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John  Medina

John Medina

Brain Scientist


Wherever the very latest neuroscience intersects with real-world challenges facing the workplace, classroom, homelife or healthcare, and our everyday lives, you’ll find energizing insights from brain scientist John Medina. His client-customized presentations, based on his own research and the findings of others share a common takeaway: How to optimize the performance of the performance of the human brain by improving practices, interactions and environments. Whether you’re looking to maximize productivity, enhance creativity and innovation, improve learning and engagement, design brain-healthy spaces, make better hiring choices, or understand teenage behavior, Dr. Medina unlocks solutions and explains the fascinating inner-workings of the human brain with his trademark humor and enthusiasm. Read More >

Acknowledged as one of the most engaging and crowd-pleasing speakers in the world of neuroscience, Dr. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine (Department of Bioengineering). His research interests focus on the genes behind brain development and psychiatric conditions. He was the Founding Director of the Talaris Research Institute, studying how infants encode and process information at the cognitive, cellular and molecular level. 

Dr. Medina spent most of his professional life as an analytical research consultant, working primarily in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries on research related to mental health. These interests – and the ability to speak about them in plain English – span the entire range of the human experience, traceable by the 10 books he’s written. These include: early childhood (Brain Rules for Baby), adolescence (Attack of the Teenage Brain) and post-secondary life/adulthood (Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving at Work, Home and School). Many have been celebrated as standard handbooks for understanding the brain and optimizing its performance. One of them, the New York Times bestselling Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving at Work, Home and School, has been translated into more than 20 languages and selected as a textbook at numerous universities. His latest book, Brain Rules for Aging Well, describes how to keep the organ sharp and fit as we get older. 

Dr. Medina has recently expanded his professional interests into the corporate world, from tech business practice to architecture and healthcare. He regularly speaks on topics ranging from increasing management effectiveness to designing creative brain-friendly office buildings, from unconscious bias and sexual harassment training to how to give non-boring presentations.

Partnering with the Seattle-based Venture Worxs organization, Dr. Medina regularly speaks on topics speculating what the future of work will look like if evidence-based practices - rooted in the cognitive neurosciences - are taken seriously in workplace design.

He and his team work collaboratively with clients to understand his audiences and tailor his presentations to fit specific interests and challenges. Dr. Medina’s high-energy keynotes consistently receive high ratings and resounding applause. As one corporate chair praised “He was the talk of the conference – a rare combination of brilliance and engaging presentation style." Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Brain Rules

Nobody's Born Sexist Teaser Video

Brain Rule #1 - Exercise

Education & Parenting

How Making Friends, Nostalgia, and Loneliness Affects the Brain

As Close to Mind reading as Brain Science Gets

The Brain and Learning

Introduction to Brain Rules for Aging Well

Introduction to the Brain Rules Books

How Exercise Boosts Brain Power

Speech Topics

Nobody is Born Sexist: Neuroscience Answers Why The Change

Sexism and sexual harassment are behaviors moderated by the brain. Sexual harassment training without neuroscience at its core is inadequate and ultimately ineffective. Read More >

Perhaps that’s why we continue to hear heart-wrenching stories from women and men who have experienced sexism, gender bias, or hostile work environments.

These repeated headlines—and his firsthand experiences with audiences around the country—inspired Dr. John Medina to take on sexist behavior with two goals in mind: In-fill inadequate sexual harassment training with evidence-based research from the cognitive sciences and harness the power of prophylactic education to put both issues and remedies on more solid scientific footing.

In the Nobody’s Born Sexist series, Dr. Medina examines the evolutionary and neurobiological roots of sexism and sexist behavior, providing data-driven strategies for eliminating it and birthing a better 21st century workplace.

Dr. Medina’s lectures reveal:
• The root causes of gender biases
• Why sexism causes a toxic work environment
• Brain science vs. the Boys’ Club
• The age-old relationship between sex and power
• Using cognitive neuroscience to crack the glass ceiling
• How to amplify empathy and dramatically reduce sexist behavior
• Specific examples and strategies tailored to your workplace and to those who hire, fire, and promote in your organization

Filled with fascinating facts and riveting research, Dr. Medina takes audiences into the human brain and our evolutionary hard-wiring to better understand this pervasive workplace issue.

No opinions. No finger pointing. Just scientific facts, help, and hope. Read Less ^

Returning to the Office is Hard Work. Here’s How to Make It Easier

How do we successfully transition from working mostly at home to working mostly at the office? A few key insights from the behavioral sciences can make the transition remarkably easy - all without losing productivity. This practical-as-potatoes lecture describes those insights, with topics ranging from change resistance and social awkwardness, to dealing with grief and loss. The bottom line? The human brain doesn’t like transitions, but becomes remarkably good at them if certain behavioral principles are obeyed. This presentation, delivered by one of the most engaging and crowd-pleasing speakers in the world of neuroscience, will share what those principles are.

The Science of Distance Learning

What are the most effective designs for distance learning in this COVID-19 world? Researchers know. The most successful methods utilize findings from the behavioral and cognitive neurosciences as their guiding design elements. In this practical-as-potatoes lecture, we discuss those elements, and the underlying research behind their designs. When you’re finished listening, you'll be able to construct your own strategies for developing distance learning in the coming school year. Read More >

Available as both a single keynote and two-hour workshop formats. Read Less ^

The Adolescent Brain: Attack of the Teenage Brain: Teaching the Adolescent Learner

Eye rolling. Moodiness. Wandering Attention. And of course, the drama. Teens can be hard to parent and even harder to teach. Here’s the good news: It’s not you. It’s not them. It’s their brains. In this enlightening and entertaining keynote, neuroscientist Dr. John Medina explores the neurological and evolutionary factors that drive teen behavior and affect both achievement and engagement. Then, he proposes a research-based counterattack: a bold redesign of educational practices and learning environments to deliberately develop teens’ cognitive capacity. Dr. Medina provides essential information and strategies for parents, educators, policy makers and anyone who wants to truly understand teenagers. This fascinating presentation will change the way you think about adolescent behavior—and leave you with neuroscience-backed, practical information to help teens thrive and succeed.

The Learning Brain: Essential Neuroscience for Educators

Our understanding of how the brain process information grows every week—data increasingly relevant to both classroom practices and the future of education. Dr. Medina examines the latest neuroscience and provides research-based recommendations for optimizing learning and engagement. From the case for integrating more exercise into the school day to the challenge of capturing the attention of young minds born into a digital age, Dr. Medina’s highly customizable presentations show you how to leverage brain science to overcome any challenge and optimize teaching and learning.

The Aging Brain: How to Keep Your Brain Sharp After 50: Brain Rules for Aging Well

How come I can never find my keys? Why don't I sleep as well as I used to? Why do my friends keep repeating the same stories? What can I do to keep my brain sharp? With so many discoveries in recent years, science is literally changing our minds about the optimal care and feeding of the brain. Drawing from his latest book, Brain Rules for Aging Well, developmental molecular biologist Dr. John Medina gives you the facts while simplifying the science. With his dynamic presence and humorously engaging style, Dr. Medina provides a prescription for aging well that anyone—at any age—can turn into an action plan. He focuses on four aspects of brain health: the social brain, the thinking brain, the body, and the ways one can change the future. You’ll learn how emotions change with age, how memory is affected by the passing of time, and steps you can take to slow down the symptoms of aging. You’ll walk away with tangible brain rules that will literally change the way you age and put you on the path to optimal brain health.

The Executive Brain: The Brains Behind Leadership & Business Success

Is there an essential factor behind productive teams? Does exercise really power brain function and productivity? Can brain science improve your sales and enliven your customer journey? Yes. Yes. Yes. Dr. Medina takes you from the primal beginnings that formed the human brain to how our brains constantly re-wire themselves in an ever-shifting digital world. Focuses within his highly customizable presentations include: The Collective Brain (building effective teams), The Productive Brain, The Innovating Brain, The Marketing Brain, The Presenting Brain, and The Exercising Brain. All with leave you with actionable ways to positively impact your organization by optimizing brain performance and audience/customer engagement.

The Workspace Brain: The Neuroscience Behind Creative, Productive Workspace Design

Can brain science-based office design give companies an edge in the competition for employees and the quest for new ideas and innovation? Dr. John Medina’s research has drawn a strong and definite connection—one that companies like Amazon, Google and Samsung are incorporating into their latest work spaces. For the past four years, Dr. Medina has worked to reimagine the workplace with award-winning architecture firm NBBJ, designer of Amazon’s Spheres, a new glass-enclosed workspace that contains more than 40,000 plants, a rushing brook and waterfalls to help its 800 workers relax, think more creatively and be at their best. In this cutting edge presentation, Dr. Medina explores how design affects human biology and experience, and how we can maximize comfort and productivity by creating spaces with all five senses in mind. Sharing examples such as Amazon’s Spheres, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus, Samsung’s North American Headquarters and Tencent’s headquarters in China, Dr. Medina highlights how designing for our brains and all five senses is creating the standard for the workspaces of the future.

The Biased Brain: The Brains Behind Unconscious Bias

From racial issues in the social sphere to sexism in the work place, unconscious biases have been getting a lot of press lately. Is there brain science behind these behaviors? Recent findings suggest the answer is yes. In this illuminating talk, Dr. Medina explores the behaviors behind unconscious biases and their underlying neurobiology. He also unlocks the secrets to reducing biases—revealing habit-breaking evidence-based interventions that have been proven over the long term.

The Future Brain: From Team-Building to A.I.: The Future of Work

The Parenting Brain: Evidence-Based Parenting Practice: Ages 0 – 5

The Controlling Brain: The Fragile Gift of Promoting Someone: What Power Does to the Human Brain

The Presenting Brain: How to Give a Talk that Won’t Put People to Sleep