Contact: Jerry Berg
Media Relations Department
(256) 544-0034

RELEASE: 00-142

Helen Stinson, of the Technology Transfer Department at
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has
been inducted into the U.S. Space Foundation’s Space
Technology Hall of Fame.

Stinson, program manager for Marshall’s Small Business
Innovation Research program, was honored earlier this month at
the 16th Annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Six individuals, including Stinson, were cited for their joint work
in developing light-emitting diode (LED) technology for use in
medical procedures. Her fellow inductees included Dr. Harry
Whelan, pediatric neurologist for the Milwaukee-based
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; Ron and Judy Ignatius of
Quantum Devices Inc., in Barneveld, Wis.; Dr. Raymond Bula,
retired director for the Wisconsin Center for Space Automation
and Robotics in Madison, Wis.; and Vita Cevenini of NASA’s
Strategic Enterprise Policy and Program Integration Division.

Since 1988, the Hall of Fame recognition has gone to those who
have adapted the most innovative, beneficial commercial
products from technology initially developed for the space

The first successful implementation of the light-emitting diode
research uses tiny, pinhead-sized LEDs to illuminate drugs
injected into cancerous tissue within the brain. The LEDs
destroy the cancer by activating “photosensitizers,”
light-sensitive, tumor-fighting drugs. Unlike other procedures,
cancerous cells are destroyed but surrounding tissues remain
virtually untouched.

The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin successfully performed the
procedure twice in 1999.

The research was funded by a Small Business Innovation
Research contract between the Marshall Center and Quantum
Devices, which develops LEDs for commercial plant growth
investigations on the Space Shuttle.

Marshall’s Technology Transfer Department and Quantum
Devices began the LED project in 1995. They continue to adapt
the technology, and are developing wound-healing applications
for use in long-term space flight, military operations and civilian
medical care.

A 17-year NASA veteran, Stinson’s tenure at Marshall has
included engineering roles in the Structural Analysis division of
the Structures and Dynamics Laboratory, where she assisted in
the development and analysis of the Space Shuttle Main
Engine’s alternate turbopump and Spacelab payloads.

Stinson, who holds a materials engineering degree from the
University of Alabama in Birmingham, has earned numerous
NASA awards, including the Exceptional Service Medal. She
serves as executive vice president of the Marshall Engineers
and Scientists Association, and as vice president of the
Huntsville chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.