NIH Logo
April 22, 2016
Meditation Researcher To Give NCCIH’s Straus Lecture

What if we could exercise our minds like we exercise our bodies? What if, by transforming our minds, we could improve not only our own health and well-being, but also those of our communities and the wider world?

Dr. Richard Davidson

On Tuesday, May 3 at 10 a.m., Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin will delve into these kinds of questions as he gives the 2016 Stephen E. Straus Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies, “Change Your Brain by Transforming Your Mind.” His talk will illuminate the neural and behavioral effects, and the changes in peripheral biology, found with several major types of meditation as well as how those practices could help with regulating emotion and attention.

Davidson is professor of psychology and psychiatry, director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. The latter has been conducting rigorous and fascinating research on various topics that Davidson suspects affect our health and well-being, including meditation, emotions, compassion, resilience and attention. You may have seen, for example, news stories about Tibetan monks, who are longtime meditation practitioners, undergoing brain scanning in his laboratory.

The team’s meditation studies have included persons who are very young to very old; disorders such as depression, anxiety and autism; and levels of meditation experience from novice to thousands of hours. Research methods include advanced genetic and epigenetic methods, MRI, PET and many others.

The Straus Lecture, to be held in Masur Auditorium and videocast live, is an annual event honoring the founding director of NCCIH. The event is being supported by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health with additional funding from Bernard and Barbro Osher. A poster session afterward will feature NCCIH grantees conducting research in this area of complementary health. For more information, visit

back to top of page