2016 SYR Presenters
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SYR 2016
Welcomes our esteemed presenters

Keynote Presenters

Shirley Telles, MBBS, MPhil, PhD

Dr. Shirley Telles is a world-renowned yoga researcher. She directs research at Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India, where she studies the physiological effects of yoga postures, yogic breathing, and higher states of consciousness induced by meditation. Shirley has published 150 indexed research articles, 17 chapters in books, and three books. She has received awards from the Templeton Foundation, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and was granted a Fulbright fellowship to study neuroimaging in meditators. Shirley practices yoga herself and has a firm belief that yoga can positively influence all aspects of life.

Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is a clinical psychiatrist whose work attempts to integrate mind, brain, body, and social connections to understand and treat trauma. His research ranges from the impact of trauma on development and brain imaging, to the use of yoga, neurofeedback, EMDR, and theater for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Bessel is a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston, and director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Network, NCTSN. Bessel is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and several books including the New York Times best-seller The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

Chris Streeter, MD

Dr. Chris Streeter is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. She completed a Neurology Residency, a Behavioral Neurology Fellowship and a Psychiatry Residency. She is boarded in Neurology, Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, Psychiatry, and Forensics. She is the Director of Functional Neuroimaging for the Department of Psychiatry and the Boston Yoga Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine. She is an Instructor at Harvard School of Medicine and a Research Associate at the McLean Hospital. During 20 years of NIH funding, she has served as the Principal Investigator on numerous study involving alcohol and substance abuse. Most recently, her research interests have focused on a series of studies looking at the association between yoga-based practices, brain gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels and mood. Her most recent study has used Iyengar yoga and coherent breathing to treat Major Depressive Disorder.



Session Presenters

Gurjeet Birdee, MD, MPH

Gurjeet is an Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Birdee’s research focuses on the therapeutic application of mind-body practices for chronic disease. He has a K23 Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Birdee received his medical degree at the University of Rochester and completed an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Osher Research Center Harvard Medical School and Master of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Birdee completed a 500 hour yoga teacher training program with Krishnamacarya Healing and Yoga Foundation in Chennai, India, and Healing Yoga Foundation in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Birdee practices Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and yoga therapy at Vanderbilt.

Suzanne Danhauer, PhD

Dr. Danhauer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy in the Division of Public Health Sciences, and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine, Section on Hematology and Oncology in the Wake Forest School of Medicine. She is a clinical health psychologist whose work has investigated potential benefits of integrative medicine modalities (with an emphasis on symptom management) for cancer patients and post-treatment survivors. She has conducted and published findings from pilot studies of yoga for women with cancer, the most recent of which focused on women with breast cancer during the time they were undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Dr. Danhauer was a co-investigator on a study examining Integral Yoga for hot flashes in peri- and post-menopausal women. Her current work funded by the National Cancer Institute examines a device-guided breathing intervention in early-stage post-treatment lung cancer survivors, work ability and related issues in young adult cancer survivors, and a stepped-care telehealth intervention for post-treatment, rural cancer survivors.

A. Rani Elwy, PhD

Dr. Elwy is a Research Health Scientist in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Associate Professor of Health Law, Policy and Management at Boston University School of Public Health.  She  has focused her research on establishing an evidence-base for complementary and alternative medicine as first-line treatments for Veterans with depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. She co-guest edited a special VA issue of the journal Medical Care, Building the Evidence Base for Complementary and Integrative Medicine Use among Veterans and Military Personnel, and is a member of VA’s Complementary and Integrative Health steering committee. Rani is the VA Principal Investigator (PI) for the BraveNet practice-based research network study “Patients Receiving Integrative Medicine Interventions Effectiveness Registry (PRIMIER)”, a prospective, observational patient-reported outcomes study. She has also been site PI of two randomized controlled trials of meditation and yoga as treatment for Veterans’ PTSD and chronic low back pain.

Neha Gothe, MA, PhD

Dr. Gothe is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Originally from Mumbai, India, her research and training has been in Psychology, Counseling and Kinesiology. Her work has focused on promoting physical activity, specifically traditional modes of activity such as yoga, as a means to improve health and quality of life. Overall, the goal of her research has been to enhance physical activity behavior including yoga to improve various health outcomes, including reduced functional limitations in older adults and improved cognitive function and psychosocial health.

Dr. Gothe is the Director of Exercise Psychophysiology Research Lab and mentors masters and PhD students. She has published 30 papers in the field of exercise science and behavioral medicine and was recently featured in popular media including the TIME magazine, public radio, and newspapers around the world for her seminal research on yoga and cognition.

Steffany Moonaz, PhD, RYT-500

Steffany is a yoga therapist and researcher in Baltimore, MD. After several years in academic medical research, she now serves as the Associate Academic Director of Integrative Health Sciences at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), and is on the faculty of their Masters of Science in Yoga Therapy. Dr. Moonaz is passionate about the integration, collaboration, and communication between yoga therapists and medical providers. She leads continuing education programs for yoga teachers/therapists in the application and adaptation of yoga for arthritis and rheumatic conditions and consultants to NIH Nursing on yoga research programs for arthritis.


Introducing Young Investigator:
Moé Kishida, MS

Moé Kishida, MS, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Kinesiology at the Pennsylvania State University. Moé's overarching interest lies in elucidating the role of mind-body approaches in the aging process, and its’ ability to enhance resilient resources for health and wellbeing. Her dissertation work will focus on better understanding the potential relational (intra- and interpersonal) effects of yoga practice, in the context of practitioners’ day-to-day lives.


Pre-conference Workshop Presenters

Catherine Cook-Cottone, PhD

Dr. Cook- Cottone is a Licensed Psychologist, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Associate Professor at SUNY at Buffalo. Her research specializes in embodied self- regulation (i.e., yoga, mindfulness, and self-care) and psychosocial disorders (e.g., eating disorders). She has written four books and over 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. Her most recent book is tilted, "Mindfulness and yoga for self-regulation: A primer for mental health professionals.” Presenting nationally and internationally, Catherine uses her model of embodied self-regulation to structure discussions on empirical work and practical applications. She teaches classes on mindful therapy, yoga for health and healing, self-care, history of psychology, and counseling with children and adolescents. She also maintains a private practice specializing in the treatment of: anxiety-based disorders (e.g., PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder), eating disorders (including other disorders of self-care), and development of emotional regulation skills.


Holger Cramer, PhD

Dr. Holger Cramer, is Director of Yoga Research at the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He also is Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Dr. Cramer has authored more than 100 scientific journal articles, books and book chapters on yoga, meditation, and integrative medicine. He has dedicated his research to building an evidence-base for yoga as a therapeutic intervention in physical and mental conditions. Dr. Cramer is a licensed mind-body therapist, holds an MSc in clinical psychology, and received his PhD in medical science with an award-winning thesis on yoga for chronic pain.

Erik Groessl, PhD

Dr. Groessl received his Clinical Psychology PhD in 1999 from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program with a specialization in behavioral medicine/ health psychology. He is an Associate Professor at the University of California San Diego, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and a researcher at the VA San Diego Medical Center. He is also the Center Director of the UCSD Health Services Research Center. He is PI on several projects at the VA San Diego UCSD that focus on yoga interventions and broader integrative medicine, including a 4-year RCT studying yoga for chronic low back pain among VA patients. He also continues to do research in the areas of Hepatitis C, health services research, outcomes assessment and quality of life, and cost-effectiveness.


Kim Innes, PhD

Dr. Innes is an Associate Professor in the West Virginia University Department of Epidemiology and the University of Virginia Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies.  She is an epidemiologist and clinical research scientist with a particular interest in yoga and related mind-body therapies for the prevention and management of cognitive impairment, restless legs syndrome (RLS), arthritis, diabetes, and other burdensome chronic disorders related to stress, sympathetic activation, and metabolic dysregulation.  Funded by grants from the NIH National Center Complementary and Integrative Health, the Office of Women’s Health, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, and other organizations, Dr. Innes’ current research includes clinical trials to assess the effects of yogic practices on: cognition, neuropsychiatric impairment, quality of life, and indices of cellular aging, inflammation and epigenetic profiles in older adults with preclinical memory loss;  RLS symptoms, sleep, mood, and related outcomes in adults with RLS; and pain, sleep, mood and related outcomes in older adults with osteoarthritis.

Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD

Sat Bir has practiced a yoga lifestyle for over 35 years. He is the Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women\'s Hospital in Boston. His central research funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of NIH is targeted at examining the efficacy of yoga for the treatment of chronic insomnia and the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness. He is also involved in research initiatives on yoga\'s effectiveness in drug dependency, at-risk youth, professional musicians, music students, cancer and cardiovascular disease among others. He has established relationships with fellow yoga researchers in the U.S. and Europe and in India where he routinely attends international yoga research conferences. Dr. Khalsa also teaches an elective course at Harvard Medical School in Mind Body Medicine.