David Vago is Research Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is an associate professor in the department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. He also maintains an appointment as a research associate in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School. He has completed post-doctoral fellowships in the department of Psychiatry at BWH, the Utah Center for Mind-Body Interactions within the University of Utah Medical School, and the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological & Social Psychiatry. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow, supporting the Mind and Life mission by advising on strategy and programs. He received his Bachelors Degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 1997 from the University of Rochester. In 2005, David received his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences with a specialization in learning and memory from the department of Psychology, University of Utah.
David’s research interests broadly focus on utilizing translational models to identify and characterize neurobiological substrates mediating psychopathology, to better predict outcomes and potential biologically-based diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for those suffering with mental illness. He aims to clarify adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric settings. In this context, David has been specifically focusing on the study of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings, and the basic cognitive and neuroscientific mechanisms by which mindfulness-based practices function. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, spoken at international conferences, and his research has been covered by mainstream news outlets such as the Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and NPR, among others. David is an avid Vipassana, Dzogchen meditation and Hatha Yoga practitioner, and enjoys recreating in the outdoors.
In this episode we discuss.....
- The difference between McMindfulness and the Buddhist system of mindfulness
- The S-ART model (self-awareness, self-regulation, self-transcendence) that David developed with his colleague accounting for the systems and underlying mechanisms by which mindfulness practices work to fundamentally improve the human condition and decrease suffering
- What is mind and its relationship to both consciousness and neuroscience
- What are the inherent differences between human consciousness and Artificial Intelligence
- How technology is providing us with new opportunities to observe the body, and create an improved relationship between the body and mind
- How your thoughts and emotions influence future thoughts, and the health of your body including disease
- How our genetic predispositions differ from the physiological influence of the body/mind relationship
- The study of epigenetics and how consistent practice can shift genetic markers over long periods of time
- Insights derived from David’s research of neuroscience in relation to practices like mindfulness and yoga
- The various parts of the brain and how they function including the brain mechanisms that are responsible for S-ART