Varela Awardees

Below is a list of all Varela awardees and their projects sorted by year.

2013 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Eileen Cardillo
University of Pennsylvania
Neural mechanisms of self-transcendence: Insights from non-invasive brain stimulation

Rachel Jacobs
University of Illinois at Chicago
Mindfulness Intervention to study the Neurobiology of Depression (MIND)

Emily Lindsay
Carnegie Mellon University
Mechanisms of mindfulness and stress resilience: A mobile app mindfulness training study

Lisa May
University of Oregon
Does meditation cause pain relief through endogenous opioids?

John Plass
Northwestern University
Neural dynamics of attention and meta-attention during meditation

Chivon Powers and Laura Schmalzl
University of California – Davis; University of California – San Diego
What is it about Yoga? Isolating the effect of structured movement sequences on cognition, interoception, and stress markers

Sean Pritchard
Fielding Graduate University
Mindfulness and beyond: A qualitative study of advanced Mahasi meditators’ experience

Kathrine Shepherd
Kent State University
Examining the relationship of meditation experience to the neural correlates of spontaneous emotion regulation

Sarah Short
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The effects of contemplative training on brain structure and function in 6-year-old children

Elizaveta Solomonova
University of Montreal
Embodied dreaming and procedural memory consolidation following daytime nap in Vipassana meditators and non-meditating controls: a neurophenomenological study

Fadel Zeidan
Wake Forest School of Medicine
The role of endogenous opioidergic systems in mindfulness meditation-related pain relief

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2012 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Dev Ashish
University of Arizona
Self-compassion and the need of self-preservation

Aviva Berkovich-Ohana
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Exploring mindfulness induced state and trait alterations in ‘self’ networks – combined fMRI-MEG neurophenomenological study

Karen Bluth
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Exploring the impact of a mindfulness intervention on adolescents’ self-compassion and emotional well-being

Nathan Fisher and Christopher Kaplan
Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School
The varieties of contemplative experience

Kieran Fox
University of British Columbia
Neural basis of spontaneous thought

Michael Goldstein
University of Arizona
Yogic breathing for insomnia in older adults: A randomized controlled trial and preliminary investigation of psychophysiological mechanisms

Elizabeth Goodman
PGSP – Stanford Psy. D. Consortium
A controlled study of compassion cultivation training for resident burnout

Robert Goodman
Virginia Commonwealth University
The effect of MBSR on episodic and prospective memory function in aging adults

Monika Lohani
Brandeis University
A longitudinal training study to delineate the specific causal effects of open monitoring versus focused attention techniques on emotional regulation skills

Marina Lopez-Sola
University of Colorado
Neural effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in remitted patients with chronic history of depression

Hans Melo
University of Toronto
Making the right choice: Combining neuroimaging, computational modeling, and first-person report methodologies to unveil neural mechanisms of human flourishing

Jordan Quaglia
Virginia Commonwealth University
From intra- to inter-personal: Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on emotion regulation in social contexts

Xioadan Yan
Massachusetts General Hospital
Intrinsic neural characteristics predict the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training on fear extinction and stress reduction

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2011 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Kate Brennan
University of Oxford
Investigating the effects of loving kindness meditation on interpersonal stress generation in chronically depressed patients

Paul Condon
Northeastern University
Compassion- and Mindfulness-Based meditation: Nurturing pro-social behavior and social networks

Jessica Creery
Northwestern University
Can supercharged memory consolidation during sleep boost compassion and pro-sociality?

Julia Ann Keller
University of New Mexico
An investigation of the impact of mindfulness training on the development of attention and working memory in children

Michael Lifshitz
McGill University, Montreal, QC
Effects of open monitoring on visual search: Evidence from eye-tracking, electrophysiology, and phenomenology

Fadel Zeidan
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Brain Mechanisms Distinguishing Mindfulness Meditation-Related Pain Relief from Placebo Analgesia

Kristin Zernicke
University of Calgary
The eCALM Study: eTherapy for Cancer AppLying Mindfulness

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2010 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Micah Allen
Aarhus University, Århus, Denmark
The neurophenomenology of mindfulness: Meta-cognitive awareness as a mechanism for adaptive change

Grace Bullock
University of Oregon
Yoga for Parenting Success: YPS

Gaelle Desbordes
Boston University
Neural and physiological correlates of Tibetan energy-channel meditation in highly-trained practitioners

Jessica Flynn
Kent State University
Effects of training in loving‐kindness meditation on underlying approach and avoidance motivations

Tim Gard
Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Giessen, Germany
The effects of Kripalu Yoga on the brain: A longitudinal cortical thickness and diffusion tensor imaging study

Andrea Hayes
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Differential effects of mindfulness and yogic breathing on cognitive and emotional processes

Britta Holzel
Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Giessen, Germany
Do white matter changes contribute to improved fear extinction following mindfulness training?

Daniel Levinson
University Wisconsin – Madison
Breath counting: Developing a behavioral measure of mindfulness

Kristen Lyons
University of Minnesota
The effects of mindfulness meditation training in early childhood

Jose Raul Naranjo
University Medical Center Freiburg
EEG spectral signatures of the impact of mindfulness meditation on perceptual-motor awareness and self-agency

Eva Oberle
University of British Columbia
Mindfulness-based education in the elementary school classroom: Individual and joint effects of a teacher and student program on children’s classroom behaviors, peer relations, classroom hierarchy, and stress reactivity

Autumn Wiley
University of Arizona
Exploring the effects of mindfulness meditation on self-control failure

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2009 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Rael Baruch Cahn
University of California – San Diego
Focused attention vs. open monitoring meditation and self-referential brain processing

Brenda Dyer
University of British Columbia
Relational processes in learning mindfulness: An action-theoretical perspective

Melissa Ellamil
University of British Columbia
Investigating the neural basis of spontaneous thought with real-time fMRI and contemplative mental training

Norm Farb
University of Toronto
How mindfulness impacts selective attention during emotional challenge

Ellen Katz
University of Toronto
Attending to clinical social work practice: Mindful attention as holistic competence background and relevant literature

Laura Kiken
Virginia Commonwealth University
The effect of mindfulness on physiological awareness:  Blood glucose estimates and disease management in Type 2 Diabetics

Emma Lawrence
King’s College, London
The impact of evaluative vs. experiential self-focus on emotional response

David Lipschitz
University of Utah
Effects of mind-body interventions in cancer supportive care:  Oxytocin as a biological correlate of wellbeing and connectedness

Roisin O’Donnell
University of Arizona
The effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as an intervention among elderly family caregivers of persons with neurocognitive disorders

Tucker Peck
University of Arizona
The effects of mindfulness meditation on sleep electrophysiology and duration

David Perlman
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Hedonic sustainability in the BOLD response to selfish and altruistic rewards

Baljinder Sahdra
University of California – Davis
Non-attachment, group identity, and memory of historical injustices

Zev Schuman-Olivier
Harvard Medical School/Mass General Hospital
Development of mindfulness-based real-time fMRI neurofeedback for smoking cessation: A preliminary study

Meredith Terry
Duke University
Exploring the role of self-compassion in the establishment and maintenance of a meditation practice

Jessica Tipscord
University of Oregon
Mindfulness training for parents and children

Erin Walsh
University of Kentucky
Effects of a short-term mindfulness intervention on depression and immunity

Cecilia Westbrook
Carnegie Mellon University
Mindfulness and response inhibition: Behavioral, neural and subjective correlates in smoking cessation

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2008 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Nicholas Van Dam
University at Albany
Exploring the impact of meditation on stress and psychopathology: Attentional allocation as a potential mechanism of active change following meditation training

Nathaniel Lepp and Ellen Darling
Brown Medical School
School-based mindfulness training in middle school and college students: Effects on emotion, objectively measured sleep and attention; Effects on mindfulness, self-compassion and depression in women

Susanne Leiberg
University of Zurich
The neural and behavioural correlates of a neurofeedback-based metta meditation training

Sean Barnes
Binghamton University
Identifying the mechanisms of action in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Holly Rau
University of Utah
Application of the neurovisceral integration model to mindfulness: Implications for stress regulation and the development of insomnia

Brooke Dodson-Lavelle
Emory University
Study to design and assess the validity of the Emory Meditation Practice, Tradition & Experience (EMPTE) scale

Aviva Berkovich-Ohana
Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Meditation and non-linear neurodynamics: from state to trait

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis
West Virginia University
Changing our perception of others through compassion meditation

Lisa Flook
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Mindfulness-based kindness curriculum for preschool children: A replication and extension

Brian Galla
University of Pennsylvania
Examining the psychological effects of intensive meditation retreats for teenage youth

Sheila Garland
Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Holy Cross Site
An objective comparison of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction for the treatment of insomnia in individuals with cancer using wrist actigraphy: A randomized non-inferiority trial

Wendy Hasenkamp
Emory University Real time dynamics of cognitive processing during meditation: A subject-driven fMRI investigation

Brandon King and Anthony Zanesco
University of California Davis
The interrelationship between cognitive control and affect in an intensive Vipassana retreat

Teresa Sivilli
Emory University
The FACE Study: Faces, Attention, Compassion and Emotion

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2007 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Joanna Arch
University of California – Los Angeles
Different approaches to emotion regulation: MBSR and CBT in the treatment of anxiety disorders

Jennifer Daubenmier
University of California – San Francisco
Effects of mindfulness meditation on cell aging processes

Eric Garland
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Biopsychosocial assessment of a mindfulness-oriented treatment of alcohol dependence

Teresa Hawkes
University of Oregon
A randomized controlled single-blinded pilot trial to compare effects of concentrative sitting meditation to moving meditation (Tai Chi) training on attentional network efficiency

Britta Holzel
Massachusetts General Hospital
Does mindfulness training change the processing of social threat?

Elizabeth Hoge
Massachusetts General Hospital, General Clinical Research Center
Neuropeptide levels in meditation

Michael Hove
Florida Atlantic University
The dissolution of self during rhythmic motor behavior

Kristen Jastrowski Mano
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the treatment of pediatric chronic pain

Anthony King
University of Michigan
Efficacy of a 16 week mindfulness-based group for combat PTSD in recruiting veterans, and pilot effects on threat detection and emotion regulation neurocircuitry

Zev Rosen
University of Pennsylvania
Neural effects of mindfulness training on adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

Baljinder Sahdra
University of California – Davis
Measurement and correlates of non-attachment

Laura Van Wielingen
Tom Baker Cancer Centre – Holy Cross Site, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
How does Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction improve psychological functioning for cancer patients?

Anna-leila Williams
Yale University
Development and testing of determinants of meditation practice

Fadel Zeidan
Duke University
The influence of meditative experience on pain perception

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2006 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Judson Brewer
Yale University School of Medicine
Mindfulness training as treatment and mechanistic probe for drug addiction

Christopher Brown
University of Manchester
Electrophysiological and behavioral assessment of a mindfulness-based pain management program for patients with chronic pain

Catherine Crane and Thorsten Barnhofer
Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK
Using MBCT to prevent relapse to suicidality in patients suffering from ongoing depressive symptoms

Sandra DiVitale
Emory University School of Medicine
Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on mind and brain in returning Iraqi veterans

Radhi Raja
University SIM, Singapore
Study of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction and attention regulation in adolescents with mild learning disabilities

Manish Saggar
University of Texas – Austin
Developing a computational model for meditation using cross cortical synchrony in EEG data

Marieke van Vugt
University of Pennsylvania
Mathematical modeling of acute effects of meditation on cognition

Helen Weng
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Compassion meditation vs. cognitive reappraisal as emotion regulation strategies to negative stimuli: an fMRI investigation

Jaskirat (Heather) Wild
Oregon Health and Sciences University, School of Medicine
White Tantric Kundalini Yoga: Physiological, behavioral, and EEG effects of an intensive and immersive yogic meditation experience

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2005 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Willoughby Britton
Brown University
Mindfulness-based interventions for depression: Possible neurophysiological mechanisms

Norman Farb
University of Toronto
The neural correlates of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Durwin Foster
University of British Columbia
Establishing mindfulness and mind-wandering as mediators of patient benefit in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Joshua Grant
University of Montreal
The neurobiology of mindfulness meditation for the control of pain

Brent Hughes
Columbia University
Meditation-induced changes in anticipation and experience of pain

Cendri Hutcherson and Emma Seppala
Stanford University
Investigating the correlates and consequences of directed loving-kindness meditation

Sahib Khalsa
University of Iowa
Neural systems supporting interoceptive awareness in experienced and beginning meditators

Anthony King
University of Michigan
Feasibility, clinical acceptability, and efficacy of a mindfulness-based group therapy intervention for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Deidre Kolarick Reis
Yale University
Regulating emotion in social situations: An fMRI study of experienced Buddhist meditators

Molly Stewart Lawlor
University of British Columbia
Effectiveness of the Mindfulness Education Program on children’s social-emotional competence, psychological well-being, and stress reactivity

Adam Safron
University of Pennsylvania
Neural effects of mindfulness meditation training on working memory

Michael Spezio
California Institute of Technology
Trust and Christian contemplative practice: A social neuroscientific study of spiritual capital in a contemplative tradition

David Vago
University of Utah
The effects of mindfulness meditative training on impairments in affect regulation associated with the experience and anticipation of pain in fibromyalgia patients

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2004 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients

Willoughby Britton
University of Arizona
Mindfulness-based interventions for depression: Possible neurophysiological mechanisms

Jason T. Buhle
Columbia University
The functional plasticity of attention

Ryan T. Canolty
University of California – Berkeley
Understanding the neural correlates of attention

Arnaud Delorme
University of California – San Diego
Neural correlates of meta-consciousness events as experienced during Zen meditation practice

Philippe Goldin
Stanford University
Mindfulness meditation for social anxiety disorder: Examining the neural and psychological mechanisms of therapeutic change

Patricia Jennings
University of California – San Francisco
Cultivating Emotional Balance Classroom Project

Brian N. Pasley
University of California – Berkeley
Investigation of attentional modulation in visual cortex during meditation

Elizabeth Kimbrough Pradhan
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, well-being and immune changes among rheumatoid arthritis patients

Catherine Ortner
University of Toronto
Effects of mindfulness meditation training on attentional control in neutral and emotional contexts

Hilary A. Tindle
Harvard Medical School
Mindfulness meditation for reduction of smoking craving: an fMRI investigation

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