Nikhil Vadhavkar

Expertise: Exploration science, Aerospace medicine, UAVs
Affiliation: MIT
Certification/Education: BS, Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins
MS, Engineering Management, Johns Hopkins
Pursuing PhD in Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, Bioastronautics concentration

BASALT Research Objectives

Validate planetary exploration hardware.  Utilize planning algorithms to maximize scientific return.  Assist the UAV team.


Nikhil is doing his PhD at MIT under the auspises of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) Bioastronautics training program, where he works in the Man-Vehicle Laboratory with advisor Dava Newman.  Nikhil has interned at Johnson Space Center to research occupant protection on the Orion capsule, as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to model the effects of galacitic cosmic radiation on cells.  He has recently been awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship to investigate advanced life support systems.

Nikhil and his colleagues have also received a Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges grant to study the feasibility of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for vaccine delivery in developing nations, and has designed, built, and tested UAVs and worked with private industry and nonprofit organizations.

Nikhil is also a graduate resident tutor in Baker House, where he works with undergraduates in the MIT community.