Faculty 2020

  • Micah Gallen Allen
    Micah Gallen Allen Aarhus University and Cambridge University - United Kingdom + Denmark
    Micah Gallen Allen

    As an undergraduate I studied experimental psychology at the University of Central Florida, and worked together with Shaun Gallagher in the interdisciplinary application of philosophy, phenomenology, and experimental psychology to the embodied self.

    In 2012, I completed a PhD in Neuroscience at Aarhus University within the Interacting Minds Centre, where I worked with Chris Frith and Andreas Roepstorff to investigate how mindfulness-based stress reduction impacts cognitive control and affective neural processing.

    From 2013 – 2018 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow jointly in the FIL and ICN at University College London, where I worked with Professor Geraint Rees and Karl J. Friston to develop embodied predictive processing models of metacognitive inference. After leaving UCL, I took up my current position as a Research Associate at Cambridge Psychiatry, where together with Paul Fletcher I am investigating clinical and surgical disruptions of brain-body signalling.

    In the spring of 2019, I have taken up joint positions as an Associate Professor at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), and a visiting professorship at Cambridge Psychiatry.   

  • Michel  Bitbol
    Michel Bitbol CNRS/Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris - France
    Michel Bitbol

    Michel Bitbol is researcher at CNRS/Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France. He received a M.D., a Ph.D. in physics and a “Habilitation” in philosophy. After a start in scientific research, he turned to philosophy of science, editing texts by Erwin Schrödinger and formulating a neo-kantian philosophy of quantum mechanics.

    He then studied the relations between physics and the philosophy of mind, in collaboration with Francisco Varela, and drew a parallel between Buddhist dependent arising and non-supervenient relations in quantum physics. He also developed a first-person conception of consciousness expressed from the standpoint of an experience of meditation.

    More recently, he engaged a debate with the philosophical movement called “speculative realism”, from the same standpoint.

    Michel Bitbol is a member of the Mind & Life Europe Association.

  • Asaf  Bachrach
    Asaf Bachrach Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris - France
    Asaf Bachrach

    Asaf is a practicing cognitive neuroscientist (PhD 2008, MIT) at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). His research topics include  language (syntax, brain imaging of naturalistic language comprehension) and dance (performance, spectating, joint improvisation, new technologies, labodanse.org). He is currently leading an intervention project on the effect of dance improvisation on the ecology of attention in school and an interdisciplinary project (Articulations) on multi-user movement improvisation in Virtual Reality. He has organized a number of indisciplinary events around dance, improvisation and cognition bringing together scientists, movement practitioners, anthropologists and philosophers. He is a member for the new ArTec graduate program in the university Paris 8 where he is taking part in shaping the recherche-creation program.

    Asaf has been practicing contact improvisation (CI, a contemporary dance technique) as well as other types of improvisation techniques (Butoh, tuning score...) since 1994. He studied in Tel Aviv, New York, Paris and Boston. Among his most influential professors are Steve Paxton, Kirsty Simson, Lisa Nelson and Min Tanaka. Since 2000, he has taught in Europe, in the USA, in Buenos Aires and in Israel. In 2012, he organized an international conference in Paris around CI and ‘mindfulness (http://mindthepoint.wordpress.com/). He is the co-founder of the ME-lieu performance collective (2015-2016).

    Since 2016 he is a certified Rolfing® practitioner, a student of Hubert Godard. Asaf has been co-leading with Matthieu Gaudeau, since 2013 of the bodylab and the F.A.R nomadic somatics school, a trans-somatic (Feldenkrais, Alexander, Rolfing and CI) experiential research group.

  • Ven. Aileen  Barry
    Ven. Aileen Barry Australia/Ireland
    Ven. Aileen Barry

    Aileen Barry was born in Ireland, raised in a Catholic family, trained in Psychology, subsequently worked with vulnerable families in London and completed training there in Family Therapy. Personal illness drove her to seek treatment in alternative medicines whose success led her to take up a formal training in Homeopathy. With an opportunity to visit Australia in the late 90s she took advantage of the journey to spend time in India en route, to pursue further training in Homeopathy. There, she encountered Tibetan Buddhism and despite her misgivings about taking on any religious system, found the teachings to offer a very sound methodology to explore and understand the mind.

    This led to her eventually taking ordination and she has been a nun for more than 16 years now. In that time, she has lived and worked within various Buddhist Centres, worked within primary schools, visited prisons for several years, was part of the core organizing team for three of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visits to Australia. She spent eight years living in India, as personal assistant to an International Buddhist Teacher, based at a Monastic Institute. In her role as Assistant she has traveled extensively, working closely with individuals and communities across a broad range of cultures around the globe. More recently, she is striving to spend more time in study and meditation practice, balancing this with continued work serving communities .

  • Giovanna  Colombetti
    Giovanna Colombetti Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at Exeter University - United Kingdom
    Giovanna Colombetti

    Giovanna Colombetti is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology of the University of Exeter (UK). Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy of cognitive science (of situated cognition in particular), philosophy of emotion, phenomenology, and material culture studies. After getting a DPhil from the University of Sussex in 2004, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Universities of York (Canada), Trento, and Harvard. Since 2007 she has worked and lived in Exeter, temporarily visiting research centres in Europe, Australia, and Asia.

    In 2010-2014 she led a project funded by the European Research Council on embodiment and affectivity, and wrote The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind (MIT Press, 2014). Since then, she has worked on the notion of “situated affectivity” and is currently writing a book on this topic. She is also a qigong instructor. 

    Personal webpage: http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/sociology/staff/colombetti/

    Publications page: https://sites.google.com/view/giovannacolombetti-pages/publications

  • Luisa  Damiano
    Luisa Damiano Philosophy of Science at University of Messina - Italy
    Luisa Damiano

    Luisa Damiano (Ph.D. in Epistemology of Complex Systems) is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Messina (Italy), where she coordinates the Research Group on Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial (RG-ESA).

    Her main research fields are: Epistemology of the Sciences of Complex Systems; Epistemology of the Cognitive Sciences and Philosophy of Mind, with a focus on Cognitive Extension, Minimal Cognition, Inter-subjective Cognition, Embodiment and Enaction; Philosophy of Biology, with a focus on Self-organization, Autopoiesis, Minimal Life, Origins of Life; Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial, with a focus on the Synthetic Modeling of Life and Cognition, in particular in Synthetic Biology and in Cognitive, Developmental and Social Robotics.

    On these topics she wrote many articles, published two books (Unità in dialogo, Mondadori, Milano 2009; Living with robots, with P. Dumouchel, Harvard University Press, 2017) and co-edited several journal special issues. Her philosophical exploration of the above mentioned domains of contemporary science is based on ongoing collaborations with scientific teams (e.g., University of Salento, Italy, and ELSI, Japan, SB-AI Project; Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Kyoto, Japan, Artificial Empathy Project).

  • Hsuan-Hsiu  Hung
    Hsuan-Hsiu Hung Resident artist - Estonia
    Hsuan-Hsiu Hung

    Hsuan-Hsiu Hung is a dance and movement artist from Taiwan. She comes from a visual art background with a B.F.A from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Over time, because of her personal practice of Qi Gong and dance, her work gradually evolved into an interdisciplinary practice which crosses over visual and movement, and contemplative art. She has received modern dance training at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and obtained an M.A. in Creative Practice from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She has studied with a Qi Gong master in Taiwan for over ten years.

    In Taiwan, she has worked as an artist in residence in school, collaborating with teachers to develop projects that incorporate both visual and movement art in the learning process. She has presented her dance works in New York and in London. In Europe, she has been invited to teach in dance festivals as well as in meditation retreats where movement is practised as a way to work with the many layers of our self. 

    Her current research Gestures of Offering explores the improvisational nature of encounters within a context of contemplative movement practice. It is inspired by the love of tea ceremonies and the movement rituals in Buddhist practice.

    website: www.dancinginart.com

  • J. Kevin  O'Regan
    J. Kevin O'Regan SCIRE, CNRS & Université Paris Descartes Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition Center - France
    J. Kevin O'Regan

    Kevin O'Regan is emeritus ex-director of the Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS, Université Paris Descartes. After studying theoretical physics at Sussex and Cambridge Universities, Kevin moved to Paris in 1975 to work in experimental psychology at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique. Following his Ph.D. on eye movements in reading he showed the existence of an optimal position for the eye to fixate in words.

    His interest in the problem of the perceived stability of the visual world despite eye movements led him to question established notions of the nature of visual perception, and to discover, with collaborators, the phenomenon of "change blindness". This work then led him to propose a "sensorimotor" theory of phenomenal consciousness that he described in his 2011 book: "Why red doesn't sound like a bell: Understanding the feel of consciousness".

    In 2013 he obtained a five year Advanced ERC grant to explore the implications of sensorimotor theory to sensory substitution, pain, color, space perception, developmental psychology and robotics. Currently, within a european FETopen project GoalRobots, he is studying how young infants learn the structure of their bodies.

    Most recently Kevin O'Regan has become concerned by the ethical implications of his work on consciousness, in particular when applied to A.I.

    website: http://nivea.psycho.univ-paris5.fr

  • Giuseppe Pagnoni
    Giuseppe Pagnoni University of Modena and Reggio Emilia - Italy
    Giuseppe Pagnoni

    Giuseppe Pagnoni is Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. After a Master in Physics, he completed a PhD in Neuroscience and has worked for several years in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at Emory University, Atlanta (GA), USA.

    He has led and collaborated to neuroimaging studies on diverse topics including reward processing, the interaction of immune and brain function, social cognition, intrinsic brain activity, pain processing, mental effort, meditation. He is currently interested in the application of the predictive coding framework to the study of contemplative practices.

    Giuseppe Pagnoni is a member of the Mind & Life Europe association.

  • Andreas  Roepstorff
    Andreas Roepstorff Culture and Society & Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University - Denmark
    Andreas Roepstorff

    Andreas Roepstorff is a professor in cognition, communication and culture at the department of Culture and Society and the department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark. He works at the interface between anthropology, cognitive science and neuroscience, ans is equally interested in the workings of the mind and brain, and in how cognitive science and brain imaging, as fields of knowledge production, relate to other scientific and public fields. He has formal training in social anthropology and in neurobiology and has published both within these disciplines as well as in various collaborations across other fields.

    He is the director of the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University and is involved in a number of transdisciplinary collaborations, focusing on aspects of human interaction. He has a long-standing research interest in cognitive aspects of contemplative practices.

    Andreas Roepstorff serves also as a member of the Mind & Life Europe board and the MLE Association.

  • Donata  Schoeller
    Donata Schoeller University of Koblenz, Max-Weber-Kolleg at University of Erfurt - Switzerland
    Donata Schoeller

    Donata Schoeller is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Koblenz, a fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, and a guest professor of philosophy at the University of Iceland. Her research focuses on an embodied and enactive approach to meaning and its implications on the methods of philosophy, which has led her to co-initiate and manage the international research project Embodied Critical Thinking (ect.hi.is).

    Among her recent publications are Close Talking: Erleben zu Sprache bringen, (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019), Saying What We Mean, ed. with Ed Casey, (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2017), and Thinking Thinking, ed. with Vera Saller, (Freiburg: Alber Verlag, 2016). On account of her earlier work (PhD) on Meister Eckhart and Jakob Boehme, she continues to partake in research groups, conferences and publications on German mysticism and its philosophical impact. As a trainer of the philosophical mindfulness practices of Focusing and Thinking-at-the-Edge, she teaches at different institutes, academies and universities in Europe, the US and Israel.

    Donata is also a passionate translator of the work of the philosopher Eugene Gendlin, as well as of the poet Silja Walter. Last year, she was active in the scientific board of the WHO conference on Mental Health and Meaningful Life in Bratislava, and currently very much enjoys the inspirational learning as an association member of Mind & Life Europe. She is enriched by three rather grown up daughters and lives in (and on her way to) Erfurt, Koblenz and Zurich.  

     

  • Jun Tani
    Jun Tani Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - Japan
    Jun Tani

    Jun Tani received the D.Eng. degree from Sophia University, Tokyo in 1995. He started his research career with Sony Computer Science Lab. in 1993. He became a Team Leader of the Laboratory for Behavior and Dynamic Cognition, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Saitama, Japan in 2001. He became a Professor with the Electrical Engineering Department, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea in 2012.

    He is currently a Full Professor with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan. His current research interests include cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, phenomenology, complex adaptive systems, and robotics.

    He is an author of “Exploring Robotic Minds: Actions, Symbols, and Consciousness as Self-Organizing Dynamic Phenomena." published from Oxford Univ. Press in 2016.  

    website: https://groups.oist.jp/cnru  

     

  • Father Francis Tiso
    Father Francis Tiso Diocese of Isernia-Venafro - Italy
    Father Francis Tiso

    Father Francis V. Tiso was Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2004 to 2009, where he served as liaison to Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Sikhs, and Traditional religions as well as the Reformed confessions. 

    Before coming to the USCCB, Father Tiso was assigned to the Archdiocese of San Francisco where he served as Parochial Vicar of St. Thomas More Church and Chaplain at San Francisco State University and the University of California Medical School. He was also Visiting Professor in the Archdiocesan School of Pastoral Leadership, where he taught courses in Foundational Theology.  He also served as Parochial Vicar in Eureka, CA and in Mill Valley, CA.

    A New York native, Father Tiso holds the A.B. in Medieval Studies from Cornell University. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude) at Harvard University and holds a doctorate from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary where his specialization was Buddhist studies. He translated several early biographies of the Tibetan yogi and poet, Milarepa, for his dissertation on sanctity in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. He has led research expeditions in South Asia, Tibet and the Far East, and his teaching interests include Christian theology, history of religions, spirituality, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.

    Father Tiso is a priest of the Diocese of Isernia-Venafro, Italy, where he now serves as chaplain to the migrant camps in the Province of Isernia. He is Diocesan Delegate for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs. He was also chaplain of the well-known Hermitage of Saints Cosmas and Damian at Isernia from 1988 to1998. He is founder and president of the Association "Archbishop Ettore Di Filippo", which offers legal, educational, medical, and spiritual support to migrants.

    In 1995 Father Tiso was invited to accompany Cardinal Francis Arinze, then head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to a dialogue with Buddhist leaders in Taiwan. He has traveled extensively in India, Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, Japan, and Bangladesh.

    Father Tiso has written and lectured widely. He is the recipient of grants from the American Academy of Religion, the American Philosophical Society, the Palmers Fund in Switzerland, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, CA. He is a musician and paints in acrylics and watercolors.

    His research on Milarepa, Liberation in One Lifetime, was published in 2014, and he has recently published an article on Milarepa’s teachings on the intermediate state (the “bardo”). Tiso’s most recent book, Rainbow Body and Resurrection, explores the background to the manifestation of postmortem dissolution of the body in the case of Khenpo A Cho in 1998 in eastern Tibet.

    Fr. Tiso has been translating practice texts from the Milarepa lineage in the 12th century, and has recently participated in a retreat in northern Nepal with Bon po yogis whose practices aim at the rainbow body attainment.

  • Matthias  Staber
    Matthias Staber Tibetcenter Austria - Austria
    Matthias Staber

    After completing high school and a two-year course on painting and making jewelry, Matthias decided to travel to India in search of Buddhist wisdom. After spending several months in the Himalayas he met one of his main Buddhist teachers, the Ven. Wangdor Rinpoche, in the small Himalayan town of Rewalsar (Tibetan: Tso Pema). He started to accumulate the preliminary practices while receiving teachings on Dzogchen and Mahamudra him, a cave-yogi who spend most of his live in retreat. Rinpoche encouraged him to learn Tibetan saying, that it would be very beneficial. Receiving more teachings, doing meditation retreats and becoming proficient in Tibetan became his main objective for the next 8 years.

    He spend these years traveling between India, Nepal and his home country Austria, while deepening his practice and study of Tibetan Buddhism (in the attached files is a list of teachings, transmission and empowerments he received so far). After approximately five years of studying the Tibetan language, he was proficient enough to receive teachings directly in Tibetan and to start translating for masters of the Dzogchen and Mahamudra lineages.

    In 2017, after hearing that the Ven. Geshe Tenzin Dhargye was in search of an assistant and full time translator, he decided to go back to Europe in order to assist Geshe Tendhar in his activities. He now prepares teaching materials for Geshe la, translates classical Buddhist texts and Geshe la’s teachings. Geshe Tendhar is the director of Tibetcenter Austria, the biggest institute of H.H. Dalai Lama in Austria (https://www.tibetcenter.at/en/home-en/).

    In the summer of 2017, he also started to study western Philosophy academically in order to broaden his horizon, challenge his previous understanding of Buddhist Philosophy and to refine his terminology as a translator. He plans to finish his M.A. in the next couple of years, while at the same time working for Geshe Tendhar and the Tibetcenter.

     

  • Indira Thouvenin
    Indira Thouvenin CNRS Heudiasyc at University of Technology Compiègne, Sorbonne Universities - France
    Indira Thouvenin

    Indira Thouvenin is professor (enseignant chercheur contractuel HDR rang A) at the CNRS Heudiasyc UMR 7253 laboratory at UTC (University of Technology Compiègne - Sorbonne Universities). She obtained her PhD in Biophysics at University Pierre & Marie Curie in 1989 in the field of image processing for echocardiography, then she joined the Institut Image ENSAM (Chalon sur Saone) on 1998 to participate to new research activity on virtual reality and computer graphics. Since 2001 she is focused on informed virtual environment at CNRS Heudiasyc Lab with two axis i.e. gestural interaction and adaptive feedback in virtual and augmented environments. In particular she is the leader of the TRANSLIFE research program including an immersive room (CAVETM).

    She is currently has been chairwoman of AFRV (French society for virtual reality), member of the steering committee of CNRS research group IG-RV and program committee of numerous VR conferences. She has been supervisor of 12 PhDs

    She has contributed to the scientific study of informed virtual environments and to technical development in the field of  training applications with VR. She is a co founder of the company Reviatech.

    website: http://www.hds.utc.fr/~ithouven

     

  • Holger Yeshe
    Holger Yeshe Tergar Germany
    Holger Yeshe

    Born in Nürnberg, Germany, Holger Yeshe began practicing Buddhism in 1999. Since that time, he has studied and practiced extensively in both the Theravadan and Tibetan Buddhist lineages. In 2005, he met his main teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche with whom he has practiced with ever since. During his two decades of intensive study and practice, Holger Yeshe became proficient (fluent?) in Tibetan language and now serves as primary interpreter for Khenpo Kunga, Mingyur Rinpoche’s main Khenpo. In 2010, he ordained as a novice Buddhist monk under the tutelage of Mingyur Rinpoche, splitting his time between monastic settings in Asia and Dharma centers in the West.

    Holger Yeshe has a particular interest in the intersection between the meditative arts and western Scientific modes of inquiry. In 2018, Holger Yeshe attended his first Mind & Life Europe Summer Research Institute which he believes is a great place to continue to explore this dialogue. He currently helps co-direct Tergar Germany, offering meditation seminars in both English and German, coordinating community outreach, and providing individual instruction for students of Mingyur Rinpoche.

Planning Committee 2020

  • Catherine  Bastien-Ventura
    Catherine Bastien-Ventura National center for scientific research (CNRS) Paris - France
    Catherine Bastien-Ventura

    Trained as a biologist in toxicology and pharmacology, Catherine Bastien-Ventura is a research engineer at the national center for scientific research (CNRS) in Paris, France.  After 10 years of research in the field of cancerology (Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif), she has been teaching and managing research projects in the field of environment and sustainable development for public actors and private companies (Rhodia, Schneider Electric, Hutchinson). Working for the French Ministry of Environment she was a research project manager within the research and foresight department, dealing with different types of pollution. After this position for almost ten years, at the interface of research and public policies, she joined the headquarter of CNRS, working for the Institute devoted to environment and sustainable development where she has been in charge of a cooperation program with China on environmental issues. Meanwhile, she also was the project manager for the Frontiers of Sciences programs with Japan and Taiwan.

    She is currently the international cooperation officer for French research networks dealing with area studies throughout Asia, Africa, Middle East and Muslim World. 

    Catherine Bastien-Ventura is also a Mind & Life Europe Association member.

  • Luisa Damiano
    Luisa Damiano Philosophy of Science at University of Messina - Italy
    Luisa Damiano

    Luisa Damiano (Ph.D. in Epistemology of Complex Systems) is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Messina (Italy), where she coordinates the Research Group on Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial (RG-ESA).

    Her main research fields are: Epistemology of the Sciences of Complex Systems; Epistemology of the Cognitive Sciences and Philosophy of Mind, with a focus on Cognitive Extension, Minimal Cognition, Inter-subjective Cognition, Embodiment and Enaction; Philosophy of Biology, with a focus on Self-organization, Autopoiesis, Minimal Life, Origins of Life; Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial, with a focus on the Synthetic Modeling of Life and Cognition, in particular in Synthetic Biology and in Cognitive, Developmental and Social Robotics.

    On these topics she wrote many articles, published two books (Unità in dialogo, Mondadori, Milano 2009; Living with robots, with P. Dumouchel, Harvard University Press, 2017) and co-edited several journal special issues. Her philosophical exploration of the above mentioned domains of contemporary science is based on ongoing collaborations with scientific teams (e.g., University of Salento, Italy, and ELSI, Japan, SB-AI Project; Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Kyoto, Japan, Artificial Empathy Project).

  • Nathalie Legros
    Nathalie Legros Space Engineer, Mediator and EU Organisational Development consultant - Belgium
    Nathalie Legros

    Nathalie Legros is a Space Engineer, Mediator and EU Organisational Development consultant. She worked as programme officer for the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA). In 2011, inspired by her own long-term practice of meditation, she introduced the 'Silence Pause’, a space for inner reflection. Over the years, this bottom-up initiative has grown and developed within the European Commission. 

    Nathalie Legros is a member of the Mind & Life Europe Association.

  • Cornelius  Pietzner
    Cornelius Pietzner Mind & Life Europe - Switzerland
    Cornelius Pietzner

    Cornelius Pietzner, present MLE Managing Director, has served Mind & Life Europe on the Board of Directors for many years and formerly also as Co Director. He has served as Chief Executive Officer of Alterra Impact Finance GmbH, an impact investment firm in Switzerland. He is President of the Alterra Foundation, a Swiss charitable foundation that supports transformation initiatives related to a human-centered economy. He was Chief Financial Officer on the Executive Board at the Goetheanum, General Anthroposophical Society, Switzerland with affiliates in 90 countries. He has had leading roles in social impact enterprises, financial management, philanthropy and investments.

    Cornelius Pietzner serves as Trustee/Advisory Board on a number of organisations and foundations in the USA and Europe. He received his degree in Political Science from Williams College, Mass. and was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

  • Mathis  Trautwein
    Mathis Trautwein University Medical Center Freiburg - Germany
    Mathis Trautwein

    Towards the end of my psychology studies, I started to explore the world of contemplative practice, but also learnd about phenomenological philosophy. Being intrigued by the parallels of these traditions, I was captivated when I realized that they had been introduced to the empirical science of the mind by Francisco Varela and his colleagues. Their work thus opened a path for my academic trajectory.

    After finishing my psychology studies, I completed a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in the lab of Dr. Tania Singer, where I contributed to the ReSource project, a large-scale longitudinal mental training study. Subsequently, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Aviva Berkovich-Ohana at the University of Haifa. Here we explored the experience of self-boundary dissolution during meditation using the neurophenomenological approach. These different stages allowed me to gain experience in EEG, MEG and fMRI methodologies as well as first-person methods, such as the microphenomenological interview.

    In my current work at the University Medical Center Freiburg in the lab of Prof. Stefan Schmidt, I expand on this research. Here the aims include building a formal embodied and enactive model of meditative practice, explore how self/non-self boundaries act as a guiding principle in attention and social cognition and contribute to the synthesis of first-person and third-person as well as scientific and contemplative perspectives.

  • Holger Yeshe
    Holger Yeshe Tergar Germany
    Holger Yeshe

    Born in Nürnberg, Germany, Holger Yeshe began practicing Buddhism in 1999. Since that time, he has studied and practiced extensively in both the Theravadan and Tibetan Buddhist lineages. In 2005, he met his main teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche with whom he has practiced with ever since. During his two decades of intensive study and practice, Holger Yeshe became proficient (fluent?) in Tibetan language and now serves as primary interpreter for Khenpo Kunga, Mingyur Rinpoche’s main Khenpo. In 2010, he ordained as a novice Buddhist monk under the tutelage of Mingyur Rinpoche, splitting his time between monastic settings in Asia and Dharma centers in the West.

    Holger Yeshe has a particular interest in the intersection between the meditative arts and western Scientific modes of inquiry. In 2018, Holger Yeshe attended his first Mind & Life Europe Summer Research Institute which he believes is a great place to continue to explore this dialogue. He currently helps co-direct Tergar Germany, offering meditation seminars in both English and German, coordinating community outreach, and providing individual instruction for students of Mingyur Rinpoche.