Gaëlle Desbordes, PhD

Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology
Boston University

Boston, MA USA

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Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

I am currently an Instructor (research faculty) at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-Harvard-MIT Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, and a visiting scholar at the Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology (CompNet) at Boston University. My main research interest is in the investigation of different types of meditation practices (e.g. mindful attention, compassion) from a neuroscientific perspective. I am also collaborating on scientific studies of other mind-body practices such as acupuncture and yoga.

My current main study is a clinical trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for major depression, with functional MRI brain scans before and after the intervention. This study is funded by NIH grant K01AT008225.

Another study that I've been working on since 2009 is part of a multisite investigation of meditation and mind-body health (the Compassion and Attention Longitudinal Meditation (CALM) study), which is a collaboration between the Martinos Center, Boston University, Emory University, and the University of Arizona. Our first results were published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (full article) and have received press coverage in the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, the Harvard Gazette, the Epoch Times, the Philippine Star, the French magazine Science&Vie, and others, and were featured as an NIH Research Spotlight.

I and other colleagues in the field of meditation research recently published an opinion paper entitled "Moving beyond mindfulness: Defining equanimity as an outcome measure in meditation and contemplative research" (preprint).

I am also collaborating with David DeSteno and Paul Condon to investigate how meditation training increases compassion. Our first results were published in the journal Psychological Science (preprint) and have been featured in the New York Times and on WBUR.

Before joining the field of human brain imaging I was a postdoctoral fellow in computational neuroscience, working in Garrett Stanley's group on neuronal population coding in the early visual pathway (2006-2009).

See my Research Interests for more details.

Gaelle Desbordes

Last update: Dec 8, 2014