Categories: Weekly Space Hangout

Weekly Space Hangout: September 30, 2020, Dr. John Kiss Discusses the Growth of Plants in Space

This week, we welcome Dr. John Kiss from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG). Tonight, Dr. Kiss will be discussing the sensory physiology of plants in space research, including the effect of Mars’ levels of gravity on plant development.

John Z. Kiss is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNCG, and his academic appointment is as Professor of Biology. He served as Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Mississippi from 2012-16. John was on the faculty of Miami University (1993-2012) where he was a University Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Botany Department. He has been an instructor in 15 different courses ranging from introductory biology for first year students to advanced graduate courses. He also has mentored 57 independent research projects by undergraduates and has served as major professor for 14 M.S. students, 8 doctoral students, and 7 post-doctoral scholars.

John’s research focuses on the gravitational and space biology of plants, and he has published 112 peer-reviewed papers. He also has been invited to present seminars based on his research at universities throughout the US and in another 12 countries. He served as PI on grants from NASA, USDA, NSF, and the NIH (career total = $6.0 million) as well as PI on eight spaceflight experiments on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. In 2014, he received the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal “for exceptional contributions in spaceflight research in the fundamental biology of plants in support of NASA’s exploration mission.”

John was President of the Midwestern Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists (2001-02) and the American Society of Gravitational and Space Biology (2003-04). He has major editorial activities including currently serving as an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Botany and as a former Editor for Advances in Space Research. Most recently, John has served as the President of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (2015-16).

John has presented numerous TedX and NASA TV talks which are available here.

You can read more about John’s research in the Spring 2018 issue of To Boldly Grow and in the UNCG article announcing John’s receipt of a NASA Honor Award.

You can learn more about John by visiting his UNCG website and be sure to follow John on Twitter and on Linked In.

Remembering Paranor001

This week we were heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of one of our long-time and cherished friends, Paranor001. Paranor was one of the hardest working members of our community, much of which was done “behind the scenes.” He produced numerous CosmoQuest Twitch streams, simulcasted the WSH, Virtual Star Parties, Astronomy Cast, and Open Space streams on CosmoQuest’s Twitch channel, he was a mod-extraordinair (often leaving many of us to wonder how he could react so quickly,) and his wit was unparalleled. He was always there to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.

Everyone at the Weekly Space Hangout Crew and CosmoQuest miss Paranoor – may he Rest in Power.

If anyone would like to leave a message of condolence for Paranor’s family or make a donation in his memory, information is available on the White Family Funeral Home website.


Fraser Cain (Website: Universe Today ; Twitter: @fcain)

Moiya McTier (Website: Moiya McTier ; Podcast: Explore ; Twitter: @GoAstroMo ; Instagram: @goastromo)

Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (Website: Morgan Rehnberg ; Twitter: @MorganRehnberg)

Pamela Hoffman (Website: ; Twitter: @EverydaySpacer)


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Nancy Graziano

Nancy Graziano is a technical writer with 30 years writing experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, and currently resides in New Jersey.

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