Associate Chief Scientist for Gravitational Research, NASA
Tara M Ruttley, Ph.D., is currently the associate chief scientist for Gravitational Research at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters in the Office of the Chief Scientist in Washington, DC. Her role consists of representing and communicating the biological and physical science research performed in low Earth orbit platforms such as the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory, and supporting NASA’s Chief Scientist in developing research recommendations for the agency as NASA plans to return humans to the moon.
Combining her love for biology and human spaceflight, she pursued her bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. Upon completing her master’s degree, she began her career at NASA at the Johnson Space Center in 2001. She was hired as a biomedical engineer for the medical equipment and human research hardware used on the ISS. While working as an engineer, she concurrently pursued her doctorate in neuroscience. She then joined the ISS Program Science Office, where she spent over a decade playing an active role in managing, evaluating, and communicating science activities for the ISS before moving to NASA Headquarters in 2019.