Meet the Team

Our lab spans two locations: University of Pennsylvania and Rowan University. Together, we investigate the health benefits of mindfulness.  The knowledge gained from mindfulness research is significant because it may help us all better understand how we can develop our natural capacity for greater attention, awareness, compassion, and acceptance, and in so doing experience a meaningful benefit in our mental and physical health.

Jeffrey M. Greeson, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Rowan University
Adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, The University of Pennsylvania

I have conducted research in the fields of integrative medicine, mindfulness meditation, and stress physiology since 1998.  This work has been generously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a career development award from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), an R01 grant from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI), and a pilot grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

 

The goal of my Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) award was to understand how mindfulness training impacts a cluster of biobehavioral factors, namely psychological distress, poor sleep quality, and exaggerated stress physiology, that are implicated in cardiovascular disease risk.  The project incorporated behavioral sleep assessment, stress psychophysiology, immunology, advanced statistical modeling, and treatment development in the context of clinical trials.  My team is continuing to investigate many of these themes in a two-site clinical trial of mindfulness meditation training for high blood pressure, in collaboration with David Fresco, PhD, at Kent State University.  A recent pilot study, funded by the Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC), investigated the effect of mindfulness training to reduce stress, depression, and inflammation in persons living with HIV.  Additional recent funding includes a Fellowship from The Institute for Integrative Health (TIIH) to study changes in stress-related gene expression and other biomarkers following mindfulness training, and an R34 grant to study Mobile Mindfulness-Based Training for ICU survivors, led by Chris Cox, MD, at Duke.

 

 

I am especially interested in the concept of “mindful emotion regulation.”  I also have a growing interest in the neuroscience of mindfulness, and in what I call “mindfulomics” — the intersection of mindfulness and the omics sciences (genomics, metabolomics, etc.).

 

 

Emma McBride (2018-Present)

Graduate Student, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
Rowan University, College of Science and Mathematics

 

Emma is a first year doctoral student in the MSH Lab. Her research interests include investigating the psychophysiological and biological signatures of mindfulness and the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for young adults at risk for chronic, stress-related illness. She is also interested in the ways in which mindfulness, conceptualized as a state, a trait, and a skill, can target transdiagnostic processes implicated in multiple psychological and medical conditions.

 

Emma is 26 years old and was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada. She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and two cats. Emma is an active member of the Shambhala meditation community in Philadelphia and loves plant-based cooking, camping, and gardening. She spends her spare time digging in the dirt at her community garden and indulging in Philly’s fabulous vegan food scene.

Gabrielle Chin (2017-Present)

Graduate Student, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
Rowan University, College of Science and Mathematics

Abby is a second-year doctoral student in the MSH Lab. Her research interests include exploring how the physiological effects of mindfulness, as a state, trait and skill, vary across demographics, investigating potential signatures of mindfulness, as well as the effects of mindfulness exercises on negative emotional states related to surgery and surgical recovery rates when mindfulness exercises are performed before, during, and after surgery. Ultimately, she hopes to develop effective and brief mindfulness-based interventions targeting specific skills necessary to reduce recidivism for inmates nearing release.

 

Abby is 25 years old and was born and raised in Middleton, Wisconsin. Now she is living in Atco, NJ, with her family and many dogs. In her free time, she enjoys binging Asian novels and dramas, gymnastics, gardening and home building projects.

 

Vanessa Anyanso (2017-2019)

BA in Psychology, Columbia University

I am the lead research coordinator for the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab. I graduated from Columbia University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology.

 

My main research interests encompass an integration of topics from social and clinical psychology, and I eventually intend to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Until that time, I am focusing on developing my skills as a young researcher and gaining perspective and experience in running clinical trials.

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Reda (2015-2019)

BS in Psychology, Drexel University

I am a full time research assistant and class coordinator for the Serenity Study.  I have a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology from Drexel University (Class of 2017).  I started working for the lab when I was an undergraduate student as part of the Drexel’s co-op system and then rejoined the lab after I graduated.  I am interested in a wide range of subjects within Clinical Psychology and intend to pursue a graduate degree after my time with the lab.  I hope to further cultivate my skills as a clinical research assistant and apply these skills to graduate school and my future career in psychology. 

 

 

 

Anna Savage (2017)

BS Candidate for Psychology, Drexel University

I am currently working as a research assistant in the Mindfulness Stress and Health Lab. This year I am a sophomore Psychology major at Drexel University in a 5-year co-op track. For my first co-op I am grateful to be working with such a great team in this Lab. I have a lot of interest in clinical and health psychology. As member of the Drexel Women’s Varsity Rowing team, I am aware of how important mental and physical health is, which is what drew me towards this study and why I find the components we are researching so interesting. I am looking forward to getting the most out of my experience here and hope to use this position as a steppingstone towards the goals I have for the rest of my years in college, graduate school, and my future career. 

 

 

Mary Keenan (2014-2017)

BA in Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania

Candidate for PhD in Clinical Psychology, University of Memphis

I am the research coordinator of the Mindfulness, Stress, & Health Lab. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a BA in psychology and I am hoping to gain some important post-graduation experience in health psychology research before heading to grad school to get my PhD in clinical health psychology. 

 

Personally, after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 6, I have always searched for a way to help people dealing with physical illness. After working in a research sleep lab, and completing a senior thesis on the efficacy of a self-help cognitive-behavioral workbook for those with Crohn's disease, I discovered just how my personal passion could drive my professional career.  I am interested furthering my understanding of the bidirectional relationship between physical and mental health processes while working in the MSH lab.  

 

In my future career, I look forward to conducting research on adherence to medical treatment in those with chronic illnesses and using empirically-supported clinical techniques in a healthcare setting to help individuals with diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

 

 

 

Devin Barney (2015-2017)

BA in Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania

Candidate for PhD in Community & Cultural Psychology, University of Hawaii at Manoa

I am a full time research assistant in the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab, focused mainly on the coordination of the Serenity Study. I am a University of Pennsylvania graduate (Class of 2015) with a Bachelor's degree in psychology.
 

My main research interests envelop topics in cultural and linguistic psychology. In my eventual pursuit of graduate study, I am dedicating my current time to growing as a young researcher and gaining perspective through experiences with the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab team. I hope to learn about stress physiology, psychology, and reduction in order to contextualize acculturation and acculturative stress research in possible health application.

 

 

Luke Miller (2017)

BS candidate in Psychology, Drexel University

I am working in the MSH Lab for the first of my three Drexel Co-ops. I am currently in the second year of my undergraduate experience at Drexel University. I chose to pursue the science of psychology due to my natural interest in learning more about the human mind and its interworking. Specifically, I plan to focus on the treatment of traumatic brain injury with a clinical approach.  I chose to work with the MSH Lab because I feel it was a great opportunity to gain experience in clinical work as well as the behind-the-scenes workings of a psychological research study. So far, I feel that I am building a great foundation of clinical and research skills all within a lively and supportive learning environment.

 

 

S. Adam Slawek (2016)

BS candidate in Psychology, Drexel University

I am a research assistant working in the MSH Lab for one of my Drexel co-ops. I originally began my time at Drexel as a Communications major. I ended up finding myself drawn mostly to the psychological components of my communications classes and decided to pursue a minor in psychology. I chose the MSH Lab as one of my co-ops because I was interested in getting direct one-on-one experience with individuals in preparation for my future career as a psychotherapist. My time working in the lab has also been a great opportunity to learn more about using mindfulness values and techniques as tools for future clients struggling with sexuality and gender related issues, which is a particular professional interest of mine.

 

 

Tucker Collins (2016)

BS candidate in Neurochemistry, Drexel University

I worked in the MSH lab for my final co-op at Drexel University. I am in my last year as an undergraduate, studying Neurochemistry through Drexel's Custom-Designed Major Program. I am interested in understanding how human experiences result from continual adaptation in the brain, as well as how interpersonal variation leads to different experiences. Through research I ultimately wish to be able to explain how we can alter our brain through everyday routines - to overcome fear and anxiety, enhance skill-building and memory, and improve happiness - by understanding the manner in which our brain is impacted by our own experiences and genetics. I chose to work in the MSH lab as a way of gaining experience with relating our mental state (calm, anxious, angry, etc.) to our bodily response to stress, which is known to have a broad systemic impact throughout our bodies.

 

 

Sean Cleary (2015-2016)

MS in Mental Health Counseling, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was a research assistant for the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab, where I assisted with both the Serenity Study and Serenity N.O.W.  I graduated from Drexel University in 2012 with a bachelor's in psychology.  I earned my masters degree in mental health counseling from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  I also worked as a research assistant to Dr. Karl Rickels at UPenn's Mood and Anxiety Disorder Treatment and Research Program where I ran and interpreted analyses on the pharmacological treatment of MDD and GAD.

 

I hope to help integrate my working knowledge of mindfulness into a career in Sport and Exercise Psychology.  I have worked with high school and college-aged athletes in managing performance anxiety and honing visualization skills.  I'll be able to utilize what I learned in the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab to help athletes and teams create better cohesion between their mind and body. 

 

 

Valerie Tseng (2015-2016)

MS in Biotechnology, The University of Pennsylvania

With the interest in learning clinical trial regulation and related guidelines, I first joined Dr. Greeson's Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab in anticipation of learning clinical trial design and coordination. Being intrigued by mindfulness meditation as a means to reduce stress and alleviate pathology, my work focused on how the MBSR program relieves pathological symptoms with changes in inflammatory biomarkers. More importantly, how does mindfulness meditation modify gene expression in the Nuclear Factor kappa B (NFkB) pathway? As a graduate student in Biotechnology, I am dedicated to investigating health outcomes by using assessments of molecular biology.

 

 

 

Alejandro Rodriguez (2015)

BA in Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania

As a senior Psychology major at the University of Pennsylvania, I worked with Dr. Greeson on an independent study that examined the association between changes in mindfulness and positive psychology variables, including gratitude, self-compassion, positive states of mind, and life satisfaction, as part of a recently completed trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at Duke University. My involvement in the Mindfulness, Stress & Health lab was a valuable introductory experience to doing research, building on the interest I discovered in Mindfulness and Positive Psychology through a course at Penn.

 

 

 

 

Lauren Church (2015)

BA in Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania

As a senior Psychology major and Marketing minor at the University of Pennsylvania, I worked with Dr. Greeson and Alejandro Rodriguez on an independent study that examined the association between changes in mindfulness and positive psychology variables from an MBSR trial at Duke. As a member of the Varsity Swim team, I was interested in the benefits of mindfulness in stressful, competitive environments. Research with Dr. Greeson and his team provided a valuable experience as I plan to pursue careers in Marketing and Public Relations.

 

Contact Us
Find Us

Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab
 

Rowan University
201 Mullica Hill Rd.
Robinson Hall, Suite 100
Glassboro, NJ 08028
T: (856) 256-5271

 

University of Pennsylvania
3535 Market St., Suite 670
Philadelphia, PA 19104

T: (215) 573-0763
 

Email: greeson@rowan.edu