Jan Stepanek, M.D., and his team study the effects of clinical and significant operational problems in the realm of spatial disorientation while in flight, as well as maintenance of balance, cognitive impairment, especially in hypoxia-induced conditions, and prevention of acceleration-induced blackout.
- Studying the effects of direct current applied through the skin to the balance organs to provide perceptions of motion
- Noninvasive, early detection of cognitive changes due to influences in brain function (for example, drugs, lack of oxygen, fatigue and concussion) via eye tracking
- Improvement of altitude tolerance and safety in extreme altitude conditions
- Prevention of acceleration-induced blackout
Significance to patient care
Dr. Stepanek and the multidisciplinary team in the Aerospace Medicine and Vestibular Research Laboratory aim to improve balance, prevent falls and enhance immersive environments, such as flight simulation and entertainment. The work on altitude tolerance improvement is useful to enhance delivery of oxygen to tissues in a wide variety of clinical settings, including new imaging modalities.
- Arnold D. Tuttle Award, Aerospace Medical Association for the most important journal article in aerospace medicine with the laboratory team, 2013
- Victor A. Prather Award, American Astronautical Society for work on the adverse effects of the high altitude environment on humans, 2012
- Associate editor, Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine (Clinical Aerospace Medicine section), 2008-present
- Editorial board, Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 2005-present