Dr. Robert Ferl is a distinguished professor and the director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida. His experimental heritage is the study of gene expression in response to environmental change, and recently that environment has been spaceflight and extraterrestrial habitats. Ferl co-chairs the Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and is a past president of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research. Among his honors are the 2016 NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the 2016 AIAA Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award. While a dedicated lab geek, he enjoys and advocates for the field experiential side of science; he and his lab team have flown with their experiments on many parabolic flight and other research aircraft to study aspects of the microgravity environment and develop flight hardware for understanding the biological effects of spaceflight. Ferl also conducts ground-based science on space-related environmental effects on terrestrial biology and works within planetary exploration analogs, including the Haughton Mars Project in the Arctic and in Antarctic venues.
Distinguished Professor and Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, University of Florida