FALL 2014

StuHameroffThursday, 20 November, 7pm
“Quantum brain vibrations – The intra-neuronal origin of consciousness”


For over 30 years Stuart Hameroff’s research has involved consciousness and Brain/Mind Science. MARGAM is pleased to have Dr. Hameroff join us this season for a talk on the ground-breaking theory of Orch-OR: the orchestrated objective reduction activity of the quantum state.

Dr. Hameroff received his BS degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his MD degree from Hahnemann University Hospital, where he studied before it became part of the Drexel University College of Medicine. After an internship at the Tucson Medical Center in 1973, he has spent his career at the University of Arizona, becoming professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Psychology and associate director for the Center for Consciousness Studies, both in 1999, and finally Emeritus professor for Anesthesiology and Psychology in 2003.

Stuart Hameroff MD
Professor, Anesthesiology and Psychology
Director, Center for Consciousness Studies
The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

To view Dr. Hameroff’s talk at Margam, please copy and paste this link to your browser




Werner DoyleMonday, 5 May, 7pm
“Networks and complex systems in relation to attention and meditation”
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Dr. Werner Doyle’s take on complexity comes from many years as a neurosurgeon and as a longtime Buddhist practitioner. Join us as Dr. Doyle explores and connects attention, meditation, graph theory, and complexity metrics as he presents his story of how he came to networks and complexity as a metric of well-being through his work with epilepsy.

Werner Doyle, M.D., is a neurosurgeon and a professor of neurosurgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. He specializes in epilepsy surgery and collaborates with neuroscientists at NYU studying brain mechanisms and understanding the etiologic substrates of the brain that cause epilepsy. His research interests include minimally invasive surgical approaches, computer applications to clinical neurosurgery, mathematical and computational applications to the treatment of epilepsy, and contemplative neuroscience. He is on the board of directors of Tricycle magazine and foundation.

Werner Doyle, MD
Neurosurgeon, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
NYU Langone Medical Center


SallyBThursday, 17 April, 7pm
“Meditation, Hypnosis, and Dissociation: Similarities & distinctions from a clinical perspective”
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Join us for a unique perspective and talk on the convergences and divergences of meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, dissociation, and psychology:

  • How do the different forms and practices of meditation connect and what are the cautions and considerations when recommending these practices to clients and patients?
  • What is “mindfulness,” really? Has it morphed into a confusing mish-mash of paying-attention-to-the-present-moment meanings?
  • What are the mental states associated with hypnosis? Are some of the various forms of meditation similar to dissociation? Why is it important for us to understand these similarities and differences in clinical practice and in research?
  • What can help bridge some gaps in our collective understanding of the nature of mind, improving the ways which we approach clinical practice and contemplative research interventions?

Ms. Bowden-Schaible is founder and Dharma leader of the Insight Community of Southern Maine. She is a psychotherapist in private practice and co-founder of Mind Meets Body Institute, LLC, an organization providing continuing education programs for mental health and healthcare professionals and educators integrating ancient wisdom with modern-day understanding and practices.

Sally Bowden-Schaible, LCPC, CCMHC
Founder & Director
Mind Meets Body Institute, Westbrook, ME


HakwanLThursday, 10 April, 7pm
“Sensory Metacognition & Conscious Awareness”
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Metacognition involves monitoring the effectiveness of one’s own ongoing cognitive processes. In psychological experiments, this can be reflected by one’s ability to place confidence ratings appropriately in each trial to indicate the likelihood of correct responses. Dr. Lau argues that 1) metacognition may reflect the subjective conscious experience in visual perception; 2) the neural mechanisms for visual and memory metacognition may be different, which means there may not be a single, domain-general self-monitoring system; 3) human metacognition is likely suboptimal from a strictly computational standpoint, and instead uses heuristical strategies to determine perceptual confidence.

Dr. Lau was born and raised in Hong Kong and is currently an associate professor of psychology at Columbia University. He got his doctorate from Oxford University, and has worked at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. In Fall 2014 he will be starting a new lab at the University of California – Los Angeles.

Hakwan Lau, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Columbia University


WendyHThursday, 6 March, 7pm
“Investigating mind wandering and attention during focused meditation”
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Dr. Hasenkamp’s talk will describe a line of research that seeks to incorporate first-person subjective input into the analysis of meditation-related brain activity and connectivity. Using fMRI, Dr. Hasenkamp’s lab developed a paradigm to leverage subjective reports of awareness of mind wandering during focused attention meditation, using these reports to drive data analysis. These findings will be placed in the context of our larger understanding of identified brain networks, and future directions and applications will be discussed.

Dr Hasenkamp received her PhD from Emory University in 2005. Her research examines the neural correlates of meditation, with a focus on the shifts between mind wandering and attention. She now serves as senior scientific officer at the Mind & Life Institute in Massachusetts.

Wendy Hasenkamp, PhD
Senior Scientific Officer, Mind & Life Institute, Massachusetts


TracyThursday, 5 December, 7pm
“Changing Minds at Concord High”
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(audio does not include the documentary film clip)

Dr. Dennis will discuss her recent project, an experiment that is the subject of “Changing Minds at Concord High,” a documentary about at-risk high school students in Staten Island working with scientists from Mind & Life Institute and Hunter College on a contemplative science experiment in their school.

Tracy Dennis is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College and in the Behavioral Neuroscience and Biopsychology Doctoral Program at The City University of New York. She uses the tools of psychology and neuroscience to study emotions and our ability to regulate emotions as core building blocks of our mental and physical health. Current research topics include: a novel intervention for anxiety that retrains patterns of attention to threat, a “stress vaccine” app, core neurobehavioral processes supporting our ability to regulate emotions, and mindfulness and relaxation techniques targeting at-risk teens to improve health and coping.

Tracy Dennis, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology Department
Director, Emotion Regulation Lab
Hunter College


NedThursday, 21 November, 7pm
“Conscious, Preconscious, and Unconscious”
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Does conscious perception have representational content? Or are the representations involved in perception all sub-personal underpinnings of perception rather than partly constitutive of perception itself? Is “unconscious perception” really perception? Is seeing always seeing-as? Is seeing-as always conceptual? Is perception a form of judgment? Must conscious perception be cognitively accessible to the subject? Is attention required for object perception or knowledge of the reference of perceptual demonstratives? These and other related philosophical issues are transformed by taking into account the science of perception.

There are reliably reproducible states that have little or no reportability but do not have many of the signature properties of unconscious states. This lecture discusses whether these states might be phenomenally conscious in the light of the close conceptual tie between conscious perception and first person authority.

Ned Block is the Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. Dr. Block works in philosophy of mind and foundations of neuroscience and cognitive science and is currently writing a book on attention. He is a past president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, a past Chair of the MIT Press Cognitive Science Board, and past President of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. The Philosophers’ Annual selected his papers as one of the “ten best” in 1983, 1990, 1995, 2002 and 2010. He is co-editor of The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (MIT Press, 1997). The first of two volumes of his collected papers, Functionalism, Consciousness and Representation, MIT Press came out in 2007.

Ned Block, PhD
Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science
New York University

PCondonThursday, 7 November, 7pm
“Meditation and Compassionate Response to Suffering”
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Paul Condon will talk about his recent compassion meditation research work which has been covered by the New York Times (The Morality of Meditation) and Radio Boston (Can Meditation Make us More Compassionate?)

Mr. Condon is a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in the Emotion and Social Cognition Lab. His research centers on the nature of emotion, compassion, and the social outcomes associated with contemplative practice and incorporates methods from social psychology and psychophysiology. Current projects follow two lines of inquiry. One theme focuses on the effects of specific emotional episodes (e.g., compassion, gratitude) and sustained contemplative practice (e.g., mindfulness- and compassion-based meditation) on social behavior and emotional experience. A second theme focuses on understanding the nature of compassion. Viewing compassion as a latent construct that emerges from the combination of affective experience and conceptual processes, he is particularly interested in the ongoing dialogue between science and contemplative traditions and seeks to integrate contemplative models of compassion in his work. These two themes are united by the aim to understand strategies for improving human physical and emotional well-being.

Paul Condon, MA
Doctoral candidate, Northeastern University
Emotion and Social Cognition Lab


Stephen FlemingThursday, 17 October, 7pm
“Higher-order aspects of cognition: metacognition and awareness”
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Humans have a remarkable capacity to become aware of ongoing cognition, often dubbed “metacognition” or “thinking about thinking.” For example, in decision-making, we may fluctuate in our confidence in the right course of action, realize we have made an error, and potentially regret a choice we make in the future. These higher-order aspects of cognition are central to our sense of self, and may go awry in psychiatric disorders. I will discuss the biological basis for metacognition in humans, and whether it is best understood as a single, domain-general ability or as multiple domain-specific components.

Dr. Fleming is a cognitive neuroscientist and Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Oxford and NYU. He investigates higher-order aspects of perception, decision-making and awareness in humans. He has a particular interest in extending computational models of the decision process to understand conscious awareness and metacognition. His research employs a range of experimental techniques in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, from psychophysics and eye-tracking to brain imaging and lesion studies.

Stephen Fleming, PhD
NYU Center for Neuroeconomics
Elusive Self blog:


VAGO_DavidThursday, 26 September, 7pm
“Modalities of Awareness: Mapping the Neurobiological Substrates of the Meditative Mind”
Audio recording not available for this talk

This talk will summarize a study that is part of a larger research initiative that aims to test the S-ART framework and provide a map to the meditative mind. Based in part on Buddhist canonical sources and in part on the extant contemplative and neuroscientific literature, a theoretical framework of self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART) has been proposed to illustrate the impact of mindfulness-based mental training techniques on reducing biases related to self-processing and sustaining a healthy mind. Neural substrates supporting specific modalities of mindfulness practice in expert meditators are identified. fMRI protocol was used to contrast a default, non-meditation state with 4 modality-specific states of mindfulness meditation that include concentration on the absence of mental imagery, inner speech, viscerosomatic and emotional sensations.

Download Dr. Vago’s notes for this talk and full bio

Dr. Vago is an associate psychologist in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and instructor at Harvard Medical School. David completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the department of Psychiatry at BWH, the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological and Social Psychiatry, and at the Utah Center for Mind-Body Interactions within the University of Utah Medical School. He have previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow. David received his Bachelors Degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester and Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences with a specialization in learning and memory from the department of Psychology, University of Utah.

David R. Vago, Ph.D.
Associate psychologist, Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Instructor in psychiatry, Harvard Medical School



LMelloniThursday, 25 April, 7pm
“The effects of short- and long-term experience of meditation on conscious perception”
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Lucia Melloni, PhD
Senior Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Neuroscientist, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research


bossis_photoThursday, 11 April, 7pm
“Psilocybin and Mystical Experience: Implications for the Treatment of Existential and Psycho-Spiritual Distress in End-of-Life Illness”

Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor;
Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center-Bellevue Hospital
NYU’s Psilocybin and Cancer research project


PAT_SHARP_PICThursday, 7 March, 7pm
“Neural Synchrony, Luminosity, and Bliss: A Very Speculative Theory for the Neural Correlates of the Buddhist Path to Enlightenment”
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Patricia E. Sharp, PhD
Neurophysiologist; Professor, Bowling Green State University


Berlin-webThursday, 21 February, 7pm
“The Neural Basis of the Dynamic Unconscious”
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Heather Berlin, PhD
Cognitive Neuroscientist; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience – Mount Sinai School of Medicine


JHD_NVD-300x197Thursday, 31 January, 7pm
“Alert and Balanced: Empirical operationalization of an early Buddhist model of mindfulness”
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Jake H. Davis
Doctoral candidate -Philosophy and Cognitive Science
Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Visiting Scholar – Psychiatry Department at Brown University

Nicholas Van Dam
Doctoral candidate – Clinical Psychology PhD Program
University at Albany, State University of New York.


FALL 2012

Thursday, 15 November, 7pm
“Changes in brain activation after eight weeks of training in meditative practices: Comparing mindful-attention meditation and compassion meditation”
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Gaëlle Desbordes, PhD
Research Fellow – Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging,
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.


Thursday, 11 October, 7pm
“Consciousness Without First-Order Representations”
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Richard Brown, PhD
Associate Professor
Philosophy Program
LaGuardia Community College
Philosophy Sucks!


Thursday, 27 September, 7pm
“Training the Mind and Opening the Heart: Longitudinal Studies of Meditation and Psilocybin”
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Katherine MacLean, PhD
Instructor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Wednesday, 6 June, 7:00 – 9:00pm
The Nature of Mind: Clear Light Awareness
A discussion and panel exploring implications for scientific research into consciousness and wellbeing
Click for audio of this panel discussion

With panelists:
TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE, Founder and spiritual director, Ligmincha Institute

ROBERT THURMAN, PhD, President, Tibet House, U.S.; Jey Tsong Kappa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies, Columbia University

JONATHAN SHEAR, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University

Organized and moderated by: ZORAN JOSIPOVIC, PhD, Founding Director, Nonduality Institute; Principal Investigator & Director, Contemplative Science Lab–New York University



Thursday, 3 May, 7:00pm
A Complexity Theory Approach to Consciousness: Panpsychism on the Rise?
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Neil Theise, MD
Pathology and Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Senior student of Roshi Enkyo O’Hara at the Village Zendo


Thursday, 19 April, 7:00pm
The Question of Self: A Phenomenology of Nonduality
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Author of Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy; and Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution


Thursday, 29 March, 7:00pm
Craving and the Regulation of Craving
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Hedy Kober, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology
Director of Research
Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, Yale University


bjbThursday, 16 February, 7:00pm
Fringe Consciousness, Subtle States, and Moments of Transcendence
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Senior Fellow in Theoretical Neurobiology, The Neurosciences Institute


Thursday, 26 January, 7:00pm
Neurobiological Models of Mindfulness
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David Vago, PhD
Director, FNL – CACN Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School


FALL 2011

FadelMindandLife1 December 2011
Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D
“Brief Mindfulness-Based Mental Training Improves Health Outcomes: Insights from the Brain”

Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Wake Forest University School of Medicine


zoran-117 November 2011
Zoran Josipovic, PhD
“Influence of Meditation on Anti-Correlated Networks in the Brain”
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Zoran Josipovic, PhD
Director, Contemplative Science Lab
Psychology Department and Center for Neural Science, New York University


JonathanShear3 November 2011
Jonathan Shear, PhD
“Meditation research: Distinctions, commonalities, and collaborative research”
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Jonathan Shear, PhD
Affiliated Associate Professor of Philosophy
Virginia Commonwealth University


cathykerr29 September 2011
Catherine Kerr, PhD
“Starting with the body – The neuroscience of somatosensory attention in contemplative and mind-body practice”
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Catherine Kerr, PhD
Director, Translational Neuroscience Contemplative Studies Initiative
Brown University



HedyJudson27 April 2011
Judson Brewer, MD, PhD & Hedy Kober, PhD
“Please pay attention now (it may change your brain): differences in the default mode network in experienced meditators”

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Medical Director
Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic

Hedy Kober, MA, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Director of Research
Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic


Britta10 March 2011
Britta Hölzel, PhD
“Mindfulness Practice and Grey Matter”

Britta Hölzel, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Division Psychiatric Neuroscience, Lazar Lab
Massachusetts General Hospital


16 February 2011
Clifford Saron, PhD
“The Shamata Project”

Clifford Saron, PhD
Center for Mind and Brain
University of California-Davis


26 January 2011
Pilar Jennings, PhD
“Buddhism and Psychoanalysis in Conversation”
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Pilar Jennings, PhD
Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion


FALL 2010

8 December 2010
Willoughby Britton, PhD
“Adverse Effects and Difficult Stages of the Contemplative Path”

Willoughby Britton, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Brown University Medical School
Director of Research, Brown University Contemplative Studies Initiative


3 November 2010
William Bushell, PhD
“Buddhist Emptiness as a Scientific Question: Can ‘Yogic Direct Perception of Subtle Moment-to-Moment Impermanence’ Be Explained by Attention-Driven Neuroplastic Changes in Sensory-Perceptual Systems?”

William Bushell, PhD
Biological Anthropology, MIT
Director of East-West Research, Tibet House, U.S.


14 October 2010
Barry Cohen, PhD
“The Motor Theory of Voluntary Thinking”

Barry Cohen, PhD
Director of MA Program
Department of Psychology
New York University


29 September 2010
Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD
“Effects of Contemplative Self-Healing on Quality of Life” [download paper]

Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD
Director, Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science,
Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Center for Integrative Medicine
Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies



4 May 2010
Neil Theise, MD
“Stem Cells, Complexity, and the Science of Being”

Neil Theise, MD
Pathology and Medicine
Beth Israel Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine


26 April 2010
Sebastian Watzl
“Attention as Structuring of the Stream of Consciousness”

Sebastian Watzl
Columbia University

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