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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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Koehle, Michael

Michael Koehle

Where were you born?
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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


  • Bachelor's, life sciences – Queen's University
  • Master's, physiology – University of Toronto
  • Doctorate, medicine – University of Toronto
  • Ph.D., exercise physiology – University of British Columbia
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, environmental physiology – Simon Fraser University

What is your current job?

Physician-Scientist and Associate Professor, practising Sport and Exercise Medicine – Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of British Columbia / Director of the Environmental Physiology Laboratory – University of British Columbia - My job is a mix of research, teaching and clinical medicine. Our research group's main research area is studying the human adaptation to different environments.

Why do you want to become an astronaut?

I think being an astronaut is the ultimate mix of challenge, adventure, scientific discovery and service to your country.

What motivated you to study in your field?

I have always been fascinated by physiology, which is the study of how the body works. I have been especially intrigued by how the human body adapts to different challenges, such as exercise, altitude, temperature, pollution, and space travel of course. Both medicine and environmental physiology satisfy this curiosity.

Think back to a teacher who had a positive impact on your life. What did she/he do to influence you?

That would be Colin Lowndes, a former English teacher. Colin was the director of the theatre company at my high school. He trusted me to take the role of production manager of this large student theatre company, probably before I was ready to take it on. I did not have strong leadership skills at that time. However, Colin patiently mentored me, and this was a formative experience that made a major impact on who I am today.

What do you like best about your job?

I think it would have to be the challenge and variety of my job. Every day is different: seeing patients one day, working in the lab the next, and then teaching a class the day after that. With so much on the go, it can be busy or stressful at times, but not boring.

Which living person do you most admire? OR Who are your heroes in real life?

I think my hero would be William Osler. He was an influential Canadian physician who changed the way physicians are trained worldwide. He came up with the concepts of interns and journal clubs, two of the most important components of physician training today. He was also outspoken about the limits of medical knowledge and the importance of the patient, attitudes that remain relevant today.

What is your favourite sci-fi movie?

I grew up loving the original Star Wars films. However, my favourite science fiction film of recent times would have to be The Martian.

What is your motto?

The best things in life… aren't things.

What is the best career advice you've ever received?

What is your most treasured possession?

What is your favourite place on Earth?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

What is your favourite book?

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