Past Summer Research Institute Faculty

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

Linda Lantieri, M.A.

Linda Lantieri has been in the field in education for 40 years in a variety of capacities: classroom teacher, assistant principal, director of a middle school in East Harlem, and faculty member at Hunter College in New York City. Currently she serves as the Director of The Inner Resilience Program whose mission is to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice. In 1985, she co-founded the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP), a researched based k-8 social and emotional learning program that has been implemented in over 400 schools. Linda is also one of the founding board members of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She is the coauthor of Waging Peace in Our Schools (Beacon Press, 1996) editor of Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers (Beacon Press, 2001), and author of Building Emotional Intelligence: Techniques to Cultivate Inner Strength in Children (Sounds True, 2008).

Sara Lazar Sara Lazar, Ph.D.

Sara Lazar is an Assistant in Psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boson Massachusetts. She obtained her BA in biology at Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from Harvard University in Molecular Biology. Her recent work has focused on understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of meditation. She has used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify changes in cortical structure associated with the extensive practice of Buddhist Vipassana meditation. She is also interested in the impact of meditation on mood, behavior, and autonomic processes. Dr Lazar has practiced yoga for 12 years and Vipassana meditation for nine years. She is on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Meditation and Psychotherapy, and is a contributing author to Meditation and Psychotherapy (Guilford Press). Information about her laboratory can be found at

Marc D. Lewis Marc D. Lewis, Ph.D.

Marc D. Lewis, Ph.D. is a Professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the study of personality development as it relates to emotion and emotion regulation. His work is informed by developmental psychology, affective neuroscience, and a dynamic systems perspective on brain and behavior. His research has focused on transitions in emotional development and, in collaboration with Isabela Granic, he has developed a state space grid methodology for analyzing socioemotional behavior as a dynamic system.

More recent work utilizes EEG methods for identifying the neural underpinnings of emotion regulation in normal and antisocial children and for assessing neural changes corresponding with successful treatment. His papers on the contribution of dynamic systems theory and affective neuroscience to understanding human development have appeared in high-profile journals such as Child Development, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, and Development and Psychopathology.

Courtesy Luis Alvarez

Ottmar Liebert

Ottmar Liebert is a German-born composer and guitarist, born to a Chinese-German father and a Hungarian mother. As a child, he spent most of his time traveling Europe and Asia with his family. Ottmar leads an ensemble called Luna Negra (“Black Moon”), which has gained popularity performing as a touring band and recording music albums in a “Nouveau Flamenco” style.

Ottmar has been nominated five-times for a Grammy award. Ottmar first pursued his rock and roll aspirations in his native Germany and then in Boston where he played in the alternative band RED with his brother Stefan. Ottmar then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. By 1989, he had founded the first “Luna Negra” band. The ground-breaking album Nouveau Flamenco began life as a self-produced local release called Marita: Shadows and Storms, copies of which local artist Frank Howell distributed in his art galleries. When the record found its way to radio stations and began generating a response among listeners, Higher Octave Music picked it up and released a re-mastered version. Since 1990, Ottmar Liebert has released a total of 25 albums including live releases, Christmas CDs, 15 CDs of original music, a DVD and remixes. He has received 38 Gold and Platinum certifications in the USA as well as certifications in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. His debut album sold double-platinum and has become one of the best-selling guitar albums of all time. In May 2006 Ottmar was ordained as a Zen Monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel, at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Antoine LutzAntoine Lutz, Ph.D.

Antoine Lutz is a Senior Scientist at the Laboratory For Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior at the Waisman Center in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University of P. et M. Curie, Paris (VI) under the supervision of Dr. Francisco Varela in 2002 and has done his postdoctoral research under the supervision of Dr. Richard Davidson in Madison. His principal research focus has been on the neurodynamical correlates of consciousness and on the relationship between neuroplasticity and meditation training. His research has been largely supported by grants from the National Institute of Health. He is associated with the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds in Madison.

David McMahan, Ph.D.

David L. McMahan is Associate Professor in the Religious Studies department at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author of The Making of Buddhist Modernism (Oxford, 2008), Empty Vision: Metaphor and Visionary Imagery in Mahayana Buddhism (Routledge Curzon, 2002), Buddhism in the Modern World (forthcoming on Routledge), and a number of articles on Mahayana Buddhism in South Asia and Buddhism in the modern world.

He has written on early Mahayana Buddhist sutra literature, visual metaphors and practice, and the early history of the Mahayana movement in India. More recently, his work has focused on the interface of Buddhism and modernity, including its interactions with science, psychology, modernist literature, romanticism, and transcendentalism. He is currently researching the various ways that Buddhist and Buddhist-derived meditation is understood and practiced in different communities around the world.

>>Reading List

David Meyer David Meyer, Ph.D.

David Meyer is a faculty member of the Cognition and Perception Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. A mathematical psychologist and cognitive scientist, he received his Ph. D. from Michigan and subsequently worked for almost a decade as a Member of Technical Staff in the Human Information Processing Research Department at the Bell Telephone Laboratories before returning to academe. His teaching and research — sponsored by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Mental Health, and Office of Naval Research — have dealt with fundamental aspects of human perception, attention, learning, memory, language, movement production, multitasking, executive mental control, human-computer interaction, personality and cognitive style, cognitive aging, cognitive neuroscience, mathematical models, and unified computational theories.

Numerous reports of this research have appeared in books and journals such as Science, the Psychological Review, Cognitive Psychology, Memory & Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Journal of Memory and Language, and volumes of the Attention and Performance symposium series. After completing their doctoral degrees, Professor Meyer’s many graduate students have taken professional positions at major universities and research institutions throughout the U.S. and abroad. For his diverse scientific contributions, Prof. Meyer has been elected as a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Psychologists, American Psychological Society, American Psychological Association, and American Association for The Advancement of Science. The American Psychological Association has honored him with its Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. His professional activities have also included extensive service on journal editorial boards, government review panels, and international administrative committees. More information about Professor Meyer may be obtained at his laboratory website,

Paul J. Mills Paul J. Mills, Ph.D.

Paul J. Mills is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is an active educator and clinical investigator with broad research interests, including the effects of depression on inflammation and clinical outcomes in heart failure; hypertension and stressor effects on endothelial and leukocyte adhesion and atherosclerosis risk; spaceflight effects on adrenergic receptors, immune cells and cellular adhesion; meditation effects on the cardiovascular and sympathetic nervous systems; and the effectiveness of traditional herbal medicines to treat anxiety and insomnia disorders. He is a member of the Symptom Control Research Group at the UCSD Cancer Center studying the effects of traditional and non-traditional treatments for breast cancer on components of the immune system and fatigue.

Paul is the Director of the General Clinical Research Center Core Laboratory which supports a broad array of biochemical assay services for clinical studies at UCSD. He recently completed a term as Associate Editor for the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine and is currently an Associate Editor for the journal Health Psychology. As Guest Editor for Annals of Behavioral Medicine he edited a special issue on the topic of spirituality, religiousness and health. He has served on several NIH Study Sections and Institutional Review Boards, including at the Center for Palliative Studies at San Diego Hospice. Paul is active in the governance and organizational work of several professional societies, including the American Psychosomatic Society and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Lis Nielsen Lis Nielsen, Ph.D.

Lis Nielsen, Ph.D. is a Program Director in the Behavioral and Social Research Program of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, where she manages an extramural portfolio of research grants in the area of Psychological Development and Integrative Science. Since joining NIA in 2005, Dr. Nielsen has been developing research programs in Neuroeconomics of Aging and Social Neuroscience of Aging.

Dr. Nielsen trained in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Arizona. Her research, conducted in collaboration with Alfred Kaszniak and Steven Rapcsak, combined self-report, cognitive testing, and psychophysiological methods to study emotion experience and cognition-emotion interactions in healthy adults and individuals with frontal and temporal lobe brain lesions. Her dissertation research, funded by the Fetzer Foundation and the U of A Center for Consciousness Studies, explored emotion experience and physiology in long-term meditators.

From 2003-2005, Dr. Nielsen held an NIA-funded NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology at Stanford University, where she collaborated with Laura Carstensen and Brian Knutson on studies of emotion experiences associated with social and monetary incentives, focusing on changes in those experiences over the lifespan and their relation to the motivational and biological changes associated with aging. In conjunction with her NIA appointment, Dr. Nielsen continues research collaborations studying individual and age differences in emotion experience. This work focuses on age differences in incentive processing and affective forecasting, as well as on the emotional regulatory benefits of long-term meditation practice and healthy aging.

Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Ph.D.

Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Ph.D., founder and abbot of the Village Zendo in downtown Manhattan, is a Zen teacher and priest. Since 1985, in addition to her own Zen community, she has taught meditation to many special-needs groups, including people with HIV/AIDS, young people in drug treatment, women in an alternative to incarceration facility, as well as offering retreats and workshops generally. She serves as the Spiritual Co-director of the Zen Peacemakers and contributes to the efforts to join Buddhist practice and social response. Her teaching often focuses on the healing power involved in self-expression. She holds a doctorate in Media Ecology and taught for many years at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, centering on social issues and new media. Roshi O’Hara’s writing has appeared in Tricycle, Turning Wheel, Buddhadharma, and other Buddhist journals.

Giuseppe Pagnoni, Ph.D.

Giuseppe Pagnoni studies human brain function using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Born in Milan, Italy, in 1966, he began his scientific formation as a physicist but shortly after earning his master’s degree he decided to pursue his interest in Neuroscience by enrolling in the Ph.D. course headed by Prof. Giacomo Rizzolatti at the University of Parma. In the year 2000, after completing his Ph.D., he moved to the U.S.A. with a post-doctoral fellowship which eventually led to a junior faculty position at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Emory University, Atlanta, GA. After 2008, he moved back to Italy where he now lives and works as faculty in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

Dr. Pagnoni’s work has focused on different research topics during the course of his career. Starting with an investigation of the role of the mirror neuron system in visual perception during his Ph.D. program, in his postdoctoral work he studied the neural bases of pain perception and reward, with a specific interest in the effect of stimulus predictability. While at Emory University, he also collaborated on a number of other projects targeting social cognition, the relationship between immune function and cognitive/emotional processes, and the role of mental imagery in rehabilitation from stroke.

Dr. Pagnoni’s interest in meditation began during his Ph.D. years, when he started practicing zazen at the Fudenji Zen temple in Salsomaggiore, Parma, lead by Rev. Fausto Taiten Guareschi. In 2006, he was awarded a research grant by the NIH-funded Emory Center for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Neurodegenerative Diseases to study the neural and behavioral correlates of Zen meditation, a great opportunity to put to test some of the hypotheses and insights which had arisen during his practice. Dr. Pagnoni’s current research includes an ongoing collaboration with Emory University and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a EU-funded project to study the neural bases of mental effort.

Ken Paller Ken Paller, Ph.D.

Ken Paller is the Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Program at Northwestern University. Research in his laboratory focuses on various aspects of human perception and memory. Many of Professor Paller’s research articles concern the neural substrates of conscious memory experiences and of memory phenomena that commonly take place in the absence of awareness. This work has made use of measures of brain electrical activity, fMRI signals, and analyses of cognitive deficits in neurological patients. He is also interested in using Buddhist perspectives to complement cognitive neuroscience investigations of conscious experience. In collaboration with Professor Marcia Grabowecky, effects of meditation training on attention are currently under investigation. Other new research projects include investigations of implicit processing of emotional facial expressions and of memory processing during sleep.

Ken is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Fellow of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University. He was trained at UCLA (BS in Psychobiology) and UC San Diego (PhD in Neuroscience), and he completed postdoctoral work at Yale, the University of Manchester, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, and other agencies. He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and is on the executive committee of the Memory Disorders Research Society. He was a participant at the first Mind and Life Summer Research Institute.


Luiz Pessoa Luiz Pessoa, Ph.D.

Luiz Pessoa, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Boston University and post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health. His research focuses on understanding cognitive-emotional interactions by employing behavioral and neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and, more recently, EEG and MEG. His current research addresses how top-down factors such as attention and executive control are involved in the processing of emotion-laden stimuli. He is also interested in developing quantitative methods to link trial-by-trial fluctuations in physiological responses (e.g., fMRI) and changes in behavior (e.g., successful vs. unsuccessful task performance). He has published more than 50 chapters and journal articles.

Laboratory of Cognition and Emotion:

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, D.Phil.

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad studied history, politics and sociology in India before taking his doctorate in Philosophy at Oxford. He taught at the National University of Singapore and held research fellowships at Oxford and Cambridge before joining Lancaster University, where he is Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy, and currently Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He has held visiting fellowships in various universities in India and the US, and delivered over thirty plenary and established lectures across the world. His books are Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought, Advaita Epistemology and Metaphysics, Eastern Philosophy, India: Life, Myth and Art, and Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge. He has published nearly fifty papers in the areas of Indian and comparative epistemology, metaphysics and consciousness studies; religion and politics; comparative theology; and classical Indian religion. He has also written for such leading magazines as Prospect and spoken regularly on the BBC. He is currently the PI on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded major research project, ‘Self: Hindu Responses to Buddhist Critiques’, and has held research grants from the Templeton Foundation to study Indian theories of consciousness, and from the British Home Office to study religion and immigrant integration in British society.

Matthieu RicardMatthieu Ricard, Ph.D.

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk at Shechen Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Born in France in 1946, he received a Ph.D. in Cellular Genetics at the Institut Pasteur under Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob. As a hobby, he wrote Animal Migrations (Hill and Wang, 1969). He first traveled to the Himalayas in 1967 and has lived there since 1972, studying with Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, two of the most eminent Tibetan teachers of our times. Since 1989, he has served as French interpreter for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

He is the author of The Monk and the Philosopher (with his father, the French thinker Jean-Francois Revel), of The Quantum and the Lotus (with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan), and of Happiness, A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill and Why Meditate? He has translated several books from Tibetan into English and French, including The Life of Shabkar and The Heart of Compassion. As a photographer, he has published several albums, including The Spirit of Tibet, Buddhist Himalayas, Tibet, Motionless Journey and Bhutan ( He devotes all the of proceeds from his books and much of his time to forty humanitarian projects (schools, clinics, orphanages, elderly people’s home, bridges) in Tibet, Nepal and India, through his charitable association Karunashechen ( and to the preservation of the Tibetan cultural heritage ( He is also a member of the Mind and Life Program and Research Council.

Andreas Roepstorff Andreas Roepstorff, Ph.D.

Andreas Roepstorff, Ph.D. works as an anthropologist in cognitive neuroscience at Aarhus University in Denmark. He shares his research time between developing experimental approaches to study human cognition and consciousness, and investigating how developments in cognitive science may have implications for other fields. Current research projects include the brain in context and communication, the biological basis of interacting minds, and examining the correlation between phenomenal states and brain activity during meditation.

He has published widely in cognitive science (e.g. the use of subjective reports), social anthropology (e.g. on perceptions of nature and on ethnography of knowledge) and cognitive neuroscience (e.g. on language, on music and on theory of mind). He trained in social anthropology and neurobiology and he is Associate Professor at Department of Social Anthropology where he heads the research focus area “Cognition, Communication and Culture.” Andreas also directs the cognitive the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN).

Robert W. Roeser, Ph.D.

Robert W. Roeser is the Education Coordinator for the Mind and Life Institute and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Portland State University in Portland, OR. He received his B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in education and psychology from the University of Michigan. He also holds master’s degrees in developmental psychology, clinical social work and religion. His research focuses on issues of human development and education. Specifically, he studies school organizations, teaching practices, and their roles in shaping the academic motivation, mental health, and identity development of school-aged children, adolescents and emerging adults. He has conducted and/or collaborated on studies of adolescent development in the United States, Europe, South Africa and India. Beginning with a Fulbright Research Fellowship in India in 2005, he has studied the use of contemplative practices such as mindfulness in schools and universities for purposes of stress reduction and the enhancement of positive development among teachers and students alike.

Hal Roth, Ph.D.

Hal Roth is Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at Brown University and is the Director of the Contemplative Studies Initiative. A pioneer in developing Contemplative Studies as an academic field, Roth is also a specialist in Early Chinese Religious Thought, Daoism, and the histories and practices of the East and South Asian wisdom traditions. He is author or co-author of five books, The Textual History of the Huai-nan Tzu (Association for Asian Studies, 1992), “Inward Training” and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism (Columbia University Press, 1999), Daoist Identity: Cosmology. Lineage, and Ritual (w/Livia Kohn) (University of Hawaii Press, 2002) and A Companion to Angus C. Graham’s Chuang Tzu: the Inner Chapters (Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, 2003) and The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China (with John S Major, Sarah Queen and Andrew S. Meyer). He has also published more than 40 articles and lectured widely in East Asia and the West.


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5