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Dóra Babócs, a resident of SZTE, achieved unique successes in the field of space surgery

Dóra Babócs, a resident of SZTE, achieved unique successes in the field of space surgery

2023. July 26.
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During the past six months, Dóra Babócs, a surgical resident at the University of Szeged, has contributed to 17 scientific works: she presented at an American space research conference and was asked to be a co-author in the space surgery chapter of a textbook. From August, the 27-year-old talent from the University of Szeged will continue her career in Houston.

— I presented one of our space surgery researches in New Orleans, at the world's largest space medicine conference. It is very difficult to get an abstract accepted for this conference due to the large oversubscription and high professional requirements, which is why it was a great honor that our work was recognized. I was among the potential finalists in several international and American space medicine and space surgery awards this year, so next year I will be waiting for the announcement of the results with even greater excitement — Dóra Babócs told us. The surgical resident of the University of Szeged investigated with her international research team what surgical pathologies and problems might occur during a long-term space journey, for example on a Mars mission, what a trained space surgeon needs to know, what innovations are needed to make deep space travel safer. — The planned duration of a Mars mission is 3 years in the dangerous, uninhabitable environment of outer space. Surgical expertise will certainly be needed, and it is important to prepare properly — Dóra Babócs explained the basis of her research.


In October 2023, at the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) organized by the International Astronautical Federation, she will present 5 more space surgery research works.


This is not the first time that the talent from Szeged has spoken about their research. At the Semmelweis International Vascular Symposium in Budapest, she presented another important part of their work: the vascular surgery aspects of long-term space travel, endovascular and robot-assisted surgery provided possible solutions on board the spacecraft. — I was very excited because this time I was able to present our space-related research at an "earthly" surgery conference — said Dóra Babócs. Thanks to her research topic, she was also noticed in America, and one of the jury members of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) Annual Meeting invited her to co-author a chapter of a space medicine textbook published by Elsevier, on the subject of space surgery.


In addition to being a resident of the Surgery Clinic of the University of Szeged, Dóra is also a student at The Open University in England, where she also studies astrophysics, majoring in astronomy and planetary sciences, so that she not only knows everything about the human body but also about the environment that surrounds her in space. In addition, she is training to be an innovative nutrition and space health specialist at UniSpace, which is a Hungarian consortium for the launch of three-semester interdisciplinary specialized continuing education programs in space science, with the membership of 17 universities, including the University of Szeged. She writes her dissertation on urgent vascular surgery solutions for long-duration space travel, in which she is assisted by her mentors, a top vascular surgery specialist of the Mayo Clinic, and the doctors of the SZTE Institute of Aviation Medicine.


She recently completed the training of the ESA (European Space Agency), which is organized annually and for which only 25 doctors from the whole world are selected. Here, among other things, she learned about exactly how astronauts are prepared for a spacewalk, heard about the dangers of cosmic radiation, and talked to ESA astronauts about their experiences so far.


The young talent contributes to the management's work as the European and Hungarian representative of two major world organizations dealing with space research and helps the local and international community. She is the European representative of AMSRO (Aerospace Medicine Student and Resident Organization). It is one of the largest organizations in the field of aviation and space medicine, providing a forum for representatives of various specialties to share their experiences. Its members provide professional support to international agencies in areas such as aeronautical and space medical standards, aging pilots, and the physiological stressors of flight.


As the Hungarian representative of the Space Generation Advisory Council, she also strives to do something for the space research community. The organization supports the United Nations Space Program. Its purpose is to introduce the views of students and young space professionals to the United Nations, the space industry, and other organizations.


The goal of the researcher from Szeged is to popularize space sciences among young people. She mentored startups related to space research as an expert at Budapest Design Terminal. Recently, at an event at the Karolina High School in Szeged, she told the children that they should dare to dream big because the future is theirs. And in July, she was invited to be a speaker at the Hungarian Astronautical Society's space camp for high school students in Dabas.


— I'm moving to America in August — Dóra Babócs shared the latest news with us. She recently received an invitation from the University of Texas Health Science Center to continue her surgical career there. The institution's many research projects with NASA also played a role in her decision.


— My mentors and co-authors played a key role in my success. I could not have achieved all of this without their guidance. I am very grateful to them and the inspiring environment that surrounds me.

Photos by Anna Bobkó