Our Team

The ad astra vita project founder – Dr Rowena Christiansen

Dr Rowena Christiansen
MB BS, BA Hons, LLB, MEmergHealth, MBA, DCH, GradDipEd, GradDipDisasterMed, ACCAM, GradCertDisasterMed, GradCertSpaceStudies, FAsMA, ISU SH-SSP16

On patrol checking a very hypothermic casualty

Dr Rowena Christiansen is proud to be the founder of the ad astra vita space life sciences website and consultancy. She has had a lifelong passionate interest in astronomy and space exploration. Rowena has established this initiative in the context of the entrepreneurial emphasis of the new Australian Space Agency, and hopes that showcasing Australian capability in the space life sciences will raise awareness both locally and internationally, and lead to more linkages and partnerships. The small but diverse consultancy team offers a multi-dimensional capability to contribute to space life sciences projects, education and outreach.

At the ISU SH-SSP16 “United Nations” debate
representing the Kingdom of Norway

Rowena herself has a diverse background. After a first career as as a lawyer, management consultant, and small business owner/operator, she qualified as a physician, and works as a small group facilitator and assessor in the Melbourne Medical School teaching human physiology and clinical practice skills, and as a pre-hospital emergency doctor. She is a Fellow of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne. Rowena has undertaken post-graduate training in emergency medicine and critical care, women and children’s health, aviation medicine and space studies, disaster health, and emergency management. She pursues special interests in aerospace medicine, extreme environments and wilderness medicine, and is currently undertaking research related to expeditionary medicine.

Working as a pre-hospital emergency response doctor

In particular, Rowena is passionate about space medicine education, outreach, and research, and mentors medical students interested in space medicine. She was the Dux of the International Space University Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program in 2016, and is proud to be the recipient of the 2019-20 Aeromedical Society of Australasia Professional Development Scholarship to assist her attendance at the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) Annual Scientific Meeting. Rowena served two years as the Chair of the AsMA Associate Fellows Group (2018-2020). In mid-2020 she was very proud to be elected as a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association. Rowena was honoured to be selected for the 2021 European Space Agency virtual Space Physician Training Course.

Her voluntary memberships include the Space Life Sciences Committee of the Australasian Society for Aerospace Medicine, and Executive Committee positions within the Space Medicine Association, the AsMA Space Surgery group, and the Aerospace Physiology Society. Rowena is a Director of the Mars Society Australia, Chair of the Australian Ski Patrol Association Medical Advisory Committee, a volunteer ski patroller, a member representative on the Australian Resuscitation Council, and inaugural Treasurer for the Australasian Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Society.

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Rowena supported the public health response in educational (the “SURGE Project”) and community organisation advisory roles. She is a member of the Group for Earth Observations Health Community of Practice COVID-19 working group, and has participated in research on COVID-19 and seasonality.

Rowena is an amateur musician, chorister and percussionist, and time permitting, enjoys building space-themed LEGO pieces. She also enjoys photography, cooking Indian food, and learning about languages and culture.

%d bloggers like this: