November 2022 - 1st Cohort Completes Science Research Internship

Research training is critical to the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative's (ETSI) Sustainability Phase. The vision is to expose monastic scholars to current neuroscientific research projects and methods, further their understanding of neuroscience, and establish a foundation for them to train others in their respective monastic institutions and initiate research projects and collaborations. The first cohort completed the two-month ETSI Science Research Internship Program on November 14th at Northwestern University. The research training was co-directed by Dr. Robin Nusslock (co-leader of the ETSI Research Unit), Dr. Ken Paller, and Dr. Marcia Grabowecky (professors of psychology and neuroscience at Northwestern University). 

During the internship, monastic scholars had an opportunity to learn about processing MRI data, using Free Sufer software to identify structures and exposure to functional MRIs and EEGs with a focus on mobile EEG. The scholars spent many hours discussing the nature and functions of emotions and their connection with well-being with Dr. Nusslock and his team and exploring state-of-the-art techniques to study emotion and the brain. 

In Dr. Ken Paller's lab, the scholars learned about sleep and dream studies and participated in lucid dream studies. The monastic scholars had rich and fruitful exchanges in the lab where they shared their understanding of the Buddhist practice of dream yoga and compared it with the current scientific knowledge of lucid dreaming. With Dr. Marcia Grabowecky and her team, the scholars explored different methods of studying attention and perception. 

Additionally, the scholars were invited to several other activities. They visited a neurobiology lab to observe neuronal firing through invasive techniques. This interaction led to a weekly Chai Chat session with neurobiology students and many interesting discussions. Garrett Seminary took advantage of the scholars' presence on campus to have them on a panel discussion.

ETSI is thankful to Dr. Robin Nusslock, Dr. Marcia Grabowecky, and Dr. Ken Paller for their support and Northwestern University's collaborative efforts.