Mind & Life

Meet the Host

May 24, 2020

Wendy Hasenkamp has been involved in contemplative science for over 10 years. In her role as Science Director at the Mind & Life Institute, she’s had a front seat to the evolving landscape around the science of meditation and its impact on our lives. As a neuroscientist, she’s passionate about understanding the human mind; as a meditator, she has personal experience with how minds can be transformed. And as an author and teacher, she seeks to communicate complex ideas in an accessible way. Wendy’s longstanding interest in integrating science and contemplative wisdom provides a valuable frame for her discussions with leading thinkers who also seek to bridge these worlds.

Wendy holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University, where her graduate and early postdoctoral training centered around understanding the pathology of schizophrenia, using methodologies of single-cell gene expression, psychophysiology, cognitive testing, and neuroimaging. Subsequently, growing out of her personal interest in contemplative practice, she examined the neural correlates of dynamic cognitive states that occur during meditation such as focused attention and mind-wandering, with a focus on integrating brain imaging and subjective report. Wendy is the editor of The Monastery and the Microscope, a book detailing the 2013 Mind & Life dialogue with the Dalai Lama about mind, matter, and the nature of reality. While at Emory, she also helped develop a neuroscience curriculum for Tibetan monastics in India through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, teaching in Dharamsala and serving as co-author and editor of several neuroscience textbooks developed through this program. Wendy has developed and taught courses in Contemplative Science at both Lesley University and the University of Virginia, where she is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of psychology. She publishes regularly in academic and public outlets, and gives lectures, workshops, and retreats exploring the intersection of cognitive science and meditation.

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