SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COUNCIL
Chief Scientific Advisor
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.
Asst. Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Sleep Disorders Research Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., the KRI Director of Research, received his doctorate in human physiology and neuroscience at the University of Toronto and has conducted research in neuroscience, biological rhythms, sleep and sleep disorders for more than 25 years. He has been involved in the practice of yoga for more than 35 years and is a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
His current research is both basic and clinical and centers on the effectiveness of yoga and meditation practices; he is currently conducting clinical research trials evaluating a yoga treatment for insomnia funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. In active collaboration with the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, he directs their research team and is involved in a current project that evaluates the benefits of yoga for professional musicians, among others. He has additional collaborations examining the role of yoga as a therapeutic treatment for conditions such as diabetes, stress, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Khalsa has established relationships with fellow yoga researchers in the US as well as in Europe and India, where he routinely attends and presents at international yoga research conferences. He also teaches Mind Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School, which provides medical students with direct exposure to Kundalini Yoga.
Ma Gloria Borras-Boneu, M.D.
GRD Health Institute
Dr. Borras-Boneu graduated from the Medical School of Barcelona in 1980. She developed her research in Immunology and Enzymes in Chronic Diseases, and specialized in Women’s Health. She stayed at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Houston, University of Texas, and afterwards as Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, to work in Endocrinology and Immunobiology of human neoplasms. At Harvard University she started the disciplines of mind and body coordination, with breathing, movement and mental focusing.
By 1990 she came back to Barcelona and worked as a hospital medical doctor, where she taught and participated in research. She kept up her oriental practice which allowed her to receive training as a Kundalini Yoga and Sat Nam Rasayan Meditation Teacher.
After 2000 she developed her practice in the Corachan Clinic and started the Consciousness, Health and Medicine program in the GRD Medic Health Institute. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson (USA). She collaborates in the GRD Centre for Medicine and Humanology Foundation in Espanola (USA), and is a member of the section for Natural Medicine in COMB and the Medical Sciences Academy of Catalonia and Balearic islands.
Karen Innes, MSPH, Ph.D.
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, Center on Aging
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
As an epidemiologist and clinical researcher, Dr. Innes' work focuses on the etiology, prevention, and management of chronic, age-related disorders linked to stress, sympathetic activation, and metabolic dysregulation. Her current research includes clinical trials to investigate the potential utility of yoga in the prevention and management of chronic insulin resistance conditions, funded by grants from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Office of Research on Women’s Health, as well as research initiatives regarding the potential benefits of mind-body interventions in adults with early stage Alzheimer’s disease (and their caregivers), Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome, and osteoarthritis. Additional research projects include investigations regarding the determinants, distribution, and sequellae of sleep impairment in both adolescents and older adults, including the role of sympathetic activation and metabolic dysregulation in the etiology and progression of specific sleep disorders, and more recently, the relation of specific environmental pollutants to the development of chronic, proinflammatory, age-related conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
Miia Kivipelto, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Geriatric Epidemiology at Karolinska Institute
Deputy Head of the Aging Research Center
Miia’s research focuses on prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Through epidemiological studies she has identified midlife vascular and lifestyle risk factors for later dementia/AD and aims to build on these observations to improve knowledge transfer and public awareness and to design intervention trials to mitigate these factors including lifestyle manipulations, such as exercise interventions. Miia is principal investigator for the population-based study Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) and the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), one of the first multi-domain intervention studies in the world aimed at preventing or postponing dementia. She is also part of a Europe’s first-ever European Dementia Prevention Initiative (EDPI). Miia leads a group of multidisciplinary researchers that includes 4 postdocs and 9 doctoral students. Her group has close connections with the University of Eastern Finland and the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Helsinki and this collaboration has led to the development of the Nordic Brain Network (NBN), which has increased the utilization and exchange of resources and information about aging. She is also involved in many international networks and scientific/steering committees. Miia has received several awards including: Junior Chamber International: Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World 2011; Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact 2009; The Association of European Psychiatrists and European Bristol-Myers Squibb Prevention Award in Psychiatry 2007 and Martti Hämäläinen’s Award for Young Researcher 2002.
Karen Koffler, M.D.
Carillon Hotel & Spa (formerly Canyon Ranch)
Miami Beach, Florida
Karen Koffler, M.D. received her medical degree at the University of Miami. After her internship year in Chicago, she went to the University of Colorado to complete her residency in Internal Medicine. She began her career as an emergency room physician in a variety of settings, including the VA Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and the Indian Health Service where she worked on several Indian reservations in North and South Dakota and in Arizona. She helped to develop the first Hospitalist program for Kaiser Permanente in Denver and went on to focus in Intensive Care Unit Medicine.
It was during her position as a hospitalist that she began to realize that the health care system she was working in did little to prevent disease, often contributed to illness, and did not seek to understand the root of a patient’s disorder. It was then that she decided to look for a way of practicing medicine that was more compatible with a personal philosophy of ferreting out the underlying process contributing to a person’s symptoms, and using as gentle means as possible to restore health.
This led to her being accepted into the first class of physicians trained by Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona. After a two-year fellowship focused on expanding her conventional training to include nutrition, herbs, vitamins, and supplements, mind-body therapies, spirituality, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and other alternative approaches to healing, she was recruited to Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Chicago to design and run an Integrative Medical Clinic.
In her seven-year tenure there, she helped develop a survey tool to evaluate outcomes of an integrative medical approach, influenced the hospital pharmacy so that their initial reluctance to investigate and carry supplements was overcome, ran a fellowship in integrative medicine, taught at Northwestern Medical School, and developed a clinic that received 60% of their referrals from the physicians on staff.
Presently, she is the Medical Director at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach, where she uses functional medicine and natural approaches to help transform the health of their guests. Dr. Koffler is also Assistant Medical Director for the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation.
Helen Lavretsky, M.D.
UCLA Semel Institute and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital
Los Angeles, California
Dr. Helen Lavretsky is an Associate Professor In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and a geriatric psychiatrist with the research interest in geriatric depression.
She is a recipient of the Career Development award from NIMH and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include investigations of psychopharmacological treatment of geriatric depression, the impact of the MRI brain structural changes on outcomes of geriatric depression and normal aging, the interaction of co-existing medical and psychiatric disorders in relation to health and functional outcomes in the elderly. She has developed an elective rotation in clinical research for Medical Students at UCLA, which has been active for the past 2 years.
After receiving her Medical Degree from the Moscow Medical Institute, Dr. Lavretsky performed her residency in Psychiatry at UCLA-San Fernando Valley Residency Program, followed by the UCLA Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry, and the national VA Research Fellowship in Neurosciences. She received her Degree of Master of Science in Clinical Research from UCLA in 2004.
George Perry, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Dean College of Sciences
University of Texas at San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
Ph.D., Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Dr. Perry joined the UTSA faculty in 2006 from Case Western Reserve University where he was Professor of Pathology and Neurosciences and Chair of the Department of Pathology. He is also distinguished as one of the top 20 Alzheimer’s disease researchers with over 800 publications, one of the top 100 most-cited scientists in Neuroscience & Behavior and one of the top 25 scientists in Free Radical research . He currently serves as and President for the American Association of Neuropathologists. He is on the editorial board of over 60 journals including American Journal of Pathology and Journal of Biological Chemistry, and is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Our studies are focused on the mechanism of formation and physiological consequences of the cytopathology of Alzheimer disease. We have shown that oxidative damage is the initial cytopathology in Alzheimer disease. We are working to determine the sequence of events leading to neuronal oxidative damage and the source of the increased oxygen radicals. Our current studies focus on (i) the mechanism for RNA-based redox metal binding; (ii) the consequences of RNA oxidation on protein synthesis rate and fidelity; (iii) the role of redox active metals in mediating prooxidant and antioxidant properties; (iv) the signal transduction pathways altered in Alzheimer’s disease that allow neurons to evade apoptosis; and (v) mechanism of phosphorylation control of oxidative damage to neurofilament proteins.
Michelle Sierpina, Ph.D.
Founding Director, UTMB Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning
University of Texas Medical Branch
Dr. Michelle Sierpina, Founding Director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas, began her work in eldercare in the 1960’s. She developed a series of lifestory writing and sharing group modalities which, taken together, form The Pentimento Project. Combining lifestory with Visible Lives storyboard intervention, and TimeSlips©, storytelling group modality for those with dementia, she offers facilitator training in UTMB’s Creativity Continuum to health care professionals, lay persons, and volunteers in Texas and around the country. She guides others in forming and leading lifestory groups from New York to Nevada and New Zealand to Greece and recently Italy and Russia.
She has taught at UT Houston Center on Aging, University of Nevada, Reno, St. George’s Medical University in Grenada, and at conferences around the nation, as well as in UTMB’s Institute for the Medical Humanities and School of Nursing Graduate Program. Sierpina has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics in gerontology, spirituality, and creativity in elders. Continuing her research on lifestory writing and sharing groups, she studies and nurtures creativity among elders across the entire continuum of functional capability.
Under her leadership, OLLI at UTMB has received three consecutive $100,000 annual grants from the Bernard Osher Foundation and a $1 million endowment (with $50,000 bridge funding) in 2008.