Scientific Research Centers, Labs, and Programs
The Britton Lab, Brown University Medical School
The Britton Lab studies contemplative, affective, and clinical neuroscience. Under Willoughby Britton, PhD, the lab researches the effects of contemplative practices on cognitive, emotional, and physiological aspects of affective disturbances in the interest of the cultivation of greater well-being.
The Center for Engaged Compassion (CEC), Claremont Lincoln University
The Center for Engaged Compassion (CEC) teaches people how to form lives of wise, skillful, active compassion for the repair of the world. The Center teaches concrete, learnable practices, skills, and perspectives that give individuals, groups, communities, organizations, and event government the capabilities and sensibilities for creating genuine peace, healing, and reconciliation through the formation of engaged compassion. It also offers retreats, immersion experiences, contemplative prayer gatherings, research in neuroscience and contemplative practice, art festivals, storytelling events, scholarly conferences, reconciliation workshops, opportunities for community activism, and accredited courses, certificates, and degrees.
Center for Integrative Medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Health
The Center for Integrative Medicine is part of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, and oversees a collaboration of clinical, educational, community outreach, and research activities focusing on wellness and healing, including acupuncture, the arts, music, and the environment, communication and counseling skills, dietary supplements and herbal medicine, Healing Touch, massage therapy, mind-body, music, nutrition, stress management, tai chi and qi qong, and yoga.
Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM), led by Dr. Richard Davidson, conducts rigorous interdisciplinary research on healthy qualities of mind such as kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mindfulness. Scientists at CIHM represent an integrated team with a broad array of research methodologies from behavioral to neuroscientific. The center also engages in translational research and outreach with the goal of cultivating healthy qualities of mind and the individual, community and global levels.
Center for Mind and Brain, University of California-Davis
The research mission of the CMB includes investigation of a variety of fundamental issues aimed at answering the fundamental question: How does the mind arise from the biology of the brain? Scientists in the CMB study language, memory, attention, cognitive control, emotion, multisensory integration, music cognition, social cognition, and visual cognition from cognitive neuroscience and developmental perspectives in healthy infants, children, and adults, and in special patient populations. They are also a leader in the emerging field of translational cognitive neuroscience, which endeavors to translate basic science findings about the operation of healthy minds and brains into clinical research on mind-brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School
The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society is a visionary force and global leader in mind-body medicine. For thirty years, it has pioneered the integration of mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness-based approaches in mainstream medicine and healthcare through patient care, research, academic medical and professional education, and into the broader society through diverse outreach and public service initiatives. Directed by Saki F. Santorelli, EdD, since 2000 and founded in 1995 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, the Center is an outgrowth of the acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic – the oldest and largest academic medical center-based stress reduction program in the world.
Centre for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
The Centre leverages existing expertise at the Indian Institutes of engineering, mathematics, physics, and biology in order to create a vibrant, interdisciplinary group that addresses problems that are beyond the capabilities of individual investigators. The Centre recruits faculty across wide-ranging disciplines to establish a strong program in basic neuroscience. At the same time, it develops strong links with clinical centres in order to introduce elements of translational research.
Clinical Research, Education, Services, and Treatment (CREST) Program, University of Colorado Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Under the direction of Sona Dimidjian, PhD, the Center for Research, Evidence-Based, Services, and Training (CREST) program at the University of Colorado, Boulder focuses on developing, investigating, and providing evidence-based treatments to reduce problems that cause suffering in people’s lives and to promote sustained well-being. It focuses on the problem of depression generally and specifically on the mental health needs of women, with an emphasis on helping women and their loved ones navigate important transitions throughout the life cycle, including pregnancy and postpartum.
Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
The aim of the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL) under the direction of Dr. Emily Stern and Dr. David Silbersweig is to develop and apply new methods of imaging for the detection, localization, and characterization of final common pathways of major psychiatric disease expression, as a foundation for clinical advances. Functional and structural neuroimaging studies address schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, mood, personality, cognitive changes associated with chemotherapy, sex differences in brain function in health and disease, normal cognitive and emotional function, and methodological development. In addition, positron emission tomography (PET) is used to study specific pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disease. One focus of study in the FNL is contemplative neuroscience research, headed by junior faculty member, Dr. David R. Vago. Vago specifically investigates the neurocognitive processes, systems-based brain networks, and biological trait markers supporting mindfulness-based practices and other wisdom-based traditions of contemplative practice including forms of meditation and yoga-based practice. The FNL has multiple research initiatives in the contemplative neurosciences with an emphasis on clarifying adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric disorders.
Integrative Medicine Program, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
The mission of the Integrative Medicine Program is to engage patients with cancer and their families to become active partners in their own physical, psycho-spiritual, and social health through personalized evidence-based clinical care, exceptional research, and education to optimize health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes across the cancer continuum. Its research is focused on reducing the negative consequences of cancer diagnosis and treatment through studying the use of programs such as acupuncture and yoga to treat side effects and improve quality of life and by examining the use of plants and other natural compounds to treat cancer and cancer-related symptoms.
The Jha Lab, University of Miami
The Jha Lab, led by Amishi Jha, PhD, uses behavioral methods, event-related potentials, and functional MRI to investigate attention and working memory. It is particularly interested in understanding how attention and working memory systems work together to select and de-select information. In addition, the lab investigates how core selection processes may be modified with training (including mindfulness-based training techniques) and mental mode manipulations (including mood, self-focus, and creativity).
Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research (SNS Lab), Department of Economics, University of Zürich
Researchers at the SNS lab explore the biological mechanisms that underlie decision making by combining cutting-edge brain imaging technologies with non-invasive brain stimulation, neuropharmacology, and computational modeling. The lab is located in a custom-built section of the MR Centre at the University Hospital Zurich, and is equipped with research-dedicated facilities for fMRI, brain stimulation, behavioral measurements, EEG, and pharmacological manipulations.
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany
The Max Planck Institute for Brain Research is a fundamental research and scientific training institute focused on understanding the brain. Its scientific focus is on circuits, or networks of interacting parts-molecules in a neuron, neurons in a local circuit, and circuit-to-circuit communication. Experimental work at the Institute is carried out on non-primate animal species, in an interdisciplinary, interactive setting.
Neuropsychology, Emotion, and Memory Lab, University of Arizona Department of Psychology
The NEM Lab was founded by Dr. Alfred W. Kaszniak and is involved in the investigation of affective and cognitive functioning in healthy individuals and in persons with disorders of the central nervous system (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, focal brain injury). Neuropsychological, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging methodologies are utilized in this research.
Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
The PEP Lab studies people’s emotions, particularly their positive emotions. It is interested in how positive emotions affect people’s thinking patterns, social behavior, and physiological reactions. Its ultimate goal is to understand how positive emotions might accumulate and compound to transform people’s lives for the better. Its techniques include analyzing reactivity in people’s autonomic nervous systems and facial muscles. It also assesses the breadth of attention and cognition using various computerized reaction time tests, and asks people to report on their subjective experiences of emotions and emotion-related experiences using both on-line and retrospective techniques.
Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, Pennsylvania State University
The PRC focuses on longitudinal, developmental research on risk. Research conducted in the Center examines how communities can work together with families, schools, community groups, and industry to promote healthy lifestyles in children, youth, and families, and develops clinical trials of innovative models to promote competence and prevent maladaptive outcomes for children, families, and communities. It provides research seminars on prevention science for faculty and graduate students.
McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT is led by a team of world-renowned neuroscientists committed to meeting two great challenges of modern science: understanding how the brain works and discovering new ways to prevent or treat brain disorders.
Academic Centers and Initiatives
Contemplative Studies Initiative, Brown University
The Contemplative Studies Initiative, led by Harold Roth, PhD, is a group of Brown faculty with diverse academic specializations who are united around a common interest in studying the underlying philosophy, psychology, and phenomenology of contemplative experience across time, cultures and traditions. It has developed a multidisciplinary curriculum of courses in three major areas of Contemplative Studies: Sciences, Humanities, and the Creative Arts. Many of these courses follow the principles of Integrated Contemplative Pedagogy, a teaching method that combines traditional third-person academic approaches with critical first-person approaches.
Contemplative Clinical Practice Program, Smith College School for Social Work
The Contemplative Clinical Practice Certificate Program in spirituality and clinical social work practice considers the clinical relationship as a potential locus of the sacred. It deepens the clinician’s awareness of the sacred dimension of his or her work by exploring his or her own religious histories and spiritual practices, the clients’ spiritual beliefs and practices, and the clinical relationship itself. The program provides a framework for assessing religious and spiritual development and explores issues of ethics and social justice as they relate to spirituality.
Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies, Emory University Department of Religion
The mission of the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies (ECCS) is to explore contemplative practice and traditions through interdisciplinary dialogue across the sciences and humanities for the advancement of research, clinical practice and education. It represents a rich community of scholars with diverse backgrounds, with affiliations spanning Religion, Psychology, Psychiatry, Anthropology, Nursing and Public Health.
Institute of Tibetan Classics, Montreal, CA
The ITC is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation, revitalization and dissemination of classical Tibetan though, culture and literary heritage. Founded by Thupten Jinpa, PhD, the goal of the institute is to make knowledge and insights of classical Tibetan culture a truly shared global intellectual and spiritual resource open to all. Its principle project is the creation of the Library of Tibetan Classics (LoTC) designed to serve as a definitive reference library of key classical Tibetan texts within a manageable collection.
Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, University of Miami
The MRPI comprises numerous groups across the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus that are interested in research, practice, and/or education and training in mindfulness. This integration allows for the sharing of experience, expertise, and research findings to encourage and facilitate an appreciation for the benefits of mindfulness practices across the educational spectrum. The initiative is building towards becoming a clearinghouse for the collection, dissemination, and discussion of information on what is taking place in the area of mindfulness.
National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore, India
The current aims of NIAS are to integrate the findings of scholarship in the natural and social sciences as well as technology, the humanities and arts through multi-disciplinary research on the complex issues that face Indian and global society, and to assist in the creation of new leadership with broad horizons in all sectors of society by disseminating the conclusions of such research through appropriate publications and courses as well as through dialogues with leaders and the public.
Social Neuroscience Department, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
The Department of Social Neuroscience investigates human social behavior. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, it studies the neuronal, hormonal, and developmental foundations of human social cognition, social and moral emotions such as empathy and compassion, envy, revenge, fairness as well as emotion regulation capacities and their role in social decision-making and communication. It brings together scientists from a variety of social and natural sciences to investigate the influence of the environment on social behavior, the underlying cognitive processes sub-served by neuronal circuits and ultimately by neurotransmitters, hormones, and genes.
UVA Contemplative Sciences Center, University of Virginia
The UVA Contemplative Sciences Center has been established to foster dynamic partnerships of depth and breadth between humanistic scholars, medical and nursing practitioners, clinical researchers, neuroscientists, educational researchers, and contemplative practitioners such that our collective understanding, use, and extension of contemplative and yogic traditions becomes far greater than the traditional sum of our parts. At its root the Center is an innovative collaboration between the College, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Curry School of Education, as well as evolving partnerships with UVA’s other schools and units.
Research Sponsors, Education Groups, and Outreach Organizations
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Chicago, IL
CASEL’s mission is to establish social and emotional learning as an essential part of education. Its goals and objectives are to advance the science of social and emotional learning, expand integrated, evidence-based SEL practice, and strengthen the field and impact of SEL.
Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford School of Medicine
CCARE strives to create a community of scholars and researchers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, educators, and philosophical and contemplative thinkers around the study of compassion. Drawing from a variety of disciplines – such as etiological approaches that examine the evolutionary roots of compassion, to skills training programs for strengthening compassion, to neuroscientific studies of the brain mechanisms that support compassion as well as the ‘warm glow’ feelings that reinforce helping others – CCARE works to gain a deep understanding of compassion and its associated human behaviors in all its richness.
Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Northampton, MA
The ACMHE is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society – it promotes the emergence of a broad culture of contemplation in the academy by connecting a network of leading institutions and academics committed to the recovery and development of the contemplative dimension of teaching, learning and knowing. It stimulates scholarship and research, sponsors forums for the presentation of research and exchange of ideas, hosts one-week residential summer sessions for the development of courses and curricula, hosts retreats for academics, distributes work and general information through newsletters, and provides a variety of online resources.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Northampton, MA
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society transforms higher education by supporting and encouraging the use of contemplative/introspective practices and perspectives to create active learning and research environments that look deeply into experience and meaning for all in service of a more just and compassionate society.
Contemplative Teaching and Learning Field Development Program, Garrison Institute
The CTLFD program seeks to produce positive change in American public schools by promoting the development, testing, and use of contemplative or mindfulness-based approaches for teachers and students. It seeks to do this through research partnerships with scientists, educators, and other experts, advocacy, and dissemination of information.
The Fetzer Institute, Kalamazoo, MI
The Fetzer Institute is a private operating foundation established by John E. Fetzer, which uses its philanthropic resources to create programs that foster awareness of the power that love, forgiveness, and compassion can have in our world.
Greater Good Science Center, University of California-Berkeley
The GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: it not only sponsors groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, but also helps people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. It has been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior – the science of a meaningful life.
The Institute of Noetic Sciences, San Francisco, CA
The INS is a nonprofit research, education, and membership organization whose mission is supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, educational outreach, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential. The Institute’s primary program areas are consciousness and healing, extended human capacities, and emerging worldviews.
The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, Cambridge, MA
IMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and training of mental health professionals in the integration of mindfulness meditation and psychotherapy. Educational programs sponsored by IMP are designed to foster the investigation of mindfulness for enhancing the therapy relationship, clinical interventions, and the well-being of the therapist.
The Mind Science Foundation, San Antonio, TX
The MSF is dedicated to solving one of the major questions of modern science – the puzzle of human consciousness – by funding leading-edge research and educational programs focused on the mind, brain and human consciousness, in order to improve the human condition.
Mindful Awareness Research Center, University of California-Los Angeles
The mission of MARC is to foster mindful awareness across the lifespan through education and research to promote well-being and a more compassionate society. It offers classes and workshops to the general public, teaching the skills of mindfulness across the lifespan; fosters and publicizes research to support the scientific benefits of mindful awareness; brings mindfulness professionals through UCLA’s medical education program; offers mindfulness tools and classes to support mental health professionals; and brings mindfulness into pre-K through grade 12 education via teacher training programs and mindful awareness classes in the schools.
Mindfulness in Education Network
The MiEN sees mindfulness as an antidote to the growing stress, conflict and confusion in educational settings as well as an invaluable gift to give students. The purpose of the network is to facilitate communication among all educators, parents, students and any others interested in promoting contemplative practice (mindfulness) in educational settings. Members are invited to share ways in which they use mindfulness practice with students and teachers and how the practice enhances their role in educational settings.
Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, Santa Barbara, CA
The SBICS is dedicated to furthering interdisciplinary and cross-cultural investigation of the nature and potentials of consciousness and extending its benefit to the general public. The Institute’s research emphasizes the integration of scientific approaches with contemplative methods adhering to equally high standards, radically expanding the study of the mind to explore its potentials more fully than ever before.
Contemplative Workshop and Retreat Centers
Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, NY
Through innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit, Omega provides hope and healing for individuals and society.
Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
The Garrison Institute is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization exploring the intersection of contemplation and engaged action in the world. Its program initiatives create rigorous, innovative, contemplative-based tools and approaches to help teachers, caregivers, human service providers, environmentalists and others on the front lines of social and environmental engagement succeed. The mission of the Garrison Institute is to apply the transformative power of contemplation to today’s pressing social and environmental concerns, helping build a more compassionate, resilient future.
Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
IMS is a religious nonprofit organization. It offers meditation retreats rooted in the Theravada Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration and wisdom. All retreats provide instruction and practice in insight (Vipassana) and/or lovingkindness (metta) meditations.
Schechen is dedicated to the preservation and continuation of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual and cultural heritage. In particular, its emphasis is on the Nyingma lineage of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
The Spirit Rock Medication Center is a spiritual education and training institution dedicated to the teachings of the Buddha as presented in the Vipassana tradition.
Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, NM
Upaya Zen Center is a Zen Buddhist practice, service, and training center. Its vision focuses on the integration of practice and social action, bringing together wisdom and compassion. Its mission is to provide a context for community practice, education in Buddhism and social service in the areas of death and dying, prison work, the environment, women’s rights, and peacework.
EarthRise, San Francisco, CA
EarthRise is situated on the campus of the Institute for Noetic Sciences and is a semi-rural retreat center offering a variety of programs and multi-day group retreats.
Thanyapura Mind Centre, Phuket, Thailand
The Thanyapura Mind Centre offers a year-round calendar of classes, retreats and conferences, customized for a wide variety of audiences, including beginners, experienced practitioners, individuals, families, and corporate groups. Dedicated to being a leader in bringing ancient contemplative practices together with rigorous modern scientific methods, the Centre has partnered with several major universities in conducting research programs on location at Thanyapura.