Dr. John Florian currently serves as the Scientific Director for the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) in Panama City, Florida where he serves as the most senior technical civilian at the command, leading a critical unmanned and manned science and technology program to expand the U.S. military’s advantage in undersea and extreme environments.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Florian served as NEDU Warfighter Human Performance (WHP) Division Head, where he led a long-term, strategic line of research designed to enable warfighters in extreme environments to meet current and future operational requirements for the U.S. Navy and joint services. WHP research includes a diverse group of expert Ph.D. and M.D. investigators, engineers, graduate students, experienced laboratory technicians, military divers, Navy corpsmen and interns, focused on diving in extreme environments – whether hypobaric, normobaric, or diving/hyperbaric – with the current focus in the areas of human performance and resilience, thermoregulation, diving physiology, oxygen toxicity, and biometric monitoring. His pioneering work has led to the finding of whole-body oxygen toxicity during hyperoxic dives and efforts to mitigate its adverse effects, as well as provision of thermophysiological requirements for cold-water diving operations. Dr. Florian’s work has resulted in the publication of over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, technical reports, and abstracts.
Detailed to the Pentagon in 2018, Dr. Florian served the Chief of Naval Operations and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation where he facilitated a better link between resource sponsors, requirements, future capabilities, and transition of novel research deliverables to support the Fleet.
Prior to joining NEDU in 2008, Dr. Florian led efforts at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (NAMRL) to research the effects of altitude and hypoxia on physiological and cognitive function. In parallel, he evaluated physiological sensors for cockpit use to mitigate hypoxia-related mishaps. His work at NAMRL was preceded by multinational efforts for National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency to understand the adverse effects of microgravity and caloric restriction on physiological function of astronauts during spaceflight missions.
In 2007, Dr. Florian earned a Ph.D. in Integrative Human Physiology with a minor in Gerontology from the Pennsylvania State University, and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the Florida State University in 2002. Dr. Florian completed the Naval Sea Systems Command Journey Level Leadership Program in 2018 and is currently a participant in the Department of Navy Bridging the Gap Leadership Program. Dr. Florian also holds a Department of Defense Science & Technology Management Level III Acquisition Certification, Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System certification, a private pilot license, and diving certification.
Dr. Florian was the Department of Navy recipient of the prestigious federal government Arthur Flemming award in 2019 and a Meritorious Unit Commendation in 2013. He is a member of the American Physiological Society, American College of Sports Medicine, and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.
He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Science Department at the Florida State University, and serves as the U.S. Maritime Co-lead for The Technical Cooperation Program with the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.