Dr. Virginia Wotring

September 7, 2022

Prof. Virginia Wotring

Human Performance in Space

BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee FL USA

Ph.D., Pharmacological and Physiological Science, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA. “Antagonism in inhibitory members of the ligand gated ion channel superfamily”. Advisor: Kong-Woo (Peter) Yoon, M.D.

Post-graduate research at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL USA centered on structure, function and pharmacology of ligand-gated ion channels of the nervous system.


Associate Professor, Center for Space Medicine and Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX USA

Deputy Director and Chief Scientist, Translational Research Institute for Space Health Houston, TX USA

Science and Technology Integration Manager, National Space Biomedical Research Institute, Houston, TX USA

Discipline Lead, Pharmacology, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston TX USA

Research and Teaching Interests

My current research involves examining the changes in physiology and pharmacology that occur in the confined, closed, microgravity, elevated radiation environment of a space mission, one example of an extreme environment. My work ranges from the molecular level to that of the whole human, and includes a wide variety of techniques and collaborations. A recent research project aboard the International Space Station collected and examined medication use data directly from crewmembers during space flight. Other projects include studying women’s health treatments during spaceflight missions, and examination of genes and proteins altered when organisms live in a spaceflight environment. Some background research on pharmacology in space has been published in book form: Space Pharmacology (2012) Springer.

Peer-reviewed Publications


  1. Jain V, Ploutz-Snyder R, Young M, Wotring V. Potential Venous Thromboembolism Risk in Female Astronauts. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2020 May; 91(5). doi: https://doi.org/10.3357/AMHP.5458.2020.
  2. Laws JM, Caplan N, Bruce C, McGrogan C, Lindsay K, Wild B, Debuse B, Wotring V, Winnard A. Systematic review of the technical and physiological constraints of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle that affect the capability of astronauts to exercise effectively during spaceflight. Acta Astronautica. 2020 March; 170:665.
  3. Wotring VE, Smith LK. Dose Tracker Application for Collecting Medication Use Data from International Space Station Crew. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020 Jan 1;91(1):41-45. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5392.2020. PubMed PMID: 31852573.
  4. Blue RS, Bayuse TM, Daniels VR, Wotring VE, Suresh R, Mulcahy RA, Antonsen EL. Supplying a pharmacy for NASA exploration spaceflight: challenges and current understanding. NPJ Microgravity. 2019;5:14. doi: 10.1038/s41526-019-0075-2. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 31231676; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6565689.
  5. Blue RS, Chancellor JC, Antonsen EL, Bayuse TM, Daniels VR, Wotring VELimitations in predicting radiation-induced pharmaceutical instability during long-duration spaceflight. NPJ Microgravity. 2019;5:15. doi: 10.1038/s41526-019-0076-1. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 31231677; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6554299.
  6. Carpentier WR, Charles JB, Shelhamer M, Hackler AS, Johnson TL, Domingo CMM, Sutton JP, Scott GBI, Wotring VEBiomedical findings from NASA’s Project Mercury: a case series. NPJ Microgravity. 2018;4:6. doi: 10.1038/s41526-018-0040-5. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 29560415; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5849611.
  7. Wotring V, Smith L. Dose Tracker: an iOS app for collection of medication use data from volunteer crewmembers on the International Space Station. Frontiers Physiology Conference Abstract: 39th ISGP Meeting & ESA Life Sciences Meeting. 2018; doi: 10.3389/conf.fphys.2018.26.00047.
  8. Kast J, Yu Y, Seubert CN, Wotring VE, Derendorf H. Drugs in space: Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in astronauts. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2017 Nov 15;109S:S2-S8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2017.05.025. Epub 2017 May 19. Review. PubMed PMID: 28533143.
  9. Jain V, Wotring VEMedically induced amenorrhea in female astronauts. NPJ Microgravity. 2016;2:16008. doi: 10.1038/npjmgrav.2016.8. eCollection 2016. Review. PubMed PMID: 28725726; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5516549.
  10. Wotring VEChemical Potency and Degradation Products of Medications Stored Over 550 Earth Days at the International Space Station. AAPS J. 2016 Jan;18(1):210-6. doi: 10.1208/s12248-015-9834-5. Epub 2015 Nov 6. PubMed PMID: 26546565; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4706284.
  11. Wotring VEMedication use by U.S. crewmembers on the International Space Station. FASEB J. 2015 Nov;29(11):4417-23. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-264838. Epub 2015 Jul 17. PubMed PMID: 26187345.
  12. Cimini BA, Strang CE, Wotring VE, Keyser KT, Eldred WD. Role of acetylcholine in nitric oxide production in the salamander retina. J Comp Neurol. 2008 Apr 20;507(6):1952-63. doi: 10.1002/cne.21655. PubMed PMID: 18273886.
  13. Wotring VE, Weiss DS. Charge scan reveals an extended region at the intracellular end of the GABA receptor pore that can influence ion selectivity. J Gen Physiol. 2008 Jan;131(1):87-97. doi: 10.1085/jgp.200609701. Epub 2007 Dec 17. PubMed PMID: 18079559; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2174155.
  14. Erkkila BE, Weiss DS, Wotring VEPicrotoxin-mediated antagonism of alpha3beta4 and alpha7 acetylcholine receptors. 2004 Aug 26;15(12):1969-73. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200408260-00027. PubMed PMID: 15305147.
  15. Filippova N, Wotring VE, Weiss DS. Evidence that the TM1-TM2 loop contributes to the rho1 GABA receptor pore. J Biol Chem. 2004 May 14;279(20):20906-14. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M401012200. Epub 2004 Mar 8. PubMed PMID: 15007065.
  16. Wotring VE, Miller TS, Weiss DS. Mutations at the GABA receptor selectivity filter: a possible role for effective charges. J Physiol. 2003 Apr 15;548(Pt 2):527-40. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2002.032045. Epub 2003 Mar 7. PubMed PMID: 12626678; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2342860.
  17. Wotring VE, Chang Y, Weiss DS. Permeability and single channel conductance of human homomeric rho1 GABAC receptors. J Physiol. 1999 Dec 1;521 Pt 2:327-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.1999.00327.x. PubMed PMID: 10581305; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2269674.
  18. Yoon KW, Wotring VE, Fuse T. Multiple picrotoxinin effect on glycine channels in rat hippocampal neurons. 1998 Dec;87(4):807-15. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(98)00158-4. PubMed PMID: 9759968.
  19. Wotring VE, Yoon KW. The inhibitory effects of nicotinic antagonists on currents elicited by GABA in rat hippocampal neurons. 1995 Jul;67(2):293-300. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(95)00011-7. PubMed PMID: 7675170.

Books & Chapters

  1. Wotring V. (2020) Spaceflight Pharmacology. In: Barratt M., Baker E., Pool S. (eds) Principles of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight. Springer, New York, NY https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-9889-0_27
  2. Wotring V.(2018) Space Pharmacology: How Space Affects Pharmacology. In: Hock F., Gralinski M. (eds) Drug Discovery and Evaluation: Methods in Clinical Pharmacology. Springer, Cham.
  3. Keyser KT, Wotring VE, Strang CE. The Role of Acetylcholine and Its Receptors in Retinal Processing. In Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology, Elsevier, 2017. ISBN 9780128093245
  4. Wotring VE.Monitoring Physiology During Spaceflight in Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, and Environmental Monitoring IV (Proceedings of SPIE) Eds Sarka O. Southern, Mark A. Mentzer, Isaac Rodriguez-Chavez, 2014.
  5. Wotring VE., Space Pharmacology in SpringerBriefs in Space Development Series, 2012, over 1000 chapter downloads per year since publication (Bookmetrix).
    Strang CE. Wotring VE, Keyser KT (2010) Nicotinic Receptors in the Retina. The Encyclopedia of the Eye Besharse, Dana & Dartt, (eds). Elsevier.
  6. Wotring VE. (2003) Chloride channels, in Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 3rd Ed. Elsevier.
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