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Neuroprotection Researcher

Dr. Dawn Kernagis

Dr. Dawn Kernagis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of North Carolina.


Dr. Kernagis studies ways to protect the brain and nervous system for people working in extreme environments (altitude, undersea, space) and patients undergoing clinical procedures.

Prior to UNC, Dawn developed and led the Human Performance Research Program at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Dawn completed her Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at Duke University, where she was an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow and funded by the Office of Naval Research. She completed her Ph.D. as ONR Undersea Medicine’s first Predoctoral Award recipient. As a graduate student, Dawn also assisted with numerous DoD and NASA-funded projects focused on extreme environmental physiology.

In 2016, Dawn was selected as a crew member of the NASA NEEMO XXI undersea mission. Based on her background in underwater exploration and diving medicine research, Dawn was inducted as a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and as a Fellow of the Explorers Club.

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