Gregory T. A. Kovacs, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Kovacs is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Medicine. He received a BASc degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, an MS degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD and an MD degree from Stanford University. Dr. Kovacs is the Director of Medical Device Technologies for the Astrobionics Program at the NASA Ames Research Center, and Principal Investigator for the NASA/Stanford National Center for Space Biological Technologies. This Center is charged with developing advanced medical devices to enable extended human spaceflight and instrumentation/payloads for biological experiments. Currently, he helps direct a variety of projects spanning wearable physiologic monitors, biosensor instruments for detection of chemical and biological warfare agents and space biology applications, and free-flyer experiment payloads. In 2003, the group carried out a series of balloon launches that took biological experiment payloads to altitudes as high as 107,000 ft. The NCSBT is currently working to launch the first autonomous radiation-genomics payload into low-Earth orbit at the end of 2005.
He is one of the founding faculty of Stanford's new Bioengineering Department and is leading the development of the year-long core curriculum for BioE graduate students. He has published extensively in technical literature, including authorship of an engineering textbook.
He is a long-standing member of the Defense Sciences Research Council (DARPA), and has served as Associate Chair and Chairman. In this capacity, he has led or co-led studies on a variety of topics from chemical and biological agent detection and decontamination, miniaturized biological instrumentation, jungle warfare technologies, and many others.
Dr. Kovacs also has extensive industry experience including co-founding and providing technical guidance for several companies, including Cepheid in Sunnyvale, CA, supplier of advanced instrumentation for clinical and research nucleic acid diagnostics. Through Northrup Grumman, Cepheid supplies the automated biothreat detection systems in use by the United States Postal Service.
He received an NSF Young Investigator Award, held the Noyce Family Chair, and was a Terman and then University Fellow at Stanford. He is presently the Thomas V. Jones Faculty Development Scholar at Stanford. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Kovacs is a private pilot, scuba diver, and a Fellow National of the Explorers Club.
He has considerable field experience, including a successful expedition to Palau in 2000 to locate and document downed WW II aircraft in various underwater and jungle locations. Later that year, he led a team of Stanford researchers with the U.S. Marine Corps at 29 Palms, CA, for a successful field test of a portable biological toxin detection system developed in his laboratory. Through the DSRC, he has also participated in numerous military activities.
He has been involved in hands-on field testing of NASA wearable physiologic monitors in high altitude conditions, with several field tests completed. He was a member of a NASA and National Geographic Society sponsored team that climbed Licancabur volcano (19,734 ft.) on the Chile/Bolivia border and did dive experiments in the summit lake in November of 2003, serving as medical, physiologic research, and photography lead. In March of 2004, he was Principal Investigator and participant in a series of zero-g physiologic studies aboard NASA's KC-135 microgravity research aircraft. In November 2004, he was medical, physiologic and safety lead for another expedition to Licancabur that included a detailed altitude adaptation study, sonar mapping of the summit crater lake, and underwater photography, of which he carried out the video portion.
In 2003, Dr. Kovacs served as the Investigation Scientist for the debris team of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, having worked for the first four months after the accident at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. In this role, he carried out physical, photographic, x-ray, chemical and other analyses on selected items from the nearly 90,000 pounds of recovered debris and worked toward understanding the nature of the accident. He has continued on with other aspects of the investigation, currently serving as Engineering/Medical Liaison on the Spacecraft Crew Survival Integration Investigation Team (SCSIIT) of the Johnson Space Center. The SCSIIT is investigating medical forensics and their relationship to vehicle events and seeks to improve crew survivability should future vehicle mishaps occur.
Between 2008 and 2011, Dr. Kovacs was on leave from Stanford University to serve as director of the Microsystems Technology Office at DARPA.
Department of Electrical Engineering
Center for Integrated Systems
CIS 202-X Mailcode: 4075
Stanford, CA 94305-4075