National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Nathan Morgan Peck

Nathan Morgan PeckGonzaga University
Spokane, WA
B.S. in Biology, Philosophy minor ‘13

NASA Academy Research Project

  • Photocatalysts for Mild Decomposition of Organic Raw Materials

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. Aloysius F. Hepp
  • Dr. Michael J. Kulis

Aberdeen, WA


If there is one thing that defines my character and my beliefs, it is how passionate I am about such a huge number of things. This is not a trait that came to me in any sort of epiphany, but has grown with me as I have grown. One of my biggest passions is for learning. Though science is my biggest interest, since being in college I have also studied philosophy, art, political science, economics, and anything else I have had time for. Learning allows us to become the best people we are capable of being. Gaining an understanding of the world allows us to take control of our lives and realize how much we are capable of doing with them.

Though it likely sounds cheesy, I am often amazed at just how much the world has to offer us. A quote that has always resonated strongly with me is one by Sylvia Plath, “What do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited”. Though I usually feel more optimistic than this quote comes off, I think the idea that there is much more in the world than any person can ever experience or learn is a true and significant one. This idea has inspired me to take every opportunity, to make my own opportunities when none seem to exist, and to fill as much of my life with the things I am passionate about as I can.

Education/Professional Goals

For the last three years I have been attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. I have been working toward a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a concentration in research and a minor in Philosophy. My career goal has always been to attend medical school and become a physician. I want to spend part of my life working as a general health care provider and part of my life doing work for NASA that revolves are human health issues in space.


There are two jobs I have held that have been most significant to my career goals. The first is a research position I held at Gonzaga for two semesters. The goal of the project I was on was to determine the biosynthetic pathway of the cofactor rhodoquinone in a certain strain of bacteria. Armed with this knowledge, we hope it will then be possible to develop a drug that inhibits the biosynthesis of rhodoquinone in parasites who also use the cofactor rhodoquinone in their metabolic functions. This drug could then be used to fight parasitic infections.

The second job I have held was with Soweto Kayole Primary Health Care Project in Nairobi, Kenya. I spent four months during the fall of 2011 working at a medical clinic in an area outside of Nairobi. I performed various functions such as running medical tests, taking vital signs of patients, and helping with community food distributions.


My two main hobbies are rock climbing and traveling. I grew up back packing and camping throughout western Washington and so when I arrived at a college with a strong rock climbing community, making the transition to rock climbing was a pretty natural one. I generally go climbing twice a week. My other main hobby, traveling, has played an even larger role in my life. I have been to twenty-six countries: seven with my parents, nineteen on my own, with my brothers, or with friends. The traveling I have done is connected strongly to my philosophy and my personality. There is so much I want to do, and see, and experience, that I have done whatever I can to create the opportunities that I want to have.