The Mind & Life Institute is a non-profit institution dedicated to building a scientific understanding of the mind in order to reduce suffering and promote well-being. You can learn about the individuals stewarding the Institute by clicking on the tabs below.

In our continued commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and following best practices to support a thriving organization, Mind & Life is committed to increasing participation of individuals from culturally diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds. Former members of the Council on Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, along with others in the Mind & Life community, will serve as members across all of our committees and faculty in our programs.

Honorary Chairman

Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Executive Committee

Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, President

Raymond L. Gellein, Jr., MBAVice Chair and Treasurer

Carolyn Jacobs, PhD, Secretary

Thupten Jinpa, PhD, Chair

Board of Directors

Lisette Cooper, CFA, PhD
Athena Capital Advisors

Martin N. Davidson, PhD
University of Virginia

Sona Dimidjian, PhD
University of Colorado–Boulder

Raymond L. Gellein, Jr., MBA
RGB Capital Advisors

Barry Hershey, MFA

Carolyn Jacobs, PhD
Smith College School for Social Work, Dean Emerita

Thupten Jinpa, PhD
Institute for Tibetan Classics

Jack Kornfield, PhD
Spirit Rock Center

Aaron Stern
Academy for the Love of Learning, Founder and President


Adam Engle, JD, MBA (Chair/CEO Emeritus)

Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Francisco J. Varela, PhD (1946-2001)

Founding Stewards

Richard J. Davidson, PhD, Chief Scientific Advisor*

Daniel Goleman, PhD

Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD

Matthieu Ricard, PhD

*The Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) is an accomplished senior scientist who has a long history with the Mind & Life Institute and has made substantial contributions to contemplative science. The CSA serves an advisory role on science-related programmatic matters of the Institute.

Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, co-chair
Mind & Life Institute

Sarah Bowen, PhD
Pacific University

Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, PhD
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Elissa Epel, PhD co-chair
University of California–San Francisco

Wendy Hasenkamp, PhD
Mind & Life Institute

Lisbeth Nielsen, PhD
National Institute of Health *

Barbara (Bobbi) A.B. Patterson, PhD
Emory University

Robert Roeser, PhD
Pennsylvania State University

Fadel Zeidan, PhD
University of California–San Diego

Ed Taylor, PhD
University of Washington

Krista Weih
Mind & Life Institute

* Dr. Nielsen is serving in her personal capacity

2020 Summer Research Institute

Dusana Dorjee, PhD
University of York

Andrew Dreitcer, PhD
Claremont School of Theology

Daniel Irurah, PhD
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Yoona Kang, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Michael Lifshitz, PhD
Stanford University

Vaishali Mamgain, PhD
University of Southern Maine

Yoshio Nakamura, PhD
University of Utah

Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD
Naropa University

2019 PEACE Grants

Gaelle Desbordes, PhD, Chair
Grants Manager
Mind & Life Institute

Doris Chang, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology
The New School for Social Research

Paul Condon, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Southern Oregon University

Mark T. Greenberg, PhD
Bennett Chair of Prevention Research
Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center
Pennsylvania State University

Yoona Kang, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Communication Neuroscience Lab
University of Pennsylvania

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD
Assistant Professor
Emory University School of Medicine

Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD
Science Director
Greater Good Science Center
University of California–Berkeley

Christy Wilson-Mendenhall, PhD
Associate Scientist
Center for Healthy Minds
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Annemarie Gockel, PhD
Associate Professor
Smith College School for Social Work

2019 Varela Grants

Gaelle Desbordes, PhD, Chair
Grants Manager
Mind & Life Institute

Kirk Warren Brown, PhD
Associate Professor
Virginia Commonwealth University

Kathryn Devaney, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Harvard Medical School

Amy Finlay-Jones, PhD
Starlight Fellow
Telethon Kids Institute

James Floman, PhD
Associate Research Scientist
Yale School of Medicine

Kathleen Garrison, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Yale School of Medicine

Peter Grossenbacher, PhD
Naropa University

Yuki Imoto, D.Phil
Assistant Professor
Keio University

Laura Schmalzl, PhD
Associate Professor
Southern California University of Health Sciences

Nicholas Van Dam, PhD
Senior Lecturer
University of Melbourne

2019 Think Tanks

Gaelle Desbordes, PhD, Chair
Grants Manager
Mind & Life Institute

Kieran Fox, PhD
MD Candidate
School of Medicine
Stanford University

Richa Gawande, PhD
Research and Programs Manager
Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Cambridge Health Alliance

Kathleen Garrison, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Yale University

Bobbi Patterson, PhD
Professor of Pedagogy
Department of Religion
Emory University

Juliana Santoyo, MEd
Black Lotus Collective

Anthony Zanesco, PhD
Post-Doctoral Researcher
The Jha Lab
University of Miami