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USF professor resurfaces after living underwater for 100 days

 Man wearing a snorkel smiling in the water
Brock Communications
USF researcher Joseph Dituri smiles on June 9, 2023, as he resurfaces in Key Largo after setting a world record for living underwater.

Joseph Dituri said his goal was to work on projects related to PTSD, traumatic brain injury and brain traumas, as well as inspire other scholars.

A USF professor who broke the world record for the longest time living underwater is back on dry land.

Joseph Dituri resurfaced Friday morning in Key Largo after living underwater for 100 days, according to a press release. He had been living in a 100-square-foot lab at Jules' Undersea Lodge, 22 feet below the surface.

Nicknamed “Dr. Deep Sea,” Dituri broke the record for the longest time living underwater without depressurization on May 13. He was 73 days into his 100-day underwater mission, dubbed Project Neptune 100.

Dituri said in the release that his goal was to work on projects related to PTSD, traumatic brain injury and brain traumas, as well as inspire other scholars.

“To explore anything new always results in personal and professional discoveries,” Dituri said in the release. “This experience has changed me in important ways, and my greatest hope is that I have inspired a new generation of explorers and researchers to push past all boundaries.”

During his mission, Dituri researched how the body and mind reacts to being in an isolated, confined and extreme environment for a long period of time, according to the release. As it turned out, preliminary findings show that his cholesterol and inflammatory markers dropped while underwater, and he slept more consistently in REM sleep. He even shrunk half an inch.

Despite the conditions, Dituri wasn’t completely alone. He was visited by more than 60 people, according to the release, including students, scientists and his family. As an associate professor at USF, he also taught a biomedical engineering course from undersea.

Dituri now plans to share his findings and research at the World Extreme Medical Conference in November, according to the release.

Man smiling in a selfie while in an underwater habitat with a man and woman in the background, in the water and wearing scuba gear
Brock Communications
Joseph Dituri smiles as he get a visit from his mother and brother on Day 81 of his time living underwater Ditiri resurfaced in Key Largo on June 9, 2023, after living 100 days in the underwater habitat.

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