November 2015

Robert Satcher, MD, PhD

Orthopaedic Oncology Surgeon, Astronaut and Engineer

Robert L. Satcher, Jr., MD, PhD is recognized for his varied career interests and notable successes. Born September 22, 1965 in Hampton, Virginia, he graduated from Denmark-Olar High School in Denmark, South Carolina in 1982; earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1986, a PhD in chemical engineering in 1993 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1994.

Satcher served as an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and adjunct professor in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He was accepted into the astronaut candidate training program by NASA and in 2009 made his first trip to space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, during which he completed two spacewalks.

In 2011, he returned to clinical practice at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. His work at M.D. Anderson includes a Global Oncology project, with plans to build a Cancer Center in sub-Saharan Africa. He received an AT&T grant to extend M.D. Anderson’s specialized surgical expertise to rural and underserved communities. Satcher co-founded the Telehealth Research Institute, a collaborative endeavor between Rice University, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and M.D. Anderson, to create a consortium of physicians with academic and industry researchers to improve access to specialized health care by pairing the latest in research and technology for the remote delivery of medical services.

He is a member of several organizations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, Doctors United in Medical Missions, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He has provided services to Big Brother for the Youth at Risk Counseling Program; National Society of Black Engineers; and underserved areas, including Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Gabon. Dr. Satcher has two children.