Melissa holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Neuroscience, an endowed position at the Center for Healthy Minds and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research is focused on understanding the underlying biology of mind-brain-body interactions through which stress, emotion, and the immune system interact. She uses a wide range of brain imaging and biomolecular tools in her work. Contemplative interventions are an important aspect of this work, where the neural processing of stress and emotion are examined as modifiable targets for treatment of chronic inflammation. In more recent work, Melissa has begun to address questions related to the impact of inflammation in the body on brain health and long-term cognitive function.

This profile was last updated on February 14, 2023