Clifford Saron is a research scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain and MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999. In the early 1990s, he coordinated field research investigating Tibetan Buddhist mind training under the auspices of the private office of H. H. the Dalai Lama and the Mind & Life Institute. He has served on the Mind & Life Program and Research Council and been faculty at Mind & Life Summer Research Institutes in both Garrison, New York, and Chiemsee, Germany. Saron is principal investigator of the Shamatha Project, a mixed-methods multidisciplinary longitudinal investigation of the effects of long-term intensive meditation on physiological and psychological processes central to well- being, attention, emotion regulation, and health. It was conceived with and taught by Alan Wallace in collaboration with a large consortium of researchers at University of California, Davis and elsewhere. In 2012, Saron and his team were awarded the inaugural Templeton Prize Research Grant in honor of H. H. the Dalai Lama to continue this work. Recently, his group has also examined effects of one-month insight meditation retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Saron’s other research area focuses on uni- and multisensory processing in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to better understand individual differences in how these children experience their daily sensory environments. Saron is also part of a study at University of California, San Francisco of mindfulness-based interventions for mothers of children with ASD.
At the 2018 International Symposium for Contemplative Research, Mind & Life presented Saron with its inaugural Service Award.