2018 SYR Presenters
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SYR 2018

is pleased to welcome our honored presenters


Keynote Presenters


Sara W. Lazar, PhD is an Associate Researcher in the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. The focus of her research is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of yoga and meditation, both in clinical settings and in healthy individuals. She is a contributing author to Meditation and Psychotherapy (Guilford Press). She has been practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation since 1994. Her research has been covered by numerous news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and WebMD, and her work has been featured in a display at the Boston Museum of Science.

More information can be found at http://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/~lazar/

Robert B. Saper, MD MPH is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Boston University. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1988 and the UCSF Family Medicine Residency in 1992. After being in private practice for eight years in the San Francisco Bay Area, he completed the Harvard NCCIH T32-funded Integrative Medicine Research Fellowship from 2001-2004. In 2004 he founded the Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. His research focus is the implementation of evidence-based integrative medicine approaches for underserved populations. He has received federal funding from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to study yoga for chronic back pain and a PCORI contract for a national pragmatic trial of physical therapy for the prevention of chronic back pain. Dr. Saper is the current chair of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health. He has published over 45 peer-reviewed papers and has lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Saper continues to see patients for primary care and integrative medicine. He mentors medical students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty.


Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH is a Senior Scientific Investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and an Affiliate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. An epidemiologist by training, her research interests include improving care for chronic pain, improving methods for CIH clinical trials, evaluating non-pharmacological evaluating complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies for common health problems and building the evidence base for contextual factors related to care. She’s lead or participated in groundbreaking clinical trials of various non-pharmacological therapies for chronic low back pain, including acupuncture, massage, meditation and yoga. Dr. Sherman has conducted some of the earliest and largest studies of yoga for back pain. Her work is widely cited and has contributed to the strength of evidence for the benefits of these therapies in treating chronic low back pain. Dr. Sherman has lectured internationally on study design in CIH and chronic pain trials and served on national and international expert panels on these topics as well.


She is the author of over 100 scientific papers and has served as an editorial board member for six CIH journals, and a reviewer for dozens of medical journals as well as government reports related to CIH.


Oral Presenters

Dr. Sundar Balasubramanian is a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina studying cancer therapeutics, and Yoga. His recent research provides evidence how Pranayama (Yogic breathing) practices could promote wellbeing in the context of health and disease as studied using alterations in salivary biomarkers. Sundar is a member of International Association of Yoga Therapists and the Integral Yoga Teachers Association, and is an IAYT-certified Yoga Therapist. He is the Founder/Director of PranaScience Institute, and a speaker at TEDx Charleston 2015. His recent book is “PranaScience: Decoding Yoga Breathing”.


Brandon Eggleston PhD MPH MCHES CPH  is a professor of public health at National University in San Diego, California. Dr. Eggleston researches the psychosocial determinants of yoga practice and also the benefits of yoga for various populations (children, college athletes, older adults, and individuals with chronic conditions).  He currently is conducting research on the benefits of yoga in schools, yoga for empowerment, and the psychosocial determinants of practicing yoga. I have included both pdf and jpeg photos.



Dr. Susan Gould Fogerite, Associate Professor, Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Primary Care, Rutgers School of Health Professions, B.S., Medical Technology, SUNY at Albany and Albany Medical College, and Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Albany Medical College, is an inventor on over 25 patents, and Founder and former Director of a specialty pharmaceutical company (BDSI, Nasdaq). She has taught many Medical and Graduate School courses, published numerous scientific articles and book chapters, organized and chaired international scientific meetings, and led or been an investigator on numerous funded research studies and clinical trials, on yoga, massage, nutrition, vaccines, drug and gene delivery.  Dr. Gould Fogerite has served as Co-Chair, Research Working Group, Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, and on the Board of Directors, International Association of Yoga Therapists, and is a certified yoga/meditation teacher.  Her focus is on integrative research and teaching of health science, and mind and body practices. 


Jennifer Huberty, Ph.D., is an Associate professor at Arizona State University in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. Her research interests include physical activity and lifestyle behavior change in women including the use of complementary approaches to improve health. She has implemented online and mobile app interventions to improve mental and physical health in stillbirth mothers, pregnant women and cancer patients and works closely with industry partners including Udaya.com, CALM and Text4Baby. Dr. Huberty has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and is currently Co-Editor for Translational Behavioral Medicine. She is also the founder and director of Fit Minded, a physical activity adherence program for adult women (www.befitminded.com). She has received $4 million in grants from entities such as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and recently the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Huberty is married with two sons, is a dedicated yoga practitioner and recently finished her 200-hour yoga teacher training.   


Takakazu Oka, MD is a Japanese physician specializing in psychosomatic medicine. He exclusively treats patients with stress-related, psychosomatic diseases, i.e., physical diseases and conditions affected by psychosocial factors. Currently, he is a professor and chairman of Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, International University of Health and Welfare.  He has been interested in Oriental medicine and studied acupuncture and herbal medicine as well as modern medicine and practiced yoga since he was a medical student at Hiroshima University.  In 1985, he became a resident of department of psychosomatic medicine, Kyushu University. After clinical training, he started a research on psycho-neuro-immune interaction at Integrative Physiology, Kyushu University and Neurology, Harvard Medical School (1998-2002).  One of his recent studies is to assess the therapeutic effect of isometric yoga on myalgiac encephalaomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and its underlying mechanisms.


Arlene Schmid, PhD, OTR, RYT-200 has been an occupational therapist for over 20 years and began using yoga in her clinical practice with clients with various disabilities. She completed her doctoral work at the University of Florida in Rehabilitation Sciences with the intention of studying the benefits of yoga for people with disabilities. Dr. Schmid is now an associate professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Occupational Therapy. She has run multiple research studies assessing the impact of yoga after stroke, brain-injury, pain, and with other diagnostic populations. Dr. Schmid also studies the integration of yoga into occupational therapy, during both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, including the intensive care unit. Dr. Schmid is the author of nearly 70 publications, with the majority of papers related to yoga. Recently, she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training to better understand yogic philosophies and the underpinnings of yoga as therapy. 

   2018 SYR Young Investigator

Nicholas P. Cherup, MS, is a second-year doctoral student in the Kinesiology and Sports Science department at the University of Miami. As a research assistant in the Laboratory of Neuromuscular Research and Active Aging, Nicholas’s research line is focused on the therapeutic effects of yoga in the elderly and individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  More specifically, he is interested in how yoga can be used to improve functional movement and enhance cognition within these populations. He has also conducted research examining the impact of mindfulness training to mitigate stress perception with college students and student athletes. Nicholas is a registered yoga instructor (RYT-200) who holds weekly community classes funded by the Parkinson’s foundation. His academic and career goals are to contribute meaningful research to the field of Kinesiology and to further legitimate the efficacy of yoga as a therapeutic modality across a variety of clinical populations.  

Scientific Program Committee Members and
Pre-Conference Presenters



Kim Innes, PhD

Dr. Innes is Professor, Department of Epidemiology at the West Virginia University School of Public Health.  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.


Symposium Chair


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.


Lanay Mudd, PhD

Dr. Mudd, is the Training Officer for the National Center for Complementary Health (NCCIH), and is also a Program Director in the NCCIH Clinical Research Branch. Her grant portfolio centers on clinical studies of movement meditation, including yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, for a variety of conditions and populations. As the Training Officer, Dr. Mudd also oversees the training and career development programs at NCCIH and develops and maintains resources for students, postdoctoral trainees, and early-mid career faculty pursuing research careers. Dr. Mudd earned a dual-major doctoral degree in kinesiology and epidemiology, and completed postdoctoral training in perinatal epidemiology at Michigan State University. Prior to joining NCCIH, she was an assistant professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University, where her research investigated the health benefits of physical activity during pregnancy and the development of interventions to improve health behaviors among pregnant women.



Karen M. Mustian, PhD, M.S., MPH, ACSM, FSBM

Dr. Mustian is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Radiation Oncology and Public Health Sciences and the Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  Dr. Mustian is Director of the URMC PEAK Human Performance Clinical Research Lab and Deputy Director of the NCI URCC NCORP Research Base.  Internationally and nationally, Dr. Mustian is Chair of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Fatigue Study Group and Chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Symptom Management and Quality of Life Steering Committee.  She is a member of the NCI Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group’s Community Oncology Cardiotoxicity Task Force and the NCI National Clinical Trials Network Disease Steering Committee Chairs Group. 



Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD,  RYT-500

Dr. Neumark-Sztainer is Mayo Professor and Division Head in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer’s research focuses on a broad spectrum of eating and weight-related outcomes including eating disorders, unhealthy weight control behaviors, body image, dietary intake, weight stigmatization, and obesity. She is dedicated to ensuring that her research has a positive impact on the health of the public, particularly our most vulnerable populations. She leads an active program of research and recently received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health to fund her work. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer has published nearly 500 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Her research has been recognized with awards from the Academy for Eating Disorders, the National Eating Disorders Association, and the Eating Disorders Coalition. She is the author of the book: I'm, Like, SO Fat! Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World. In recent  years, she has been exploring the potential for using yoga as a tool for addressing weight-related problems.



Stephanie Jean Sohl, PhD

Dr. Sohl is an Assistant Professor at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the mind-body relationship and cancer survivorship. Specifically, she aims to strengthen the evidence base for scalable mind-body approaches (e.g., yoga, integrative health coaching) that aim to empower patients with strategies for achieving optimal health. Her work is innovative because she adapts mind-body approaches that may be efficacious so they can be integrated into and enhance conventional care. For example, her current Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) supports an investigation of a brief yoga intervention targeted to reduce fatigue that is taught in the clinical setting during chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. Dr. Sohl earned her doctorate in Social and Health Psychology from Stony Brook University and completed postdoctoral fellowships in Cancer Prevention and Control at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Wake Forest School of Medicine with a focus on Cancer Survivorship and Integrative Oncology. She has also completed a Kripalu-affiliated 200-hour yoga teacher training, Integral Yoga Adapting Yoga for People with Cancer Teacher Training, and the Urban Zen Integrative Therapist training program.