Dr. Shawna Pandya

Dr. Shawna Pandya is a Canadian physician, scientist-astronaut candidate program graduate with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS), aquanaut, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies, Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association, and Fellow of the Explorers’ Club. She is also Director of the IIAS Space Medicine Group, Chief Instructor of the IIAS Operational Space Medicine course, Director of Medical Research at Orbital Assembly Corporation, clinical lecturer, podcast host with the World Extreme Medicine’s WEMCast series, Primary Investigator (PI) for the Shad Canada-Blue Origin student microgravity competition, appointed member of the ASCEND Guiding Coalition, Life Sciences Team Lead for the Association of Spaceflight Professionals, and sessional lecturer for the “Technology and the Future of Medicine,” course at the University of Alberta. She serves as medical advisor to several space, medical and technology companies, including Astreas, as well as the Jasper Dark Sky Festival Advisory Committee. Dr. Pandya holds degrees in neuroscience (BSc Hons. Neuroscience, University of Alberta), space (MSc Space Studies, International Space University), and medicine (MD, University of Alberta), and a certification in entrepreneurship (Graduate Studies Program, Singularity University). 

Dr. Pandya was part of the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero-gravity in 2015. Dr. Pandya earned her aquanaut designation during the 2019 NEPTUNE (Nautical Experiments in Physiology, Technology and Underwater Exploration) mission. She has also completed centrifuge studies, emergency spacecraft egress and sea survival training, and wilderness medicine training. She previously served as Commander during a 2020 tour at the Mars Desert Research Station. Her expeditions were captured in the Land Rover short, released with the Apollo 11: First Steps film. She previously interned at ESA’s European Astronaut Center and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Her publications include book chapters on space technologies that have benefitted terrestrial medicine, psychological resilience in long-duration spaceflight, and reproduction and sexuality in long-duration spaceflight. 

Dr. Pandya is a seasoned speaker and has given keynotes all around the world, including TEDxEdmonton 2010, TEDxUAlberta 2016 on Success, Failure, Resilience and Pushing the Limits, TEDxISU 2019 at the International Space University on “Discovering Exploration,” and in former Canadian Prime Minister Rt Hon. Kim Campbell’s Peter Lougheed Leadership College Leadership Lecture Series on Emotional Intelligence. She has served in numerous mentorship and guidance capacities, including with the Women in Aerospace Medicine group, the University of Alberta’s Technology and the Future of Medicine Class, Shad Canada, the Women’s Executive Network, the Space Prize Challenge, SEDS Canada, the PoSSUM13 and more.

She is currently completing a fellowship in Wilderness Medicine (Academy of Wilderness Medicine), was granted an Honorary Fellowship in Extreme and Wilderness Medicine by the World Extreme Medicine organization in 2021, and was one of 50 physicians selected to attend the 2021 European Space Agency Space Medicine Physician Training Course. In 2021, Dr. Pandya was named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, a Canadian Space Agency Space Ambassador, and one of LinkedIn’s Top 100 Aviation and Aerospace Professionals to Follow in 2021. She has also been a multi-year finalist for the IIAS’ “Awesome PoSSUM” Award for contributing to the strength and development of that organization. In 2019, Dr. Pandya’s career and trajectory were captured at the Ontario Science Center’s “Canadian Women in Space,” exhibit, where Dr. Pandya is permanently exhibited alongside Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space (and Dr. Pandya’s idol growing up). In 2022, Dr. Pandya was named as one the Explorers’ Club’s ‘50 Explorers Changing the World.”

Dr. Pandya also holds certifications in solo sky-diving, advanced, open water, drysuit, Nitrox and rescue diving, and is working towards her private pilot’s license. Dr. Pandya is fluent in English, French, Gujarati, and dabbles in Spanish and Russian. She also sings, plays the piano and holds a black belt in Taekwondo and has trained in Muay Thai fight camps in Thailand, entering and winning her first amateur fight in 2017.