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ORAU Webinar Series

ORAU Webinar Series

For more than 70 years, ORAU has helped our customers advance their mission by providing science, health and workforce solutions. Through our specialized teams of experts and a consortium of more than 120 universities, we connect the right people and resources to help our customers solve our nation’s most challenging issues.

Our 2020 Webinar Series features world-class subject matter experts presenting novel and emerging research in their respective fields. Our goal is to stimulate conversation and collaboration around some of the important research needs facing our country.

NASA: Kennedy Space Center’s Research & Technology Portfolio – Engaging faculty and students in collaboration


About this Webinar 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the world’s premier space Agency whose vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.” To accomplish this mission, NASA conducts research and operations at 20 Centers, Facilities and Laboratories all overseen by Associate Administrator Jim Bridenstine and his team at NASA HQ in Washington, D.C.

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has served as a pillar of space explorations for many decades. KSC has supported multiple launches from Cape Canaveral, including launching humans to the moon. Modern day programs support the laboratories aboard the International Space Station and now serve as the home of NASA’s Launch Services Program, for satellites and robotic missions to “unlock the secrets of the universe.

ORAU, a proud partner of NASA and KSC, will host a webinar where faculty and students will learn about the Kennedy Research and Technology portfolio and how they too can contribute to cutting-edge innovation and technology development supporting premier programs such as Artemis and beyond.    Dr. Jose Nunez, NASA KSC Exploration Research and Technology Programs Office, will provide an overview of KSC’s research and technology portfolio, as well as, details on how researchers can submit proposals for funding as they support NASA missions. ORAU would like to acknowledge and thank Microsoft for their support in working with Dr. Nunez and his partners at NASA.

Introductory remarks will be provided by Kenneth Wright, Innovative Initiatives Lead in the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist, and Andy Page, President and CEO of ORAU. Scott Miller, PhD., Senior Scientific Advisor at ORAU, will serve as moderator

Dr. Nunez will present on focus areas that provide government and commercial space ventures with the technologies needed to work and live on the surfaces of the Moon, planets and other bodies in our solar system. Prior to providing information on ways to partner with NASA, Dr. Nunez will cover topics of interest such as: 

  • Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations
  • Applied Chemistry
  • Electrostatics and Surface Physics
  • Advanced Materials and Systems Areas
  • Applied Physics
  • Corrosion Technology

His presentation will also provide an overview of NASA’s plans to go to the moon, an overview of KSC’s research laboratory and KSC’s small satellite capabilities. Additionally, Dr. Nunez will cover NSPIRES for peer review panel opportunities and an overview of current solicitations. Lastly, he will discuss undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral fellowships opportunities, followed by a Q&A session.


scott miller

Scott Miller, PhD 
Senior Scientific Advisor
Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

Watch the recorded webinar:



jose nunez, nasa 

Jose Nunez, PhD, PE
University Partnerships & Small Satellite Capabilities Manager
Kennedy Space Center

Dr. Núñez became KSC’s University Partnerships & Small Satellite Capabilities Manager in June 2019.  In this capacity he is tasked with increasing collaborations between University Principal Investigators and KSC as well as leveraging infrastructure to increase University Small Sat development activities.  Before that he was the Chief of the Flight Technologies Branch for the Exploration Research and Technology Programs Office at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA.  In this capacity, he led a group of Science and Technology Researchers in the areas of Electrostatics, Advanced Habitats, Suborbital Flights, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle sensors, and Space Flight Demonstrations.

Over the course of his 30 yr career at NASA, Dr. Nunez has performed in multiple leadership, engineering, project and mission management roles working on the International Space Station (ISS) Program with Government, Contractor, and University personnel across the U.S. and Internationals such as Brazil, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and Spain. 

He received his Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida (UF), and Master’s and Doctorate in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida (UCF).  He is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Florida, and has taught at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) as an adjunct professor.

ken wright, nasa

Kenneth Wright
Lead for innovative initiatives in the Office of the Chief Technologist
NASA Headquarters

Kenneth Wright is currently serving as the lead for innovative initiatives in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters. In this role he is responsible for developing a NASA Innovation Framework and other innovation related activities. In addition, he coordinates a cross-agency team to review technology readiness and supports the development of the NASA Strategic Technology Investment Plan. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Wright served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and was the interim Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Council. He previously held various leadership positions during more than 30 years of service at NASA including the Associate Director for Program Implementation in the Research Directorate of NASA Langley Research Center, the Deputy Director for NASA Langley’s Science Directorate, and Branch Head of the Advanced Sensing and Optical Measurement Branch. He has been recognized by NASA with numerous group achievement and performance awards, NASA Superior Accomplishment Awards, an Exceptional Service Medal and NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal.  Mr. Wright has approximately 23 technical publications in the areas of ground-based acoustic measurement systems, sensors, and advanced wind tunnel diagnostic techniques and holds a patent for a high density, digital data storage system. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University and his Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Recent Webinar: Investigating ultrastructural mechanisms of TBI using X-ray diffraction

In the United States in 2018, it is estimated that were 2.8 million traumatic braining injuries (TBI) with more than 280,000 of those requiring hospitalization and more than 55,000 deaths.  These numbers do not reflect the TBIs recorded for our service members. According to the Defense Medical Surveillance System, our military personnel suffered than 383,000 TBIs between 2000 and early 2018.  Brain injury is now being described as the “signature wound” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   

While a patient may present with cognitive or behavior issues, the structural damage inside the brain can be almost invisible.  On Wednesday, March 4th ORAU hosted a webinar featuring a team of researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology to discuss how they are using X-ray diffraction to better understand the structural impact of a TBI. 

Title: Investigating ultrastructural mechanisms of TBI using X-ray diffraction

Abstract: With even a mild or moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the warfighter may suffer cognitive and/or behavioral impairments. Although symptoms present clinically, the type of biological structural damage that occurs from TBI may be “invisible” to commonly-used medical and scientific visualization techniques. In this webinar, researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology describe novel applications of X-ray diffraction developed recently to better understand the initial expression of brain injuries in myelinated cells. They also discuss means of developing evolutionary models of brain injuries, as well as methods of treating and protecting against the incidence of TBI.

Watch the recorded webinar:




Joseph Orgel (PhD)
Professor of Biology & Biomedical Eng.
Associate Director of BioCAT

Illinois Institute of Technology


Ashley Eidsmore
Electrical Engineer & TBI Researcher

Combat Capabilities Development Command’s
Army Research Laboratory (CCDC ARL)


Jason McDonald (PhD)

Combat Capabilities Development Command’s
Army Research Laboratory (CCDC ARL)



Jim Malone (PhD)
Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)