Dr Dawn Kernagis

Dr. Dawn Kernagis is a biomedical researcher and has been a diver (including cave, technical and free diving) since 1993. Dawn is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), where she is developing new ways to optimise performance and resilience for humans operating in extreme environments, such as undersea divers, high altitude aviators, and astronauts.

Dawn completed her PhD at Duke University, where her research was focused on the genetics of decompression stress in divers. She has been the recipient of multiple research awards from the Office of Naval Research, the American Heart Association and the PADI Foundation for her research on decompression stress, CNS oxygen toxicity, novel treatment approaches for acute brain injury and diver health outcomes in scuba divers.  Dawn has also worked with numerous diving biomedical projects at Duke, DAN, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden on immersion and diving physiology.

Dawn has been a diver and leader with numerous underwater exploration, research, and conservation projects around the world since 1993, including the deep underwater exploration of Wakulla Springs and surrounding caves for over a decade. Based on her extensive underwater exploration, mentorship, and research experience in the diving community, she was selected as an inductee into the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Class of 2016. Dawn was also selected as one of six crew members to join NASA’s 21st undersea mission, NEEMO, in 2016.


Dawn Kernagis - DNA Sequencing - hear Dawn at OZTek2019 Advanced Diving Conference


Dawn at NASA's NEEMO mission - hear Dawn at OZTek2019 Advanced Diving Conference


Dawn Kernagis - genetics of decompression stress - hear Dawn at OZTek2019 Advanced Diving Conference