Judson Brewer

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD.

Director of Research, Center for Mindfulness
Associate Professor, Medicine and Psychiatry
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine
Research Affiliate, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

I received by BA in chemistry from Princeton University and my MD/PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, where my thesis work focused on molecular mechanisms of stress hormone regulation of the immune system using conditional knockout mouse models. After training in mindfulness meditation during medical and graduate school, I shifted my focus from animal models of stress, to the elucidation of neurobiological mechanisms underlying the interface between stress, mindfulness and the addictive process, and in developing effective means for the modulation of these processes to better treat substance use disorders and deliver mindfulness training.

My laboratory has developed and tested treatments that help individuals with substance use disorders (e.g. smoking) using mindfulness training. For example, we have found that mindfulness is twice as effective as leading treatments for smoking cessation, and that it moderates the decoupling of craving and smoking. We have gone on to develop web/app-based approaches as scalable solutions for smoking cessation, and are now testing their efficacy.

Additionally, my laboratory has studied the neurobiological mechanisms of meditation, finding that areas of the default-mode network (e.g. the posterior cingulate cortex) are specifically deactivated during different types of meditation. We are now using real-time fMRI neurofeedback to link subjective experience with brain activity, and are beginning to test EEG methods for these purposes.

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Suzanne Haber

Suzanne Haber PhD

Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
Professor, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Haber's laboratory investigates the neural network that underlies incentive-based learning and decision-making leading to the development of action plans. The cortico-basal ganglia system is at the center of this circuit and comprises a diverse group of structures involved in reward and motivation, cognition, and motor control. The consequence of basal ganglia dysfunction is emphasized in the range of diseases that involve it, including mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, drug abuse and addiction, and schizophrenia, and motor control disorders including Parkinson’s disease. One set of experiments in Dr. Haber's laboratory address the hypothesis that the cortico-basal ganglia network processes information through both parallel and integrative circuits. A second set of studies focus on the pathway trajectories from different prefrontal areas to their targets. A third set of experiments focus on which pathways and terminals fields are likely to be involved in the therapeutic effects of during deep brain stimulation (DBS). A fourth set of studies address the changes in terminal fields and white matter tracts during postnatal development.

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Mike Koenigs, PhD
Eric Nestler, MD, PhD

Brian Knutson, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Stanford University

My primary interest is in the neural basis of emotion. I believe that a certain class of neurotransmitters (the biogenic amines) can powerfully modulate emotional experience at specific brain locations. I have addressed this topic with progressively more intricate methods including self-report, measurement of nonverbal behavior, comparative ethology, psychopharmacology, and functional brain imaging. My long-term goal is to understand the neurochemical and neuroanatomical mechanisms responsible for emotional experience and to explore the implications of these findings for the assessment and treatment of clinical disorders of affect and addiction, as well as economic behavior.

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