Dava is the Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA. She previously served as Deputy Administrator of NASA under the Obama administration, from May 2015 until January 2017.
Dava’s research has included space flight experiments, ground-based simulations and mathematical modeling. Some of her recent projects have focused on space suit design, dynamics and control of astronaut motion, mission analysis and engineering systems design, and policy analysis. Dava is perhaps best known for her work on the “Bio-Suit,” a space activity suit that provides pressure by tension in the suit’s textile weave instead of with pressurized gas, resulting in greater comfort and ease of movement for astronauts wearing the suit. She has published extensively and holds a Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering from MIT, M.S. degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy from MIT, and a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame.