Cellular physiologist and bioengineer Thomas J. Goodwin, PhD, expanded the boundaries of human physiology and bioengineering research at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) for 30 years.He is recognized the world over for his pioneering contributions to and authority in 3D biology, tissue engineering, bioelectromagnetic field effects, and synthesized tissue growth.

Thomas J. Goodwin, PhD, FAcadTM
Thomas J. Goodwin, PhD, FAcadTM

At JSC, he was the Manager of the Disease Modeling and Tissue Analogues Laboratory and Lead Scientist for the Oxidative Stress and Damage research discipline for more than 15 years. He has been heralded for his innovative work in the creation and utilization of 3D tissues for the study of human physiology and tumor biology, construction of 3D models as microbial hosts for infectious disease, and his research into effects of ultra-low frequency electromagnetic fields on human tissues.Additionally, he helped initiate and advance within NASA the now-trending fields of personalized medicine, space physiology, Omics technologies, and translational medicine, now a burgeoning field.Although he retired from the space agency in 2016 to pursue another childhood dream, helping people on Earth, he holds official NASA Retired status.

Currently, Dr. Goodwin is Honorary President and Chair of the Personalized Medicine Panel of the European Society of Translational Medicine (EUSTM),as well as a Fellow of the society. He is Co-Chair of the Advanced Pattern Analysis and Countermeasures Group and is a scientific consultant for Sovaris Aerospace.Healso holds adjunct positions at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston, Texas, Department of Surgery/Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the University of Houston, Departmentof Health and Human Performance. Additionally, he serves as an Adjunct Scientist at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Southwest National Primate Research Center, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Goodwin has authored or co-authored more than 63 peer-reviewed articles, four book chapters on 3D biology, personalized precision medicine, and human spaceflight research. The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded him 21 U.S. patents to date (with several disclosures still pending) and the space agency has honored him with more than 70 NASA Scientific and Technical awards.Recent signature peer reviewed papers include co-authorship of “From the Bench to Exploration Medicine: NASA life sciences translational research for human exploration and habitation missions,”Nature Microgravity(2017);“Personalized Medicine in Human Space Flight: Using Omics Based Analyses to Develop Individualized Countermeasures that Enhance Astronaut Safety and Performance,”Metabolomics(2013); and “Three-Dimensional Normal Human Neural Progenitor Tissue-Like Assemblies: A Model of Persistent Varicella-Zoster Virus Infection,”PLoS Pathogens(2013).

Current positions

For full access to my scientific projects and publications, please see: 

Major research projects

Prostate Carcinoma & Bone Stromal Cells Experiment on STS-107SpaceHab mission for Human Health. Credit: NASA

Courtesy of NASA

My most recent flight research was performed onboard the STS-107 Columbia mission that was tragically lost on its return from space. Lelund W.K. Chung, PhD, of Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, and I designed the prostate carcinoma experiment that resulted in the largest tumor tissue yet grown in microgravity

While the experiment was lost with the Columbia, the videotape transmitted by Payload Commander Michael Anderson the night before proved it was a significant milestone in 3-D biology, as reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Professional Affiliations

  • European Society for Translational Medicine
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Physiological Society
  • American Society for Cell Biology
  • International Federation for the Advancement of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
  • Sigma XI The Scientific Research
  • Society for In Vitro Biology

Contact Information

Thomas J. Goodwin, PhD