Esther Putman.jpg


  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2018
  • University of Kentucky, Biology and Neuroscience, '19
  • Host Institution: Vulcan
  • Mentor: Kris Lehnhardt

Esther Putman is a student in the BS/MD Accelerated pre-med program at the University of Kentucky, studying Biology and Neuroscience. After a summer astronomy program in high school, she knew right away that she wanted to pursue a career studying our species' exploration beyond Earth.

She began to explore this passion as an intern with Space Tango, a commercial company facilitating research on the International Space Station. As a Biomedical Research and Design Intern, Esther completes experiment planning, validation testing, toxicology reporting, and helps in the creation of cube labs for experimentation in low Earth orbit. Space Tango focuses on discovery of solutions in space for applications on Earth.

She also completed a summer in NASA Ames’s 2017 Space Life Sciences Training Program, conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Blaber. She explored bone marrow stem cell differentiation after exposure to spaceflight stressors. During this time, she also collaborated on a team coordinating nationwide stratospheric weather balloon launches carrying bacterial samples during the August 2017 Solar Eclipse. These samples were used to study potentials for microbial survivability in a Martian analog environment.

If she’s not in the lab or staring at the sky, Esther can be found playing piano or performing with the University of Kentucky Dance Ensemble. She is thrilled to spend a summer working with Vulcan, exploring how space technology can be used through a myriad of platforms for advancement in our society. 

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Esther will spend the summer of 2018 interning at Vulcan.