Christina Birch
NASA portrait, 2021
Born
Christina Marie Birch

(1986-11-17) November 17, 1986 (age 37)
EducationUniversity of Arizona (BS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS, PhD)
Space career
NASA astronaut
SelectionNASA Group 23 (2021)
Scientific career
FieldsBiological engineering
ThesisIdentification of Malaria Parasite-Infected Red Blood Cell Aptamers by Inertial Microfluidics SELEX (2015)
Doctoral advisorJacquin Niles

Christina Marie Birch (born November 17, 1986) is an American professional racing cyclist and NASA astronaut candidate.

Early life and career

Birch grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics. Birch began cycling with the MIT cycling team while working on her PhD. While at MIT she won the 2014 USA Cycling collegiate cyclocross division two national championship. Birch also represented the JAM Fund cyclocross team from 2011-2015.[1]

After earning a doctorate in biological engineering from MIT in 2015, Birch moved to Southern California to pursue track cycling full time. She taught bioengineering at the University of California, Riverside, and scientific writing and communication at the California Institute of Technology. On the track, Birch has represented the US at multiple Pan American Championships, World Cups, and World Championships. She competed at the 2018 and 2019 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, and the 2019 Pan American Games.

Birch was named to the US track cycling 2020 Olympics long team for the USA in June 2020.[2]

Astronaut candidacy

On December 6, 2021, Birch was formally announced as a NASA astronaut candidate with NASA Astronaut Group 23.[3]

Major results

2014
National Cyclocross Championships
1st Collegiate Division Two[4]
2015
National Track Championships
2nd Madison
2016
National Track Championships
1st Individual pursuit
2nd Madison
2nd Points race
2017
National Track Championships
1st Individual pursuit
1st Team pursuit
2nd Madison
2nd Points race
2018
Pan American Track Championships
1st Team pursuit
2nd Madison
National Track Championships
1st Team pursuit
1st Madison
2nd Points race
3rd Omnium
2019
Pan American Track Championships
2nd Team pursuit
National Track Championships
2nd Madison
3rd Points race
2nd Omnium

Personal life

She is a partner of a racing cyclist Ashton Lambie.[5]

References

  1. ^ "Christina Birch's Race History at crossresults.com". www.crossresults.com.
  2. ^ "Olympic Long Team Announced for Mountain Bike, Road, &…". USA Cycling.
  3. ^ Margetta, Robert (December 6, 2021). "NASA Selects New Astronaut Recruits to Train for Future Missions". NASA.
  4. ^ "The Official Website - USA Cycling". legacy.usacycling.org.
  5. ^ "This pro track cyclist is going to be an astronaut". CyclingTips. December 7, 2021. Retrieved February 10, 2022.