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David Ronald Vago, PhD
Associate Psychologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Psychiatry
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115


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Research Narrative:

David Vago is an instructor of psychology in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He has completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the department of Psychiatry at BWH, the Utah Center for Mind-Body Interactions within the University of Utah Medical School, and is currently auditing the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological and Social Psychiatry. David has held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering dialogue and research at the highest possible level between modern science and the great living contemplative traditions. 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. 

University of Utah, 2005, PhD
University of Utah, 2002, M.S.
University of Rochester, 1997, B.A.

Sara Lazar, Ph.D., MGH, colleague and colalborator

Zev Schuman-Olivier, M.D., MGH, colleague and collaborator

Sat bir Khalsa, Ph.D., BWH - division of sleep medicine, colleague and collaborator

Willoughby Britton, Ph.D, Brown University, colleague and collaborator

Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., Yale, colleague and collaborator

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Center for Mindfulness, colleague and collaborator

Peter Wayne, Ph.D., BWH, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, colleague and collaborator

Elizabeth Hoge, M.D., MGH, colleague and collaborator

Britta Holzel, Ph.D., MGH, colleague and colalborator

Other Professional Activities:
Fellow, The Mind & Life Institute

Additional News:
Dr. Vago was one of 6 scientists selected to present his research to His Holiness The Dalai Lama for the Mind and Life Institute XXIV dialogue, "Latest Findings in Contemplative Neuroscience". Dr. Vago presented his work on theoretical and conceptual models for meditation practices that cultivate mindfulness. He blogs about his experience here: [] and the meeting was reported on here: [].
For more recent news on Dr. Vago and his research, see:
Dr. Vago has recently been guest blogging for Psychology Today on the Science of Meditation: