The following list is provided by Mind & Life as a service to the community, consisting of some of the more established academic, scientific, and contemplative resources.
Appearance on this list does not necessarily constitute an endorsement or official affiliation.
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. In addition to academic pursuits, the Britton Lab also serves as an epicenter for the contemplative community at Brown.
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 even governments 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.
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, 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.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Led by world-renowned neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) 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 on the individual, community, and global levels.
University of California-Davis
The research mission of the CMB includes the 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 leaders 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.
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 30 years, it has pioneered the integration of mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness-based approaches in mainstream medicine and health care 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.
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.
University of British Columbia
The Child and Adolescent Development Lab was established by Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education at the University of British Columbia. The research conducted by Dr. Schonert-Reichl and the members of the Child and Adolescent Development Lab primarily focuses on social and emotional learning (SEL) and development, with a particular emphasis on discerning the processes and mechanisms that foster children’s positive human qualities, such as empathy, optimism, happiness, social responsibility, altruism, and resiliency.
University of Colorado Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Under the direction of Sona Dimidjian, PhD, the Center for Research, Education, 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.
The Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory focuses on understanding human memory and related cognitive functions — and their implementation in the brain. We use multiple techniques for measuring brain activity as part of a Cognitive Neuroscience approach that respects both the complexity of cognition as well as the intricate organization of the brain.
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.
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
The mission of the CNIM research laboratory is to alleviate suffering and improve well-being through rigorous investigation of the mind. Directed by David Vago, PhD, the CNIM Lab is situated in the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine (OCIM) at Vanderbilt with affiliations in the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Center for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation, and Vanderbilt University Institute for Imaging Science. Dr. Vago and the CNIM research team investigate 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 CNIM Lab has multiple research initiatives in the contemplative neurosciences with an emphasis on clarifying adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in patient populations suffering with mental illness and chronic pain. Mixed research methods of systems biology, multi-modal neuroimaging (fMRI, MRI, DTI, EEG-fMRI), genomic and neuroendocrine science, innovation/ technology, psychological, cognitive-behavioral and first-person phenomenological analyses are used in a number of research initiatives that focus on the basic science and clinical applications of mind-brain-body and integrative medicine techniques.
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.
Portland State University
Dr. Rob Roeser’s Culture and Contemplation in Education Lab (CaCiEL) is devoted to the study of the putative effects of mindfulness and compassion training for teachers, parents and students with regard to health and wellbeing, learning, and ethical development. They are investigating if such trainings represent viable and effective means of cultivating the self-regulatory skills and motivational dispositions we all need to thrive and flourish in the 21st Century in terms of a healthy body, a calm and clear mind, and a kind and good heart.
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.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Institute for Mindfulness South Africa (IMISA) was established in 2007, and is a not-for-profit organisation committed to the practice, research and application of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) in the health care sector and broader society.
The ITC is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the preservation, revitalization, and dissemination of classical Tibetan thought, 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.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
The mission of the Integrative Medicine Program is to engage patients with cancer and their families in becoming 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.
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 deselect 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).
Kent State University
The Kent Electrophysiological Neuroscience Laboratory (KENL) is an interdisciplinary consortium of faculty from the Departments of Biology, Psychology, and Sociology. Dr. Will Kalkhoff from Sociology initiated this multidisciplinary collaborative program of research unified by a shared interest in neuroscience to study basic, translational, and clinical aspects of normative and disordered biobehavioral functioning.The KENL was started with generous support from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Sociology at KSU. Our current research interests include mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, cognitive and affective neural bases and mechanisms of mental health, and learning processes, and the multi-level (neural and social) substrates of identity processes and social bond formation. One of the main threads tying our substantive interests together is an emphasis on assessing dynamic neurological processes, for which electroencephalography (EEG) is ideally suited. Compared to hemodynamic techniques (e.g., fMRI), EEG has higher temporal resolution (milliseconds, as opposed to seconds) and is thus especially useful for investigations of the time course of neural events in association with dynamically changing behavior and responses to stimuli. In short, the basic mission of our consortium is to elucidate biobehavioral markers via objective behavioral and electrophysiological (EEG) assessments to advance discovery and understanding of dynamic processes, develop collaborative partnerships, and acquire extramural funding.
Our lab consists of anthropologists dedicated to a multi-level, comparative biocultural approach to understanding the human condition, the bases of our similarities and differences, and the pathways to and consequences of human diversity. We are concerned about these issues not solely for their scientific significance, but also because we are convinced that such an approach makes a distinctive, substantial contribution to the enterprise of explaining and alleviating differential well-being. Therefore, we work on three scientific fronts: empirical research in the field and laboratory, method development, and integrative theory or model building and testing which ground both further research and applications to the conduct of human affairs. We also believe that the best science of this kind emerges from a cooperative, collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach that brings together the people and resources as required to match the nature and scope of the question under investigation.
University of Zürich, Switzerland
Researchers at the SNS lab explore the biological mechanisms that underlie decision making by combining cutting-edge brain imaging technologies with noninvasive 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.
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.
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, and 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 and the underlying cognitive processes subserved by neuronal circuits and ultimately by neurotransmitters, hormones, and genes.
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.
University of Miami
The University of Miami’s Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative (UMindfulness) is an inter-disciplinary collaboration across the University of Miami that brings together cutting-edge brain research and mindfulness/contemplative practice training. Contemplative training is offered in nonsectarian, accessible, and innovative ways to optimize performance, enhance wellness, and promote resilience. Our active research projects involve training military cohorts, University students, and medical, legal, and other professional groups to determine the basic brain mechanisms underlying contemplative practice. In addition, UMindfulness offers lecture series and workshops for students, staff, faculty and alumni of the University of Miami along with the broader South Florida Community to learn about and engage in mindfulness training. UMindfulness was formed in 2010 by Amishi Jha and Scott Rogers, who serve as its directors of Contemplative Neuroscience and of Programs and Training. UMindfulness is a joint collaboration of the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law, the Miller School of Medicine, Mailman Center for Child Development, Sylvestor Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Herbert Wellness Center, Counseling Center, and the Frost School of Music.
Naropa University is a Buddhist-inspired, student-centered liberal arts university in Boulder, Colorado. A recognized leader in contemplative education, Naropa’s undergraduate and graduate programs emphasize professional and personal growth, intellectual development, and contemplative practice. Through rigorous academics, faculty mentoring, contemplative practice, and community engagement, Naropa students develop the abilities to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to know their hearts and minds.
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 multidisciplinary 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.
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.
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 online and retrospective techniques.
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.
Kent State University
The Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation Laboratory (PERL) at Kent State University adopts an affective science perspective to the study of anxiety and mood disorders. Working at the interface of cognitive behavioral and emotion regulation approaches, we conduct survey, experimental, and treatment research to examine factors associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) including metacognitive factors (e.g., explanatory flexibility, decentering, rumination, worry), peripheral psychophysiology, and emerging work from affective neuroscience, utilizing neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques. Another focus of our lab is the development of treatments informed by affective and contemplative neuroscience findings that incorporate mindfulness meditation and other practices derived from Buddhist mental training exercises into Western psychosocial treatments.
University of Calgary Department of Oncology
The ultimate vision at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre is to provide seamless integrative evidence-based care to each cancer patient treated. Integrative oncology is a system of interdisciplinary care blended throughout cancer care as necessary for each person, employing a collaborative team approach that is patient-centered so that the patient’s needs and views dictate the course of care, not those of the practitioners. Treatments are meant to promote health and wellness, prevent disease, and bring out the innate healing capacity in each person.
University of Virginia
The Contemplative Science Center’s mission is to explore contemplative practices, values, ideas, and institutions historically and in contemporary times to better understand their diverse impacts, underlying mechanisms, and dynamic processes through analytical research and scholarship; as well as to help develop new applications and learning programs for their integration into varied sectors of our society. Our mandate is to pursue research, learning, and engagement related to contemplation across all schools and organizational units of the University of Virginia, and to become national and international leaders in this rapidly growing field of activity.
Wake Forest School of Medicine
The primary objective of Fadel Zeidan’s Brain Mechanisms of Pain and Health Laboratory at Wake Forest School of Medicine is to identify the active mechanisms supporting the self-regulation of health through a number of behavioral and cognitive approaches. We are particularly interested in determining the brain mechanisms supporting the modulation of experimentally induced and chronic pain by mindfulness meditation, placebo, and other non-pharmacological techniques. Our laboratory combines psychological assessments, pharmacologic antagonism, psychophysics, and functional neuroimaging to determine how mind-body approaches modulate pain and health.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The Zelazo Lab is located at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and is under the direction of Dr. Philip D. Zelazo. It is part of the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, which is co-directed by Dr. Zelazo and Dr. Stephanie Carlson. Our research focuses on the development and neural bases of executive function (the conscious regulation of thought, action, and emotion) in children, adolescents, and adults. Specific topics studied include the development of working memory and planned action in infancy, the effect of mindfulness meditation on cognition and emotion, and the way in which children’s emotional reactions can influence their problem solving. At the Zelazo Lab, we ensure that every study is comfortable and instructional for children. All of our studies are presented in the context of child-friendly games, and are not structured in pass-fail terms. Most games last for approximately one hour, and are played one-on-one with an experienced researcher. Children usually enjoy playing these games, and receive a small gift as a token of our appreciation. Parents will receive a gift card as well. In order to learn more about children and how they develop, we depend on the participation of parents and children from the community. During the past 15 years, thousands of children and parents have visited our lab to take part in our studies. Our findings have been published in scientific journals and the popular press, and have had an impact on theories of child development and the advice that professionals offer parents.
Education and Outreach
The ACMHE is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society that 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 it 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.
IMP is a nonprofit 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.
IONS 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.
University of California-Los Angeles
The mission of MARC is to foster mindful awareness across the life span 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 life span; 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.
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.
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.
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 Study and Practice
Through innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit, Omega provides hope and healing for individuals and society.
The Garrison Institute is a not-for-profit, nonsectarian 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 to build a more compassionate, resilient future.
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 loving-kindness (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.
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.
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.
San Francisco, CA
EarthRise is situated on the campus of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and is a semirural retreat center offering a variety of programs and multiday group retreats.
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.