Past Summer Research Institute Faculty

A-C | D-G | H-K | L-R | S-Z

Gerardo Abboud Gerardo Abboud

Gerardo Abboud is President of Dongyuling Buddhist Center, established in Argentina by Dorzong Rinpoche and Choegyal Rinpoche in 1986. Born in Argentina in 1945, in 1969 he graduated as Industrial Engineer at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1970 he traveled to Nepal and India, where he stayed until 1985, studying and practicing Buddhism. He has been translating from Tibetan into English and Spanish for many lamas from his days in the Himalayan region, and since 1992 is the Spanish interpreter in Latin America for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When not traveling abroad as one of Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s main translators, he teaches Buddhism and Tibetan language at Dongyuling.

John Astin John A. Astin, Ph.D.

John Astin received his Ph.D. in Health Psychology from the University of California, Irvine and completed postdoctoral training at the Stanford University School of Medicine. From 2000-2002, he served on the faculty at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine where he was director of mind-body research. Presently, he holds an appointment at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, where his most recent work has focused on two areas: 1) exploring barriers to the integration of mind-body principles and practices in medicine, and 2) examining the efficacy of mindfulness and acceptance-based methods to prevent relapse from substance dependence. He is the co-author (with Deane Shapiro) of the book: Control therapy: An integrated approach to psychotherapy, health, and healing.

Along with his scholarly pursuits, John is also an accomplished singer, songwriter and recording artist having produced 5 albums of original spiritual-contemplative music that are distributed worldwide. He is also the author of Too Intimate for Words, a book of poetry and reflections on the nature of non-dual awareness.

James Austin James Austin, M.D.

James Austin MD has spent most of his years as an academic neurologist, first at the University of Oregon Medical School, and later at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His cultural background includes the first sabbatical spent in New Delhi, India, and the second spent in Kyoto, Japan. There he began Zen meditative training in 1974 with Kobori-Roshi, a Rinzai Zen master. His early research was in areas of clinical neurology, neuropathology, neurochemistry and neuropharmacology. He has since developed a keen interest in the experimental designs and findings of investigators who are studying meditation and related states of consciousness. Dr Austin has authored or co-authored over 140 publications.His latest MIT Press book, just-released, is Selfless Insight; Zen and the Meditative Transformations of Consciousness(2009). The others include: Zen-Brain Reflections(2006), Zen and the Brain(1998), and Chase, Chance, and Creativity; The Lucky Art of Novelty(2003).

Ruth Baer Ruth Baer, Ph.D.

Ruth Baer is Professor of Psychology and a member and former director of the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. She conducts research on the assessment and conceptualization of mindfulness, mindfulness-based interventions, mechanisms by which mindfulness training achieves its beneficial effects, and relationships between mindfulness and other aspects of psychological functioning. She has completed professional training in several mindfulness-based interventions, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Dr. Baer is the developer of the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, and editor of a recent book entitled Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician’s Guide to Evidence Base and Application. She serves on the editorial boards of Psychological Assessment, Journal of Personality Assessment, and Assessment. Her current projects include studies of mindfulness and psychological functioning in experienced meditators, relationships between mindfulness and tolerance of stress and pain, and relationships between mindfulness, acceptance, emotion regulation, and characteristics of borderline personality disorder.

Susan Bauer-Wu Susan Bauer-Wu, Ph.D.

Susan Bauer-Wu is an experienced clinician, researcher, and educator whose experience in nursing (oncology, psychiatry, and hospice) provided the foundation for her doctoral studies in psychoneuroimmunology and her post-doctoral training in psycho-oncology. She began her academic career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School with joint appointments in the Graduate School of Nursing and Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, where she also participated in the UMass Center for Mindfulness’ professional training program. Subsequently, she was an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and served as director of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Cantor Center for Nursing and Patient Care Research, located in Boston. In her role at Dana-Farber, she led institutional research efforts aimed to improve both the quality of life and quality of care for cancer patients, with a particular emphasis on complementary/integrative therapies.

In 2007, she was selected as Distinguished Cancer Scholar of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, while beginning as an Associate Professor of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta. She is the principal investigator of an NIH funded multi-site randomized controlled trial evaluating the bio-behavioral effects of a mindfulness intervention for hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients. She has published over 35 peer-review articles and book chapters and has held leadership roles with several professional and community organizations, and continues as a scientific peer-reviewer for NIH and the American Cancer Society. Besides her scholarly activities, Susan facilitates healing and resiliency retreats and training programs for cancer patients and families as well as for health care professionals.

Michel Bitbol, M.D., Ph.D.

Michel Bitbol is presently Directeur de recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in Paris, France. He is based at the Centre de Recherche en Epistemologie Appliquee (CREA) in Paris. He was educated at several universities in Paris, where he received successively his M.D. in 1980, his Ph.D. in Physics in 1985, and his “Habilitation” in Philosophy in 1997.

He worked as a research scientist from 1978 to 1990, specializing in biophysics. From 1990 onwards, he turned to the philosophy of physics. He edited texts of general philosophy and of quantum mechanics by Erwin Schrödinger, and published a book entitled Schrödinger’s Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics (Kluwer, 1996). He also published two books in French on a neo-Kantian interpretation of quantum mechanics and on quasi-realism and anti-realism in science, in 1996 and 1998 respectively. In 1997 he was the recipient of an award from the Academie des sciences morales et politiques for his work in the philosophy of quantum mechanics.

Later on, he focused on the much debated connections between the philosophy of quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind. He published a book on that topic in French in 2000, and worked in close collaboration with Francisco Varela in the wake of this work. He is presently pursuing this line of research by developing a conception of consciousness inspired from neurophenomenology, and an epistemology of first-person knowledge. Besides, he also learned some Sanskrit in order to get a better understanding of basic texts by Nagarjuna and Candrakirti, and recently published a book (De l’intérieur du monde : pour une philosophie et une science des relations, 2010) in which he draws a parallel between Buddhist Interdependance and non-supervenient relations in quantum physics and the theory of knowledge.


Sylvia Boorstein Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., is a co-founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California and a Senior Teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She has worked as a psychotherapist since 1967 and was part of the Behavioral Sciences faculty at College of Marin, Kentfield, CA from 1970-1984. She was often a panelist at conferences of the American Psychiatric Association discussing the interface of psychotherapy and meditation and in 1996 was part of the 26-member delegation of American Buddhist teachers meeting in Dharamsala with the Dalai Lama to discuss issues of teaching Buddhism in the west. She has also spoken at many Jewish meditation conferences discussing the interpolation of mindfulness and loving kindness practice into Jewish religious practice. She helped design the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, was a member of its first faculty, and co-leads an annual training retreat for rabbis who are teaching mindfulness.

Dr. Boorstein has written five books on meditation and Buddhism, the most recent being Happiness Is An Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life. She has been honored as Noted Humanist Scholar by Saybrook Institute and most recently was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Since 1991 she has taught an ongoing weekly class at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in addition to her retreat and conference work and since 2002 has been a regular columnist for The Shambhala Sun magazine.


Willoughby BrittonWilloughby Britton, Ph.D.

Willoughby Britton received a B.A. in Neuroscience from Colgate University, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona, and is currently Psychiatry faculty in Psychiatry at Brown Medical School and Director of Research of the Brown University Contemplatives Studies Initiative. She received sleep/EEG technician training at Harvard Medical School and was a Research Fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) and at Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. She spent several years in Asia studying meditative techniques and received her mindfulness instructor certification training at the Center for Mindfulness at the UMASS Medical School. With the aim of investigating the link between contemplative practices, brain function, sleep, attention and affective disturbances, she has conducted RCTs on the neurophysiological effects of MBCT in depression; and education-based mindfulness training in middle school and university students in comparison to music and dance.

She is also investigating the question: Which contemplative practices are best (or worst) suited for which populations? She is conducting a mindfulness “dismantling” study which compares the effects of shamatha and vipassana practices on attention, cortical arousal and affective disturbances. In collaboration with Jack Kornfield and several other teachers, she is conducting research on the adverse effects and difficult stages of the contemplative path.

Trish Broderick, Ph.D.

Trish Broderick is a research associate at the Penn State Prevention Research Center and former founder and director of the Stress Reduction Center at West Chester University of PA. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Temple University. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified school psychologist (K-12), certified school counselor (K-12) and has worked as a teacher and school psychologist in Pennsylvania. She has served in various administrative positions in higher education, including Director of School Counseling Programs. After receiving training and supervision in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) from senior teachers in the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS Medical Center, she has taught MBSR to adults and adolescents since 2003. She has taught courses in Human Development, Stress Management, and Mind-Body Health to undergraduate and graduate students at West Chester and other universities. Research interests have included mindfulness-based approaches to treatment, gender differences in coping styles of early adolescents, and relationships between rumination and the development of depression. The third edition of her developmental psychology textbook, entitled The life span: Human development for helping professionals (Broderick & Blewitt, 2010) was published by Pearson Education, Inc. She is the author of Learning to BREATHE, a universal mindfulness curriculum for adolescents designed to be used in schools. She is a member of the Garrison Institute’s Educational Leadership Council.

Kirk Warren Brown Kirk Warren Brown, Ph.D.

Kirk Warren Brown, Ph.D., completed undergraduate and graduate training in Psychology at the University of Toronto and McGill University, respectively, and post-doctoral training at the University of Rochester. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research centers on the role of attention to and awareness of internal states and behavior in self-regulation and well-being.

He has a particular interest in the nature of mindfulness, and the role of mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions in affect regulation, behavior regulation, and mental health in healthy and clinical populations. He has authored numerous journal articles and chapters on these topics. His research is funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health. On a personal note, Dr. Brown has practiced meditation for over 15 years under the guidance of teachers in both Theravadin Buddhist and Zen traditions.

John Canti John Canti, MA, MB, BChir

John Canti is a Buddhist practitioner, translator, and physician. While studying medicine at Cambridge University in England he first had contact with Buddhist teachers, and started to practice under their guidance. In 1972, he met Dudjom Rinpoche, who became one of his three principal teachers. The others were Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, both of whom he met soon afterwards. Qualifying meanwhile as a doctor, he held hospital appointments in London and Cambridge, starting surgical training. But in the late seventies, disillusioned with medicine in an academic setting, he moved to eastern Nepal to establish tuberculosis programs in two remote hill districts virtually without health services.

Beginning in 1980, he undertook two consecutive three-year retreats in the Dordogne, France, practising under the guidance of Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Pema Wangyal Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khenpo. Afterwards, he helped found with some of his fellow retreatants the Padmakara Translation Group, of which he is now president. He also had the honour of serving Dudjom Rinpoche as physician during his final years, and has subsequently coordinated the medical care of other lamas and practitioners. He currently lives in semi-retreat in the Dordogne, translating texts and providing medical care and counselling for three-year retreatants in the area. His published translations include (all collaborations): The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, The Words of My Perfect Teacher, Journey to Enlightenment, The Hundred Verse of Advice, and The Heart of Compassion. He is presently working on a translation of Mipham Rinpoche’s commentary to Maitreya-Asanga’s Uttaratantra-shastra.

Linda E. Carlson Linda E. Carlson, Ph.D., R.Psych.

Linda E. Carlson, Ph.D., R. Psych, is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in Psychosocial Oncology in the Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, and the holder of the Enbridge Endowed Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology. She also holds an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Carlson trained as a Clinical Health Psychologist at McGill University in Montreal, researching the area of psychoneuroendocrinology. She then worked a post-doctoral fellow at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, sponsored by a Terry Fox Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the National Cancer Institute of Canada/Canadian Cancer Society, before being appointed Assistant Professor. She received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator award from 2002-2007, before being appointed the Endowed Chairholder.

Dr. Carlson’s current research interests are focused in the areas of computerized distress screening, psychoneuroimmunology, integrative oncology and complementary and alternative medicine, providing and evaluating interventions for cancer patients such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, exercise, and smoking cessation. She has published over 80 book chapters and research papers in peer-reviewed journals, holds several millions of dollars in grant funding and regularly presents her work at international conferences.

James Carmody James Carmody, Ph.D.

James Carmody, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is a psychologist and was previously in practice as a psychotherapist and family therapist in New Zealand, his home country. His principal research interest is delineating the qualities of attending to experience that lead to well-being, and the mind-body processes associated with these. He received a Department of Defense, Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Programs New Investigator Award in 2001 and developed a mindfulness-based dietary change intervention for men with a recurrence of prostate cancer which resulted in substantial dietary changes and associated improvements in PSA doubling time, a clinical marker for disease progression.

He is presently principal investigator on two NIH-funded clinical trials of mindfulness-based interventions; one for its effect on asthma symptoms and associated immune markers, the other for its effect on vasomotor symptoms and related quality of life. He is also investigator on several other trials including coping with bone marrow transplantation, resiliency to PTSD in Iraq war veterans, and a neuroimaging mechanisms study of two mind-body training programs. James has been a vipassana and hatha yoga practitioner for thirty five years. He studied and practiced with teachers in several traditions while living in Asia in the seventies and eighties, including two year-long retreats. He teaches meditation retreats for health care practitioners.

Jane Carpenter-Cohn Jane Carpenter-Cohn, MA

Jane Carpenter-Cohn chairs the BA Contemplative Psychology department and teaches for the Religious Studies department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Jane became a student of the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1975, and has taught and coordinated programs for Shambhala and Buddhist centers for twenty years. For Naropa, Jane teaches psychology, meditation and the Maitri Space Awareness practices. She is also an accomplished Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, instructor, and a teacher of Dharma art. She is trained in marriage and family therapy and has worked with families and children of all ages.

Kalina Christoff, Ph.D.

Kalina Christoff is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department and the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia. Before taking her position at UBC, Dr. Christoff completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience at Stanford University, followed by postdoctoral training at Cambridge, UK. Dr. Christoff’s work focuses on the neural and cognitive mechanisms of human thought, reasoning and problem solving, using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). She is widely known for her work on a part of the prefrontal cortex in humans known as the anterior prefrontal cortex, which she has shown to be involved in such uniquely human mental abilities such as introspective thinking and higher order reasoning. Dr. Christoff is the director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory at UBC, one of the few fMRI laboratories world-wide to specifically focus on the neural mechanisms of human thought, and the only laboratory in Canada that examines brain activation using a novel, cutting-edge methodology known as real-time fMRI, which allows immediate and concurrent observation of brain activation.

Jonathan Cohen Jonathan Cohen, MD, Ph.D.

Jonathan Cohen is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Director of the Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior and Director of the Program in Neuroscience at Princeton University. He is also Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He received a B.A. from Yale University, an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He has received the Miller Foundation Prize for Research in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; the Joseph Zubin Memorial Fund Award for Research in Psychopathology; the Kempf Fund Award for Research Development in Psychobiological Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, and a James McKeen Cattell Fund Sabbatical Fellowship Award.

Recent publications include: Nystrom LE, Braver TS, Sabb FW, Delgado MR, Noll DC & Cohen JD (2000). Working memory for letters, shapes and locations: fMRI evidence against stimulus-based regional organization of human prefrontal cortex. Neuroimage, 11, 424-446. Barch DM, Carter CS, Braver TS, MacDonald A, Noll DC & Cohen JD (2001). Selective deficits in prefrontal cortex function in medication naïve patients with schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry , 58, 280-8. And Botvinick, MM, Braver TS, Carter CS, Barch DM & Cohen JD (2001). Conflict monitoring and cognitive control. Psychological Review. 108(3) 624-652.

Margaret Cullen

Margaret Cullen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher, having trained extensively with Jon Kabat-Zinn. She has also trained with Zindel Segal in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and in MB Eat with Jean Kristeller. For sixteen years she has been teaching and pioneering mindfulness programs in a variety of settings including cancer support, HIV support, physician groups, executive groups, teachers and Kaiser patients. For six years she has been involved in teaching and writing curricula for several research programs at UCSF including “Cultivating Emotional Balance” designed for teachers and “Craving and Lifestyle Management with Meditation” for overweight women. In 2008 she launched a mindfulness-based emotional balance program (SMART) for teachers and school administrators in Denver, Boulder and Vancouver, B.C. She has collaborated on the revision of mindfulness curricula for Kaiser, northern California and for the Center for Compassion at Stanford and spoken publicly on these and related topics, including forgiveness and conflict resolution. She has also been a facilitator of support groups for cancer patients and their loved ones for twenty years at The Wellness Community. A meditation practitioner for thirty years, she is a frequent contributor to “Inquiring Mind”.


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