Angela Harrivel


Dr. Harrivel is excited to be contributing to NASA’s Human Research Program as the Center Lead for Exploration Medical Capability Element (across multiple projects) activities at the NASA Langley Research Center. She is a Biomedical Engineer, with additional background in optics, space and microgravity flight experiments, software validation testing, and machine learning. She previously served as Team Lead for Human Performance and Monitoring within the Crew Systems and Aviation Operations Branch (CSAOB), completed a five-month-long detail as Acting Branch Head of CSAOB in the fall of 2020, and completed a four-month-long detail as Acting Chief Engineer for Intelligent Flight Systems within the Research Directorate in the spring of 2022. Also, she began in February 2021 a three-year term as the alternate member for Human Behavior and Performance on NASA’s agency Institutional Review Board.

Angela earned her MS in Physics in 1996, with a thesis focused on fiber-optic sensors. She was honored to be selected as the Distinguished Alumnus for 2017 by the John Carroll University Physics Department.

She earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 2014, where she was a Rackham Merit Fellow. This included directed research within the Medical School’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, involving the conduction of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) measurements on live cells to support studies of the catalytic cycle of the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP). Her dissertation work involved developing a novel artifact removal method and improving dynamic time series data filtering methods for functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). She demonstrated for the first time the detection of anti-correlated functional brain networks (attentional and default mode) using fNIRS in a dual fNIRS-fMRI human subject study. She combined the fNIRS signals with machine learning algorithms to classify attentional state toward the passive detection of cognitive state decrement and the optimization of functional performance. Her advisers were Prof. Douglas Noll, Co-Director of the fMRI Laboratory/Professor in Radiology and Biomedical Engineering/BME Dept. chair, and Dr. Scott Peltier, an expert in state classification and the fMRI Laboratory Manager. She is an original member of the Society for fNIRS, and presented her work as an Invited Speaker for OSA’s Frontiers in Optics 2017 meeting in the Biomedical Optics in Scattering Media session.

Prior to 2007, she worked as an optical engineer on a wide variety of microgravity space flight experiment projects, including leading and conducting simulated microgravity flight experiments, as either the team or optical discipline lead. She came to NASA in 1999 with three years of experience in industry as a software engineer, supporting software validation and thermo-luminescent dosimetry product development, for the Radiation Measurements Division of Keithley Instruments in Solon, Ohio. While there, she passed the Project Management Institute certification exam.

More recently, she was the Technical Lead for a Commercial Aviation Safety Team safety enhancement entitled “Training for Attention Management” which included psychophysiological crew state monitoring research. This team earned a NASA Langley Group Achievement Award in 2017. Also, she oversaw the development of a prototype Frequency Domain fNIRS device using waveguide modulation, and the development of simulation capability to enable Human Monitoring for Human Autonomy Teaming and dynamic function allocation studies.

Angela holds three patents, is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Sensor Systems and Information Fusion Technical Committee, has provided review for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK) and multiple journals, and serves on the Editorial Board of Cognitive Neuroergonomics as Review Editor for the journal Frontiers in Neuroergonomics.

Angela is originally from Ohio but is happy to be living in Virginia. Outside of work, she is a Community Emergency Response Team member and a HAM radio operator at the Extra level. Angela also enjoys practicing and performing jazz, tap, aerial and acrobatic dance.

Selected Publications

  1. Harrivel, A., Blattnig, S., Norman, R., Simonsen, L. (2021, July 25-29). Planned Investigations to Address Acute Central Nervous System Effects of Space Radiation Exposure with Human Performance Data, AHFE 2021, Manhattan, NY. (won one of three “Best Paper” awards in the Neuroergonomics & Cognitive Engineering track)
  2. Harrivel, A., Lake, R., Mosher, T., Nagel, C., Levin, D., Daiker, R., & Maddock, S. (2021, February 3). MedID: Accomplishments and Lessons Learned from the Evolution of MedID, Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, virtual event.
  3. Napoli, N., Demas, M., Stephens, C., Kennedy, K., Harrivel, A., Barnes, L., & Pope, A. (2020). Activation Complexity: A Cognitive Impairment Tool for Characterizing Neuro-isolation. Scientific Reports, 10, 3909.
  4. Terwilliger, P., Sarle, J., Walker, S., Harrivel, A. (2021, May 5-7). A ResNet Autoencoder Approach for Time Series Classification of Cognitive State. MODSIM World 2020, Paper No. 0053, Norfolk, VA.
  5. Harrivel, A., Comstock, J., Prinzel, L., Stephens, C., Kennedy, K., and Pope, A. (2020) CAST SE211 Training for Attention Management Final Report. NASA-TM-2020-TBD.
  6. Harrivel, A., Weissman, D., Noll, D., Huppert, T. and Peltier, S. (2016) Dynamic filtering improves attentional state prediction with fNIRS. Biomed. Opt. Express. 7:3. 979-1002. doi: 10.1364/BOE.7.000979
  7. Harrivel, A., Weissman, D., Noll, D., and Peltier, S. (2013) Monitoring attentional state with fNIRS. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:861. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00861.
    Special topic: “Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in functional research of prefrontal cortex.” NASA case # LAR-18549-1, NASA Tech Briefs article May 2016
  8. Myers J, Stauber L, Weaver A, McKay T, Harrivel A, and Hepp (2013) Bioscience and Medical Technology: From the Earth to Space and Back. J. Aerosp. Eng. 26(2):451-458.
    Special issue: Seventy Years of Aerospace Research and Technology Excellence at NASA Glenn Research Center
  9. Mackey, J., Harrivel, A., Adamovsky, G., Lewandowski, B., Gotti, D., Tin, P., Floyd, B. (2013) Effects of varying gravity levels on fNIRS headgear performance and signal recovery. AIAA Infotech@Aerospace 2013 Conference, Human-Machine Interface, Crew Decision Making session, August 19-22, 2013, Boston, MA



2017 – Distinguished Alumnus, John Carroll University Physics Department

2008 – Proudly mentored the Summer Intern Team of the Year

2006-2007 – University of Michigan Rackham Merit Fellow

1994 – Lawrence J. Monville Award as the outstanding Senior Physics major

1994 – Clare Boothe Luce Scholar

1993 – Joseph L. Hunter Award as the outstanding Junior Physics Major