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David Vago, PhD is Research Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is an associate professor in the department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. He also maintains an appointment as a research associate in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School. He has completed post-doctoral fellowships in the department of Psychiatry at BWH, the Utah Center for Mind-Body Interactions within the University of Utah Medical School, and the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological & Social Psychiatry. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow, supporting the Mind and Life mission by advising on strategy and programs. 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.
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. David is an avid Vipassana, Dzogchen meditation and Hatha Yoga practitioner.
Dr. Vago’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 and chronic pain. Through mixed research methods of systems biology, neuroimaging, predictive computational modeling, connectomics, genomic and neuroendocrine science, innovation, cognitive-behavioral and first-person phenomenological analyses, Dr. Vago focuses on one basic question – “What are the basic neurobiological and physiological components that constitute adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric settings?” Dr. Vago has a number of research initiatives that are ongoing, including Mapping the Meditative Mind, in which he has partnered with contemporary meditation teachers and scholars to investigate states of meditation across the spectrum of formal meditative expertise. Another initiative leverages innovation to optimize contemporary tools for electronic delivery of integrative medicine and utilize neurofeedback for patient-centered mental training.