WVU health researcher Michael McCawley, Ph.D., has been selected for membership on the Dust Risk Standing Review Panel for NASA.

Dr. McCawley has taught at WVU since 1981 and has worked on projects such as the toxicity of moon dust and asteroid dust. He was appointed interim chair of the WVU School of Public Health’s Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences in 2012. He received his Ph.D. from New York University, his master’s degree from WVU and a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

He spent more than 27 years as a public health service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, studying miners’ health, occupational respiratory disease, aerosol measurement and ultrafine particles, with primary interests in air pollution, aerosols and occupational health. Recently, he has been working on issues related to Marcellus Shale drilling and mountain top mining.

The Human Research Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center is responsible for conducting research and developing strategies to mitigate the effects of long-duration spaceflight on astronauts and provide analysis on its status and progress towards mitigating the risks to human health and performance for human space exploration. The risk to human health from exposure to lunar dust was identified during the Apollo missions. Crews exposed to lunar dust that was brought into the lunar lander on suits and equipment, and later contaminated the command module, experienced irritation to their eyes, skin and respiratory systems.

The NASA panel will provide information on the new evidence for the dust risk, as well as give a detailed update on the newly revised dust risks.