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Distinguished Exercise Scientist Joins IHMC

Dr. Marcas Bamman is an internationally recognized researcher known for his scientific contributions to the biology of human skeletal muscle and medical rehabilitation. He is the founder and former director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine.

Bamman and the UAB center are recognized as world leaders in the biological mechanisms underlying exercise-induced adaptations and their clinical utility in disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. He joins IHMC as a Senior Research Scientist and will become part of a biologically-motivated team that IHMC founder and CEO Ken Ford has been forming for the past several years.

Since its founding in 1990, IHMC has primarily conducted advanced research in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics. The past few years, however, Ford has been building a research team focused on health span, resilience and performance. IHMC is particularly focused on innovative ways to extend the capabilities and resilience of high-performing humans such as astronauts, fighter pilots, and elite special operators.

“Marcas has become known worldwide for his work in understanding the molecular responses to exercise and how they relate to health and performance,” said Ford. “His research is highly valued by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, NASA and other agencies around the nation. He will be a wonderful colleague.”

Bamman is often featured in national media on how exercise-induced health benefits can impact disease prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. A 2011 clinical trial of his attracted considerable national attention for showing how men and women in their 60s and 70s who began supervised weight training could develop muscles that were as large and strong as those of the average 35-40-year-old.

“In the later stages of my academic career, I became more and more interested in defense-related research and ways to maximize the performance and resilience of warfighters and special forces,” said Bamman. “IHMC is obviously one of the nation’s top leading-edge research institutes that I came to know quite well after giving a talk there.”

That talk led to a couple of collaborations with the institute and IHMC’s Chief Science Officer Tim Broderick.

“I really appreciate the leadership, vision and mode of operations at IHMC, all of which are centered on research impact,” said Bamman. “The research at the institute is highly innovative and will translate to important consequences and scientific advances. IHMC’s current human performance and resilience research is certainly strong but is just the tip of the iceberg with an exciting future ahead.”

One of the first projects Bamman will work on at IHMC is a DARPA-sponsored program aimed at developing a revolutionary platform to enhance training and resilience of elite service members. Called the Peerless Operator Biologic Aptitude project, it is being developed to increase the biologic aptitude of warfighters in an effort to increase their adaptability and resilience.

IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System where researchers pioneer technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities. For more information, visit ihmc.us.