Persistent subjective states of anxiety or depression resulting from chronic stress, pain, or incidence of trauma, facilitate dynamic and iterative dysregulation across sensory-motor, emotional, and cognitive processes. These chronic maladaptive states increase the likelihood of poor health outcomes including immunodeficiency, inflammation, and psychopathology. Fortunately, a growing body of research suggests that certain forms of systematic mental training associated with mindfulness-based meditation and other wisdom-based contemplative practices can provide the requisite tools for improved self-awareness, self-regulation, prosocial behavior, and overall well-being.
Based on these observations, there are three main questions that drive my program of research and inquiry:
- Through mixed research methods of systems biology, neuroimaging, predictive computational modeling, connectomics, genomic and neuroendocrine science, innovation, cognitive-behavioral and first-person phenomenological analyses, can we identify the basic neuro-psycho-social mechanisms that contribute to adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in health settings?
- What are the basic developmental patterns of body-mind-brain changes that result from rigorous mental training in contemplative practices and establish the development of a flourishing constitution?
- How can innovation and technology, through biosensor, stimulation, psycholytic and psychedelic pharmacology, serve to enhance or augment mental health and well-being?