European Varela Awards: Alumni

EVA Mentoring

Mentoring is an essential component of fostering the next generation of contemplative scientists. It is an opportunity to share 'pearls of wisdom' with those who are only starting on this journey, supporting the contemplative community of scientists to grow, expand, and strengthen.

Who is better to do it then our EVA success stories! These EVA alumni members offer prospective EVA applicants mentoring advice: for example, how best to present your EVA application or guidance on securing further funding and a research post to ensure career progression.

For the prospective applicants: Please feel free to contact our EVA alumni members listed in the Mentoring section for an advice prior to submitting your application or during your award – they will be happy to share their own academic experiences and offer guidance. You might also explore possible collaborations and networking opportunities with the EVA alumni members.

If you have further questions about the EVA Mentoring, please send an email to VarelaAwards(at)mindandlife-europe.org.

 

Overview of EVA Alumni

Please find an overview of all European Varela Awards (EVA) Alumni below. For those who have offered to serve as an EVA Mentor, we are providing more information on the website (please click on their name to learn more).

NAMEEVA Project / AFFILIATIONRESEARCH FIELDEVA Cycle
Corina Aguilar-Raab

The Effects of Compassion Meditation on Health and Social Interaction in Depressed Patients

Institute of Medical Psychology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany

Clinical Science2014
Terje Sparby

Varieties of Contemplative Experience: Anthroposophy

Bender Institute of Neuroimaging/University of Giessen, Germany

Philosophy & Humanities2014
Katarzyna Bylow-Antkowiak

Second Person Issues in Contemplative Life - Polite Talk, Teasing and Debating Dyads in a Tibetan Buddhist Non-Monastic Educational Setting

University of St Andrews, Scotland

Philosophy & Humanities + Social Science2015
Anira Esrichs

Interplay between Structural Connectivity and Resting-State Dynamics in Meditators

University of Barcelona, Spain

Basic Science2015
Enrico Fucci*

Investigating Modulation of Compassion by Self-Related Factors in Expert and Novice Meditators: Behavioural and Neuroendocrine Correlates

Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre, France

Basic Science + Social Science2015
Josipa Mihic*

Towards Caring & Mindful Schools Model

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Croatia

Philosophy & Humanities2015
Anne Maj van der Velden

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and maintenance antidepressant treatment: differential mechanisms in the treatment of recurrent depression

Aarhus University, Denmark

Basic Science + Clinical Science2015
Nina Vollbehr

The Effects of Yoga-Based Therapy for Patients with Chronic Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Center for Integrative Psychiatry, Lentis Mental Health Care, Groningen, The Netherlands

Clinical Science

2015

Carlos Garcia Rubio*

The Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Neural Correlates of Executive Functions in Elementary School Children: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Chile

Basic Science + Clinical Science2016
Catherine Andreu*

The Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Neural Correlates of Executive Functions in Elementary School Children: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Chile

Basic Science + Clinical Science

2016
Britta Hölzel

Is the Neural Signature of Emotion Regulation following a 2-Week Mindfulness Intervention in Chronically Depressed Patients Characterized by Positive Fronto-Limbic Connectivity?

Department of Neuroradiology Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Clinical Science2016
Gesa Kappen

The Effect of an Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Partner Acceptance and Relationship Quality

Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Social Science2016
Anna Reebs

Mindfulness and Refugee Mental Health: Cross-Cultural Contemplative Science with a Social Mission

IRCA, University of Haifa, Israel

Clinical Science2016
Michael Tremmel*

Risks and Adverse Effects of Meditation

University of Giessen, Germany

Clinical Science2016
Freya von Hohnhorst*

Risks and Adverse Effects of Meditation

University of Giessen, Germany

Clinical Science2016

 

* Please note: those EVA Alumni marked with an asterisk have offered to serve as an EVA Mentor for future applicants and awardees.

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EVA Mentors

Catherine Andreu

Title and affiliation: Engineer in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Chile. Master in Neuroscience and PhD in Neuroscience, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Contact details: website & e-mail

About: In her doctoral thesis, she conducted research on the effect of Mindfulness practice at the brain level. Postdoctoral researcher at the MIDAP Millennium Institute and the School of Psychology, research funded by the Francisco Varela Award from Mind & Life Europe. Trained in the Mindful Schools program and in the Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behavior Program (MBRP). Professor in the Mindfulness and Compassion Master program at the Adolfo Ibáñez University. Trainee at the Compassion Cultivation Training Program at Nirakara Institute and Compassion Institute, her main current research interest now is the science of compassion.

EVA project (research field, year): The Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Neural Correlates of Executive Functions in Elementary School Children: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial (Basic Science + Clinical Science, 2016; click here to learn more).

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Enrico Fucci

Title and affiliation: Researcher and Board Member, Insitute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE), Spain & Nomadic

Contact details:  website & e-mail

About: Enrico has a PhD in Neuroscience from UCBL Lyon 1 (France). His research spans from investigating the brain correlates of sensory perception under stress to collecting first-person and behavioural data on people’s reactions to others suffering. Through a transdisciplinary approach, he seeks to falsify existing models of emotion, cognition and intersubjectivity in psychology and neuroscience by integrating theories and methods from contemplative traditions. His current project, supported by a Mind & Life European Varela Award, focuses on the embodiment of different forms of compassion as a result of extensive practice in long-term Buddhist practitioners. Enrico is a researcher and board member of the Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE), a not-for-profit institution that hosts independent researchers and promotes open and reproducible science.

EVA project (research field, year):  Investigating Modulation of Compassion by Self-Related Factors in Expert and Novice Meditators: Behavioural and Neuroendocrine Correlates (Basic Science + Clinial Science, 2015).

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Carlos García Rubio

Title and affiliation: Stress and Health Team, Faculty of Psychology, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain / Mindfulness Teacher at Nirakara Institute for Research and Training in Cognitive Sciences / Co-founder Sukha Mindfulness

Contact details:  e-mail

About: Carlos has a degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Health Psychology from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He also studied a University Postgraduate Degree in Mindfulness in Health Settings from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Postgraduate degree in Buddhism at the Hispanic Buddhist Studies Institute. His research interests are contemplative practices, contemplative education, socio-emotional learning, mindfulness-based interventions, mental health, and human development. He is a Ph.D. student on the benefits of mindfulness practice in children and adolescents in the school context, and he received the European Varela Award in 2016 to examine the impact of mindfulness practice on executive function in at-risk children. Also, Carlos is a specialist in the application of mindfulness with adults, children, and adolescents. He is a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy teacher and the co-creator of the GrowingUp Breathing mindfulness program, which aims to promote socio-emotional, cognitive, academic, and ethical development of children and adolescents in the school.  In his spare time, Carlos likes traveling and meeting new cultures. Carlos's academic work can be found here.

EVA project (research field, year): The Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Neural Correlates of Executive Functions in Elementary School Children: A Cluster-randomized Controlled Trial (Basic Science + Clinical Science, 2016; click here to learn more).

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Freya von Hohnhorst

Title: Licensed physician, Germany

Contact details:  website & e-mail

About: With nearly two decades of work as psychiatrist and psychotherapist both in a clinical setting and in the last eight years as a free practitioner, I am profoundly skilled in diagnostics and medical estimation. I am an experienced therapist, with special expertise in trauma therapy. I have profound knowledge and deep interest in a broad range of anthropological and ethnocultural questions, including the Buddhist and Hindu background of meditation. When I started serious meditation practice (Tibetan Buddhist tradition) in 2006, I got in contact with people who had adverse affects of meditation right from the beginning, so my attention was drawn not only to the positive, but also to the problematic aspects of meditation. I have always been interested not only in the part of meditation regarding personal development, but also in its scientific exploration. Therefore, I feel glad having met Ulrich Ott. With his supervision for my dissertation, I have the opportunity to put it all together. Combining my experiences in meditation and my expertise in psychiatry/psychotherapy with a scientific approach allows me to contribute to help people with severe problems on their contemplative path.

EVA project (research field, year):  Risks and Adverse Effects of Meditation (Clinical Science, 2016; click here to learn more).

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Josipa Mihic

Title and affiliation: Associate professor, Laboratory for Prevention Research, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences University of Zagreb, Croatia

Contact details: website & e-mail

About: I work as associate professor at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia. Since 2013 I hold a PhD in prevention science. At the Faculty I teach different courses in a field of prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural problems and mental health promotion at the graduate and postgraduate level. As a researcher I am involved in projects focused on socio-emotional learning, community-based prevention, prevention and promotion of mental health of children and youth, and mindfulness for students and adults. I am especially interested in evaluating and assessing effectiveness of mindfulness interventions, including mindfulness apps. Since 2018 I am certified in a Gestalt psychotherapy and I work as a children and adults’ counselor at the Centre for Rehabilitation, City of Zagreb. I’m a member of American and European Societies for Prevention Research and European Network for Social and Emotional Competences.

EVA project (research field, year):  Towards Caring & Mindful Schools Model (Philosophy & Humanities, 2015).

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Michael Tremmel

Title and affiliation: Doctoral candidate at the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, University of Giessen, Germany

Contact details: website & e-mail

About: Contemplative experiences occupy me for more than a decade now. I started meditating 13 years ago and have been meditating mostly in a Buddhist tradition, on a daily basis and in some retreats. In 2011 I earned my degree in psychology. My Diplom thesis was a combined fMRI/EEG study on EEG indicators of default mode network activity during daydreaming and mindfulness of breathing. After my graduation, I began studying Indo-Tibetology to become more familiar with original meditation literature. Consequently, I have a unique perspective on contemplative experiences, combining backgrounds in meditation practice, psychology, neurosciences, as well as cultural and lingual studies. Looking into the varieties of contemplative experience has been the logical next step in my career path. Having worked at a neuroscience institute, I could simply have opted for a neuroscientific PhD thesis on meditation. However, considering my career history, I wanted to pursue a more interdisciplinary study approach and to combine first- and third-person perspectives. Thus, I felt very lucky when the opportunity came up to replicate and advance the study of Willoughby Britton and colleagues. Having even more luck, I received a scholarship, our study got funded, and I am part of a team of multiple researchers working on different parts of this study. From 2016 to 2019 I worked as a research fellow at the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging at the University of Giessen, Germany, and currently I am a doctoral candidate.

EVA project (research field, year): Risks and Adverse Effects of Meditation (Clinical Science, 2016; click here to learn more).

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