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Astronaut candidate's profile

The candidates participating in the astronaut selection process all have unique journeys and outstanding qualities and skills. You can read their remarkable profiles here.

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Cullen, Jay Thomas

Jay Thomas Cullen

Where were you born?
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Where do you currently live?
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


  • Bachelor's, biology – McGill University
  • Ph.D., chemical oceanography – Rutgers University

Photo of the astronaut candidate during the aptitude tests. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

What is your current job?

Professor of Chemical Oceanography, University of Victoria - I study the chemistry of metals in seawater that can be nutrients or toxins for microscopic plants in the ocean. The work is important for understanding climate change, the health of Canada's fisheries and the effects of pollution on our oceans. Ocean research expeditions have taken me all over the world. I've worked on everything from a powerful icebreaker in the freezing Canadian Arctic to a small sailboat in the tropical Indian Ocean. I enjoy teaching and mentoring students at UVic and communicating results of my research to the public to promote science literacy.

Why do you want to become an astronaut?

My motivation to become a member of the Canadian astronaut corps extends naturally from factors that drive me to excel as a professor: the thrill of exploration and discovery, my belief in the application of the scientific method as a way of knowing about our universe, and the need to improve public science literacy. Space exploration undoubtedly fosters the most optimistic and noble aspects of human character. That we can improve the lives of Canadians and others through this endeavour further motivates me to become an astronaut in order to contribute my skills, abilities and mettle.

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