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The first Canadian woman and neurologist in space, Dr. Roberta Bondar is globally recognized for her pioneering contributions to space medicine research, fine art photography, and environment education. She expanded the horizons of millions when she joined the space shuttle Discovery for mission STS-42 in 1992, where she conducted experiments for 18 countries in the first International Microgravity Laboratory, a precursor to the International Space Station.
For more than a decade after her spaceflight, Dr. Bondar headed an international space medicine research team, finding new connections between astronauts recovering from spaceflight and neurological illnesses on Earth, such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Her techniques have been used in clinical studies at the B.I. Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Bondar was also Chancellor of Trent University for six years.
Dr. Bondar is a leading speaker and consultant within the medical and scientific communities, and in the field of corporate social responsibility and care for the Earth’s environment. She is the co-founder and president of The Roberta Bondar Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization created to inspire people of all ages to connect with nature through photography.
Trained as a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team, Dr. Bondar expanded her professional photographic expertise as an honours student in Professional Nature Photography. Her fine art photographic works are held in private, corporate and institutional collections in Canada, the United States, and England. She is the author of four best selling books featuring her writing and photography.
Dr. Bondar holds a BSc in Zoology and Agriculture, MSc in Experimental Pathology, PhD in Neurobiology, MD, and is a Board-Certified Neurologist by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She sub-specialized in Neuro-ophthalmology at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston and at Toronto Western Hospital.
Among many awards and honours, Dr. Bondar has been recognized with the NASA Space Medal, inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame for her pioneering research in space medicine. She has also received 28 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American Universities, is a Companion of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, with six Canadian schools in her name. She is also a Specially Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Honorary Fellow and Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and has her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Evaluating Risk, Shifting Perspective, and Opening Possibilities