  • Dr John Cherry, Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine

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