Dec. 2, 2020

Jack Feldman- The science and rhythm of breath

Jack Feldman- The science and rhythm of breath

Jack Feldman is a Brooklyn, NY native with his PhD in Physics and is a Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology at UCLA.  According to my friend and previous guest Andrew Huberman “Jack is the world leader in all things breathing” so who better to talk to about this amazing gift of breath than Jack.

Jack discovered an area in the brain stem that is responsible for the rhythm of breath which he named the pre-Botzinger complex.  He is a world leader into the discovery of the answer to this simple question…“How is the very basic rhythm of breathing generated?”

In this episode we explore Jacks journey to answer this simple sounding question and he shares a lot of valuable information and insights into how our respiration impacts our health and optimal performance….including how the breath prepares the body for exercise before it even begins…why HIIT works…and very interesting findings with episodic hypoxia training.

I really enjoyed talking with Jack and I hope you find value in our conversation.  Thanks as always for tuning in and supporting the show!

Topics covered:

  • the physics journey of space and time
  • pivot to study the breath
  • physiology of breath
  • how is the very basic rhythm of breath generated
  • pre botzinger complex
  • sync of fireflies in nature like our breath neural activation
  • evolutionary look at breath
  • embryology and breath
  • anatomy of breath
  • exercise activate active expiration oscillator
  • HRV and how variance required for optimal health
  • breathing rhythm found throughout entire brain
  • lab mantra “you can’t do anything interesting if you’re afraid of failing”
  • time scale of breath and learning
  • sleep apnea science and treatment
  • power of napping and mindfulness on our health
  • breathing and emotion research
  • how breathing can interrupt depression patterns
  • the importance of oscillations in communication across the brain
  • respiratory rate variance is key
  • cellular respiration
  • why HIIT is effective
  • the performance benefits of episodic hypoxia

Find Jack:


Google scholar

Andrew Huberman and Jack Feldman convo on instagram

This was a live recorded conversation all about the neuroscience of breathing, its relationship to emotion, depression, opioids, and a lot more. Thank you Jack for joining me for this very stimulating and informative conversation!

5 min audio from BBC interview on how the name of pre-Botzinger complex came about

Jack FeldmanProfile Photo

Jack Feldman

Neuroscientist and Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology at UCLA

Jack L. Feldman is an American neuroscientist and Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a world leader in understanding how human respiration works. His research contributions include elucidating the mechanisms underlying breathing and sighing. He discovered and named the pre-Bötzinger complex, an area in the brain stem that is responsible for controlling breathing. He was the recipient of the Hodgkin–Huxley–Katz Prize from the Physiological Society in 2017.