Dr. Andrew Newberg, MD, Neuroscientist and Director of Research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Jefferson University

Dr. Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist who studies the relationship between brain function and various mental states. He is a pioneer in the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field known as “neurotheology.” His research includes taking brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and trance states, in an attempt to better understand the nature of religious and spiritual practices and attitudes. Dr Newberg was featured in an episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.

Vivian Siegel, Lecturer in Scientific Communications, MIT

Vivian Siegel holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to her role at MIT, she served as Editor in Chief of Cell, Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, and Disease Models & Mechanisms, Executive Director of the Public Library of Science, and Executive Editor of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. She also served as Research Professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology and Founder of the Center for Science Communication at Vanderbilt University, and as Director of Scientific Education and Public Communication and then as Director of Education and Outreach at the Broad Institute.

Dr. Nicole Prause, PhD, Neuroscientist Researching Human Sexual Behavior, Founder of Liberos ​

Dr. Prause recieved her Doctorate in Clinical Science from Indiana University, Bloomington. After an internship in 2007, she started a tenure-track position at a small school at Idaho State University, left for a Research Scientist position at Mind Research Network, and ultimately landed at UCLA in the Department of Psychiatry. She has since founded an independent, grant-funded research institute, Liberos, in Los Angeles. The focus of Liberos is to identify the general health benefits of sexual stimulation. 

Greg Siegle, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburg School of Medicine ​

Dr Siegle’s research program examines neurophysiological substrates of cognition and emotion in depression and anxiety through the lifespan using self-report, behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging (fMRI) assessment, as well as computational modeling. A specific goal of this work is to better understand what cognitive and brain processes predict and change with recovery, and how to improve treatments by targeting these mechanisms more directly. The role of sustained emotional information processing (e.g., rumination) is a particular focus of this work.

Charles Raison, MD, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin

Charles Raison, MD, is the Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families and Professor, School of Human Ecology, and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI. Dr. Raison also serves as Director of Clinical and Translational Research for Usona Institute and as Director of Research on Spiritual Health for Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, GA. In addition, Dr. Raison has served as mental health expert for CNN.com for many years. Dr. Raison is internationally recognized for his studies examining novel mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of major depression and other stress-related emotional and physical conditions, as well as for his work examining the physical and behavioral effects of compassion training. More recently, Dr. Raison has taken a leadership role in the development of psychedelic medicines as potential treatments for major depression. The recipient of several teaching awards, Dr. Raison has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Raison received the Raymond Pearl Memorial Award from the Human Biology Association “in recognition of his contributions to our understanding of evolutionary biocultural origins of mental health and illness.” With Vladimir Maletic he is author of “The New Mind-Body Science of Depression” published by W.W. Norton in 2017. Dr. Raison serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.