Collaborators

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Scott Anderson, BS

Founder, YogAutism

Scott Anderson received his BS in Physics several years after he began teaching yoga. In the intervening years, Scott has deeply explored the interface of body and mind through seated meditation and the physical practices of yoga postures and breathing. His current research focuses on yoga's potential to facilitate down-regulation of the autonomic nervous system, and techniques to make these benefits accessible to diverse populations. Scott is the founder of YogAutism (formerly known as Spectrum Yoga Therapy) which bridges the communities of yoga practitioners and those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. More information can be found at YogAutism.org. More information on Scott can be found at AlignmentYoga.com.

Ruth Benca, PhD

Ruth Benca, MD/PhD

Faculty member, School of Medicine and Public Health, UW-Madison

Dr. Ruth Benca is a professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a past president of the Sleep Research Society and the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. A frequently invited speaker in the area of sleep disorders, she is author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and abstracts. She also has reviewed manuscripts for Sleep, Science, the Journal of Neuroscience, and Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Benca is certified by the American Board of Sleep Disorders Medicine and sees patients in the UW Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center as well as the Depression Treatment Program.

Rasmus Birn, PhD

Rasmus Birn, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Physics, UW-Madison

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Dr. Birn is an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His background is in MRI physics with most of his previous research focused on improving the usefulness of functional MRI. His research also has involved developing new imaging strategies and post-processing techniques to reduce artifacts resulting from task-induced subject motion; understanding the dynamics of the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) fMRI signal; and reducing the influence of physiological noise in estimates of functional connectivity. His goal at UW is to extend this methodological work to allow us to reliably measure the changes in functional connectivity during childhood and adolescence.

Katherine Bonus MA, M REd

Katherine Bonus MA, M REd

Manager and Instructor, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program

Integrative Medicine, UW Health

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Katherine Bonus leads UW Health’s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR). She began practicing meditation in 1976 and has studied and trained in both Christian and Buddhist contemplative traditions, obtaining two master’s degrees – in religious education and in speech pathology. Katherine founded the Mindfulness Program at UW Health in 1993. She completed the professional training program and the teacher developmental intensive program at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Under her supervision, the mindfulness program has collaborated in the study of the impact of meditation on educators, medical students, and people with health and stress concerns. Committed to supporting mindfulness in the practice of medicine, in 2005 the mindfulness program invited collaboration with UW Health Integrative Medicine in the creation of Mindfulness Based Integrative Medicine Retreats for healthcare staff and all people.

William W. Busse, MD

William W. Busse, MD

Professor of Medicine, Section of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Dr. Busse has been on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin Medical School since 1974. He served as head of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Section from 1978 to 2004. His research interests have focused on the mechanism of asthma with particular interests in eosinophilic inflammation and rhinovirus-induced asthma for which he has had long-standing NIH support. He is also the Principal Investigator on an NIH-NIAID Inner City Asthma Consortium, which is funded to study immune-based therapy for asthma in inner city children.

Rahul Garg, PhD

Rahul Garg, PhD

Computational Biology Department

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, NY)

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Dr. Rahul Garg is exploring the use of high-performance computing to extract biomarkers from neuroimaging data. He holds a PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, MS from University of California at Berkeley and B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He is developing algorithms to characterize brain dynamics from fMRI data using functional connectivity, Granger causality analysis and other machine learning techniques. His present work is focused on reconstruction for the HRRT (PET) scanner. Prior to this, he was manager of the Blue Gene system software team at IBM India research lab. He has published several papers in reputed international conferences and journals. His work on enhancing the performance of Blue Gene family of supercomputers enabled the Blue Gene installations at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, USA and the Argonne National Lab, USA, to win the prestigious HPC challenge awards for four years in a row (from 2005 to 2008).  In addition to photography and Indian classical music, he is also interested in the use of yoga and meditation to make a difference in the lives of people.

Perla Kaliman, PhD

Perla Kaliman, PhD

Department of Clinical and Experimental Neuroscience

Institute of Biomedical Research, August Pi i Suner (IDIBAPS)

Barcelona, Spain

Dr. Kaliman holds a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, specializing in protein structure and function relationships. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Nice (France) and at the Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona (Spain), where her work focused on cell signaling in differentiation and metabolism. She spent one year as invited researcher at the School of Medicine, University of California San Diego. Since 2006 she has served as an associate professor at the Institute of Biomedical Research, August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) in Barcelona. Combining her expertise in cellular and molecular biology with her interest in preventive medicine, Dr. Kaliman's current research is aimed at identifying molecular biomarkers associated with adaptive physiological changes. She investigates the effect of behavioral interventions (voluntary exercise in rodents and nutrition and meditation in humans) on the epigenetic regulation of processes such as oxidative stress and inflammation, which are at the root of most chronic and aging-related diseases.

Jack Nitschke, PhD

Jack Nitschke, PhD

Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, UW-Madison

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Dr. Jack Nitschke is a neuroscientist, clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Wisconsin. His research centers on the neuroscience of human emotion, anxiety, and depression, with a primary emphasis on anxiety disorders. His studies use clinical and nonclinical samples and employ an array of MRI methodologies alongside the measurement of behavior, genetics, and peripheral psychophysiology. With trainees and staff in his lab, he has developed a laboratory-based model of anxiety that targets anticipatory processes preceding a range of emotional stimuli. Other prominent research interests include the power of expectancy and positive emotion.  Dr. Nitschke is co-leading the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds’ Veterans Health and Wellness Study.

Emma Seppala, PhD

Emma Seppala, PhD

Associate Director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neuroscience

Dr. Emma Seppala is the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. She is also a research scientist and honorary fellow at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, UW-Madison. She holds a PhD in Psychology from Stanford University. Originally from Paris, France, she speaks five languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Her areas of expertise are health psychology, well-being, and resilience. She has examined the impact of meditation on happiness, social connection, and compassion. She has also investigated the effects of yoga-based interventions for combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the Veterans Health and Wellness Study.

Kurt Squire, PhD

Kurt Squire, PhD

Professor of Digital Media in Curriculum and Instruction; and Co-director of the Games+Learning+Society Center

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Squire is a Professor of Digital Media in Curriculum and Instruction, and Co-Director of the Games+Learning+Society Center within the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Squire is the author or editor of three books, and more than 75 publications on learning with digital media. Squire is the recipient of an NSF CAREER grant, as well as grant support from the NSF, NIH, Department of Education, MacArthur, AMD and Gates Foundations, and has created active partnerships with companies such as Microsoft.

Constance Steinkuehler, PhD

Constance Steinkuehler, PhD

Associate Professor in Digital Media and Co-director of the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Center

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Steinkuehler is an Associate Professor in Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-directs the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Center. Her research is on cognition and learning in commercial entertainment games and games for impact. In 2011-2012, she served as senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where she advised on national initiatives related to games for impact. Current interests include assessment and learning analytics in areas such as collective problem solving, digital and print literacy, informal scientific reasoning, and pop cosmopolitanism. Her work has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation. In 2009, she helped author, as one of nine committee members, the National Academies of Science report entitled Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations, and Education and in 2011 she edited the volume Games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age in the Cambridge University Press series “Learning by Doing.”

Giulio Tononi, MD, PhD

Giulio Tononi, MD, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry, UW-Madison

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Dr. Giulio Tononi received his medical degree and specialized in psychiatry at the University of Pisa, Italy. After serving as a medical officer in the Army, he obtained a PhD in neuroscience as a fellow of the Scuola Superiore, based on his work on sleep regulation. From 1990 to 2000 he was associated with The Neurosciences Institute, first in New York and then in San Diego. He is currently Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is studying consciousness and its disorders as well as the mechanisms and functions of sleep. In his work on consciousness, Dr. Tononi has addressed the problem of how the activities of functionally specialized areas of the brain can be integrated to give rise to a unified conscious experience. This work has recently led to the formulation of the information integration theory of consciousness. His group is currently investigating some of the predictions of the theory, with particular emphasis on the breakdown of information integration in various stages of sleep and in brain disorders such as schizophrenia.

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