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Amanda Brown

Department of Psychology

Broadly, I am interested in the role of contemplative practices in promoting well-being and alleviating psychological distress. I am particularly interested in studying the mechanisms through which mindfulness- and compassion-based interventions effect change. For my Masters thesis, I examined at-home mindfulness practice as one potential mechanism of change in a trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for perinatal depression. Currently, I am studying the treatment of body image disturbance, a problem that is prevalent in both clinical and non-clinical samples, with a focus on self-compassion training as a potential new direction for addressing the current gap in theory and treatment.
I have received instructor training in MBCT and Cognitive-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), and I have co-taught CBCT to female prisoners and adolescents in the Atlanta foster care system. I also lead the Graduate Student Meditation Club with my co-president, Jordan Kohn, which meets for weekly meditation sessions. Ultimately, I hope to pursue a career that integrates contemplative-based intervention research and practice.

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Jordan Kohn

Neuroscience Graduate Program
Yerkes National Primate Research Center,
Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience

My long-term research goals are 1) to elucidate the biological processes by which psychosocial adversity negatively affects physiological health, and 2) to investigate how contemplative interventions (such as mindfulness and compassion training) mitigate these processes and improve well-being in both clinical and healthy human populations. For my dissertation work at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, I'm studying how behavior, HPA activation, immune cells and their transcriptional dynamics are altered in rhesus macaques experiencing chronic social subordination stress. Techniques include primate ethology, RNA-sequencing, flow cytometry, cell sorting, bioinformatics, and qPCR. I also teach Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) courses to the Emory and Atlanta communities on behalf of the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

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Meg Martinez

Department of Psychology

Meg Martinez is a second year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Emory University. After graduating from Yale University with her B.S. in Psychology in 2010, Meg moved to New York, NY to work as a research assistant at the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders. While at Columbia, Meg coordinated a large clinical trial of a pharmacological treatment for Anorexia Nervosa and worked clinically with many patients with eating disorders.  Here at Emory, Meg's research interests focus on the development of new treatments for eating disorders. Meg is also interested in the utility of meditation and mindfulness for the treatment of eating disorders. Currently Meg is working on her Master's study looking at the effects of various cognitive strategies on food cravings and preferences among college women with and without eating pathology. In her free time, Meg enjoys cooking, reading, and playing with her puppy.


Lauren McDonough

Department of Psychology

Current Research: When the space between your ears seems real: cognitive and neural mechanisms of mindful attention and stress: Humans have to ability to become so immersed in the mental reenactment of stressful thoughts that the thought itself triggers a stress response and negative emotion.  Mindful attention can prevent individuals from becoming immersed in the experience of stressful thoughts and setting off a stress response.  In an fMRI study, Lauren is examining changes in brain activity associated with both immersion in and disengagement from stressful thoughts via mindful attention, and the relation between immersion and the subjective experience of stress.  Results of this project will inform why mindfulness-based stress interventions have a therapeutic effect. Learn more at: