As Director, Strategic Resource Planning, Dr. Volker D. Kern oversees Paragon’s enterprise resource planning and corporate strategic forecasting with focus on labor talent requirements across the entire corporation, matrixed skillset demands and allocation, analytical digestion of tool outputs and information, and resulting facilities requirements/expansion needs.
Prior to this position, since May 2007, Dr. Kern served as Senior Director of Programs/Director of Human Spaceflight Programs overseeing all of Paragon’s internal and external programs.
For over 30 years, Dr. Kern has been engaged in international human spaceflight and space-based research studying the effects of microgravity exposure on higher basidiomycetes, fungi, and mosses. Serving as Co-Principal Investigator on four Space Shuttle flight experiments, Dr. Kern led international research teams and managed day-to day activities related to experiment preparation and readiness, flight hardware design and testing, flight crew training, and operations during and post-flight.
At NASA field centers, Dr. Kern managed six international Space Shuttle payloads encompassing microgravity research on bacteria, higher plants, rats, and mice. In addition, Dr. Kern served as NASA Ames Research Center’s liaison to the development team designing the European Space Agency’s European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS), successfully deployed to the International Space Station. Between 2003 and 2005, Dr. Kern served as Enterprise Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, serving as NASA’s interface to the scientific community for plant research and microbial/cell biology in the Fundamental Space Biology program.
Dr. Kern holds a Ph.D. in Plant Gravitational Biology from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and a M.S. in Plant Physiology from the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg, Germany. Dr. Kern is the author of 30+ peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals and edited two volumes for Advances in Space Research. In 2004, Dr. Kern was awarded the NASA Public Service Medal.