Does mindfulness-based somatic awareness (cultivated through attention to breath, body sensations) change the brain? Does mindfulness enhance attentional control of sensory cortical dynamics? Do chronic pain and rumination disrupt these dynamics? I use Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and other tools to investigate brain mechanisms underlying body-based attention and healing in mindfulness and other mind-body practices such as Tai Chi.
Catherine Kerr received a B.A. from Amherst College, and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. Before arriving at Brown, she was at Harvard Medical School where her original focus was on developing innovative approaches for investigating placebo effects. In 2006, she received a K01 award from the NIH to investigate attention, somatosensory cortical dynamics and mindfulness, resulting in numerous publications including a report (Kerr, Jones, et al 2011) on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the ability to use attention to regulate a localized measure of cortical responsiveness (alpha rhythms recorded in primary somatosensory cortex). In 2011, she joined the Department of Family Medicine and the Contemplative Studies Initiative (for which she is Director of Translational Neuroscience) at Brown University. Her work has been published in Journal of Neuroscience, BMJ, Brain Research Bulletin and other journals, and has been covered in the New York Times, Technology Review and Forbes.
CATHERINE KERR, PhD
On The Web:
Brown University news coverage of our 2013 Frontiers in Neuroscience article, "Mindfulness Starts with the Body"
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