She was born on December 4, 1945, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She holds a BS in zoology and agriculture from the University of Guelph (1968), an MS in experimental pathology from the University of Western Ontario (1971), a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Toronto (1974), an MD from McMaster University (1977), and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in neurology (1981).
She began her astronaut training in 1984, and in 1990 was designated a prime Payload Specialist for the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission (IML-1). Dr. Bondar flew on the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery during Mission STS-42, January 22-30, 1992, during which she performed experiments in the Spacelab.
Dr. Bondar left the Canadian Space Agency in 1992 to pursue her research. She is currently chancellor of Trent University.