STEM-Talk: Dr. Michael Leon on the power of olfaction enrichment to ameliorate dementia symptoms

What if the path to delaying the onset of dementia symptoms begins at the nose? It is a doorway that the research of Dr. Michael Leon opened with a 2023 study on the power of olfaction enrichment to influence memory function and brain health. The findings attracted wide interest by finding that stimulation of our sense of smell with essential oils had a profound impact on memory, cognition, and language recall. Our conversation with Leon on STEM-Talk Episode 164 is available now on the STEM-Talk webpage as well as popular podcast platforms. Olfaction can be considered a kind of “canary… Read More

IHMC hosts Dynamic Walking Conference in May 2024 drawing robotics experts from across the world

In late May, IHMC will host the 20th annual Dynamic Walking Conference, a premier gathering of engineers and roboticists working in the realm of robotics. The conference, set for May 27-30 at Pensacola Beach, includes experts and researchers in biomechanics, human and animal locomotion, prosthetics and orthotics, robot design and control, wearable robotics, and exoskeletons. It is one of several gatherings of subject-matter experts IHMC is part of each year. It has been six years since IHMC previously hosted the conference, which rotates between the United States and Europe. The 2023 conference was hosted in Munich by DLR, the German… Read More

Dr. Tom Jones Evening Lecture on March 15 includes book signing by Bodacious Bookstore

It’s been some 12 years since the Space Shuttles retired, but the lessons America learned from its signature space program still reverberate. What we know how to do well today in space, we learned on the shuttle. Those lessons are the foundation of work on the International Space Station and plans to return to the Moon. Nobody knows that better than Dr. Tom Jones. Jones spent 53 days living and working in space. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he is an author, pilot, and speaker whose career includes 11 years at NASA. He flew on four Space… Read More

STEM-Talk: Mark Mattson on the brain’s most important neurotransmitter

The Godfather of Intermittent Fasting is back on STEM-Talk. Dr. Mark Mattson is back for a third appearance on STEM-Talk. His first two interviews focused on the many ways that fasting optimizes healthspan and lifespan. This time we shift gears to talk about Mattson’s work on glutamate following the publication of his new book, “Sculptor and Destroyer: Tales of Glutamate – The Brain’s Most Important Neurotransmitter.” The episode is available now on our website and wherever you listen to podcasts. More than 90 percent of the neurons in the brain deploy the little-known molecule glutamate as their neurotransmitter. Glutamate also… Read More

IHMC Newsletter highlights human-machine teaming research and more

The latest edition of IHMC’s newsletter is now available, highlighting the work of our incredibly talented team. Among the features in this issue is the work of Senior Research Scientist Dr. Matt Johnson, one of IHMC’s leaders in the human-machine teaming, working on technologies that can be applied in domains including disaster response, space applications, aviation, and military operations. Johnson’s research into making human-machine teams more flexible, resilient, and effective also falls under this umbrella. Projects such as those Johnson is currently leading include using virtually reality, simulations and other tools to build training platforms to improve collaboration between humans… Read More

STEM-Talk: Marc Hamilton on the metabolic power behind the soleus push-up

Dr. Marc Hamilton has published pioneering work on the soleus push-up, a potent physiological method with the ability to elevate metabolism for hours, even while sitting. Hamilton is well-known for a string of papers beginning in early 2000’s that found excessive sitting should be viewed as a serious health hazard. In Episode 161 of STEM-Talk, available now on all podcast platforms, Hamilton shares his scientific evolution during a conversation with IHMC’s founder Dr. Ken Ford and Dr. Marcas Bamman, IHMC’s Director of Healthspan, Resilience, and Performance Research. Hamilton is a a professor of Health and Human Performance at the University… Read More

Science Saturdays welcome students with new sessions in 2024

Science Saturdays are back and ready to turn on new scientific minds in 2024. These 90-minute educational enrichment sessions are a cornerstone piece of community outreach at Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Topics in 2024 will include balloon cars, secret codes, genetics, the science of design, and more. The sessions are free to the families who attend, thanks to the support of community partners. Science Saturdays is entering its 16th year, and in the 2022-2023 school, more than 300 students attended the series, said Dr. Ursula Schwuttke, director of educational outreach for IHMC. “Science Saturdays is one… Read More

Evening Lecture series kicks off 2024 highlighting power of Internet of Things

You used the Internet of Things (IoT) today even if you didn’t realize it. The GPS mapping tools that guided your commute, the traffic cameras that alerted you to a traffic delay or nabbed a red-light-runner, the smart-home devices that locked your front door, turned off the lights, and told you the weather — all are part of the IoT. It’s likely that any errand you ran this week used these networked sensors to communicate and share data as part of a wide array of everyday things that exchange information, sense the environment, and act upon the environment. The data… Read More

STEM-Talk: Sten Stray-Gundersen on blood-flow restriction training and cardiovascular exercise physiology

This episode of STEM-Talk has a generational twist. Dr. Sten Stray-Gundersen is our guest on Episode 161 which is now available on all podcast platforms and on our website. The conversation covers Sten’s research on blood-flow restriction training and cardiovascular exercise physiology. It’s a subject that Sten’s father, the late Jim Stray-Gundersen, pioneered in the United States. Jim was our guest on Episode 34 of STEM-Talk. Sten is a post-doctoral research associate at the University of South Carolina and is an adjunct instructor at the university’s Arnold School of Public Health. Prior to his position at South Carolina, Sten was… Read More

STEM-Talk: Euan Ashley on precision medicine’s potential to predict, prevent and diagnose diseases

STEM-Talk episode 160 featuring a conversation with a pioneer in the use of genomic sequencing is now available on IHMC’s website, podcast apps and YouTube. Dr. Euan Ashley is a professor of cardiology and genetics at Stanford University in California who is developing new technologies to solve some of the most puzzling medical mysteries that people face today. He is helping pioneer medical genomics, as well as the precision medicine that it will enable, that has the potential to predict, prevent, and diagnose many common (and uncommon) diseases. In today’s interview, Dr. Ken Ford and his co-host Dr. Dawn Kernagis… Read More

IHMC earns HIRE Vets award for commitment to hiring veterans

U.S. Acting Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su recognized the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition as a recipient of the 2023 HIRE Vets Medallion Award during a virtual award ceremony on Nov. 8, 2023. The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act) Medallion Program is the only federal award program that recognizes employers who successfully recruit, hire, and retain veterans. IHMC also won the award in 2021. IHMC joins a select group of companies and organizations across the country recognized for hiring veterans and providing them with career opportunities that take advantage… Read More

STEM-Talk: An “Ask Me Anything” episode that covers AI, therapeutic ketosis, and more

STEM-Talk covers a wide array of topics, but there is a theme that our podcast returns to often — the role that mentorship plays in the lives of our guests. And our hosts. Episode 159 of STEM-Talk — an “Ask Me Anything” episode where listeners ask Ken and Dawn to weigh in on a number of topics — brought up the question from a listener for Dr. Ken Ford, host and IHMC’s founder and CEO, about the mentors who have most profoundly influenced him. The episode is available now on podcast apps, YouTube and on IHMC’s website. Dozens of STEM-Talk… Read More

New research complex making impact on downtown Pensacola skyline

The summer has seen marked progress on a new research complex that will expand the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Pensacola campus. In June, the project marked a milestone, “topping out” the planned $40 million Healthspan, Resilience, and Performance Research Complex (HRP). “Topping out” is a builders’ rite traditionally held when the last beam (or its equivalent) is placed atop a structure during its construction. Work on the HRP has progressed steadily since the ceremonial groundbreaking in February 2023. The building is expected to be complete in spring 2024, said Phillip Turner, IHMC’s director of architectural and… Read More

STEM-Talk: Judith Curry on the uncertainties of climate change

Dr. Judith Curry wants more people to appreciate the large uncertainties associated with climate science. It’s why Curry has worked to fight “groupthink” in science, advocate for transparency and engage critics. It is her way of keeping the conversation focused on the nuance that is a critical component of science and scientific discussion. Her appearance on Episode 158 of STEM-Talk, available now on podcast apps, YouTube and on IHMC’s website, reflects this. Curry is president of the Climate Forecast Application Network and the host of the blog, Climate Etc. She also is Professor Emerita of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at… Read More

STEM-Talk: Don Layman on the role of dietary protein in muscle, health, and disease

Few people know more about muscle development than Dr. Donald Layman. As the world’s foremost authority on dietary protein and amino acids, he is known for his extensive research on muscle development and his studies of metabolic regulation for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Layman’s interview with STEM-Talk co-hosts Drs. Ken Ford and Marcas Bamman is now available on IHMC’s website and YouTube as well as in popular podcast apps. “I think everyone knows that our body has a lot of protein in it,” Layman says. “What people don’t realize is we have a constant process of turnover. Every protein… Read More

Fall Evening Lecture Series kicks off with expert in autonomous ocean robotics

Nic Radford wants us to love ocean exploration the way we romanticize space exploration. He knows whereof he speaks. Radford is an engineer, roboticist, inventor, and entrepreneur who spent 14 years at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center’s Dexterous Robotics Laboratory at NASA in Houston. He now is founder, president, and CEO of Nauticus Robotics Inc., a company that creates and deploys autonomous marine robotic systems. He launched the Fall 2023 Evening Lecture season at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) with the talk, “From Outer Space to Inner Space: Developing Robots for Final Frontiers,” on Sept. 20…. Read More

STEM-Talk: Dr. Josh Hagen on performance lessons from athletes, warfighters

Baseball may be America’s pastime, but it also is a data scientist’s dream.  Dr. Josh Hagen, director of the Human Performance Collaborative at Ohio State University, learned firsthand how deep the data mining well can go when it comes to tracking baseball player performance.   Hagen, who appears on Episode 156 of the STEM-Talk podcast, was part of a longitudinal study of changes in a baseball player’s maximal strength as a result of resistance training. The study focused on the impact the exercise had on total home runs per game across three years of training in four competitive seasons for four… Read More

Back-to-school means back to Science Saturdays at IHMC

The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is where Gabriela Sullivan’s passion for science education flourished.   This fall, she’s coming back to share it with the next generation.  As a high schooler, Sullivan was a regular volunteer at IHMC’s Science Saturdays STEM enrichment program for students in grades 3 through 6. She remembers being in awe of the researchers and teachers who could encourage and inspire a room full of young minds.  “Their ability to convey complex concepts in a way that was both understandable and exciting fascinated me,” she said. “It made me want a career that involved… Read More

Robotics Camp fires students’ STEM excitement through hands-on learning

This summer, the ordinarily quiet classrooms of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition’s Pensacola and Ocala campuses became engineering playgrounds as part of 2023 Summer Robotics Camp. Over the course of four, one-week sessions, 66 middle and high schoolers got these hands-on experiences and more designing their own LEGO robots, learning the basics of computer programming, and interacting with researchers. “We are reaching out to the next generation of scientists, helping them to discover what their future might look like,” said Dr. Ursula Schwuttke, IHMC’s Director of Educational Outreach. Any future in STEM requires strong teamwork and problem-solving… Read More

STEM-Talk: Dr. Chris McCurdy on kratom and pain management

What if the roots of a secret to treating chronic pain has lain for centuries in the tree leaves of a Southeast Asian evergreen? Dr. Chris McCurdy has spent the last 15 years of his career researching that question, with a focus on the medical efficacy of kratom and its alkaloids. Now, he’s back on STEM-Talk after five years to share what he and his lab at the University of Florida have learned since his 2018 interview on episode 61. McCurdy and his lab received two major grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to investigate kratom and its… Read More