Lab Personnel

Who we are

We are composed of physicians, engineers, PhD students, graduate students, and undergraduates all with a passion for exploring and understanding the world around us.

We are looking for motivated and passionate students. Those in both engineering and biology are welcome to apply. If you are interested in joining our lab, please feel free to contact Dr. Petersen.

Dr. Lonnie Petersen, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Lonnie (MD, PhD) completed her MD from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2007 and has worked in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care. Dr. Petersen received her PhD in Gravitational Physiology and Space Medicine in 2016. Currently an assistant Professor the University of California, San Diego and supported by NASA, Department of Defense, and the Novo Nordic Foundation as well as being a Sapera Aude Fellow (National Research Council). Her research is rooted in cardiovascular, cerebral and exercise physiology always with an integrative physiology approach.

Dr. Casper Petersen, MD

Assistant Project Scientist

Casper (MD) graduated from University of Copenhagen in 2008 and has worked in Cardiology and Emergency Medicine. He has focused on research in renal physiology and sympathetic reflexes as well as physiological fluid shifts in regard to space and aviation medicine and countermeasure development for long term space travel. Dr. Petersen is supported by NASA , Kratos and ONR and currently holds a position as Assistant Project Scientist at University of California, San Diego.

Sylvie Pryor, BS

PhD Student

Sylvie Pryor is a first-year PhD student in the Petersen Lab pursuing her degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from Smith College. During her undergraduate career, she explored multiple areas of biomedical engineering and became invested in medical device development. As a member of the Petersen Lab, she is motivated by the opportunity to conduct research that can not only benefit humans on Earth, but also vulnerable humans in outer space. Her interests lie more specifically in the development of minimally and non-invasive sensing and monitoring medical devices.

Jacobo Cervera Torralba, BS

PhD Student

Jacobo is a first year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He graduated from the Polytechnical University of Valencia with a BS in Aerospace Engineering; he completed his senior year in Germany at RWTH-Aachen University. His research interests lie in the field of medical devices with applications to non-invasive methods for fluid shifts within the human body.

Berat Gulecyuz, BS

MS Student

Berat Gulecyuz graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a Bachelor's of Science in Bioengineering, and a minor in anthropology, and is currently pursuing her Master's of Science in Bioengineering at UCSD. Berat has experience in tissue biomechanics research, and personal interests in musculoskeletal biomechanics, specifically the spine, rehabilitation, and medical devices, and plans to conduct her thesis in this field. She is eager to apply the field of biomechanics to space physiology to create innovative solutions to modern day medical problems.

Katelyn Kennedy

BS Student

Katelyn Kennedy is a second-year undergraduate student studying Bioengineering with a focus in Electrical Engineering. She is motivated to learn about and contribute to the development of medical devices for a wide variety of applications. In the Petersen Lab, she is excited to work on projects that will contribute to a better understanding of human physiology on Earth and in space.

Jeremy Sieker, MS

Medical Student


Joseph Siprut, BS

Contiguous BS/MS Student

Joseph has a bachelor's degree in physiology and neuroscience with a minor in dance, and is pursuing his master's degree in Dr. Petersen's lab where he is currently studying methods for in-flight observation of spinal muscles under microgravity conditions in space.

Evan Grace, MS

Medical Student

Evan (MS) graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in Physiology and Neuroscience in 2018 and received his Master’s of Science in Biology in 2019 from UCSD. His research focuses on the physiological effects of exercise and sports-related head injuries on the human brain. Evan currently attends Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, where he will receive his MD in 2023.

Elizabeth Heyde, BS

Graduate Student

Elizabeth Heyde graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2019 and is currently pursuing a Master's of Science in Bioengineering from Dr. Petersen's lab at UCSD. Elizabeth's research is focused on the development of a mechanical ventilator in conjunction with the Medically Advanced Devices Lab.

Justin Lee, MS

Medical Student

Justin Lee (MS) graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor's degree in Biology in 2018 and also received his Master's of Science in Biology in 2020 from UCSD. His research focuses on the physiological effects of microgravity environments on the human eye and the effects of sports-related head injuries on the human brain. Justin currently holds the position of Lab Mangager in Petersen Lab and will be attending medical school in the fall.