“But how does meat get contents?” My favorite philosophy professor would repeatedly shout at our class. He was echoing the hard problem of consciousness – how can a physical substance such as the brain give rise to the beautifully diverse and colorful phenomenological experiences we enjoy as human beings? This question is part of the insatiable curiosity that led me to doctoral training in Clinical Psychology. To this project, I bring nearly nine years of experience from diverse research involvements gained across laboratories at the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin. To inform the contemplative aspects of this project, I have nurtured a yoga practice rooted in mindfulness for 8 years, and am a certified yoga teacher. There is much left to learn about the role of the body in the already complicated puzzle of brain-behavior connections. Somehow, the (as-of-yet) insurmountably complex constellation of neurons, glia, muscles, gut, and other physical matter (i.e., “meat”) inexplicably gives rise to the vast non-physical experiential contents of thoughts, feelings, motives, and sensations we know as human beings. Through a research career, I hope to continue to disentangle relationships between the mind, brain, and body to advance our understanding of emotion and stress. 

This profile was last updated on March 2, 2020

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