People

Dusana Dorjee, PhD is a cognitive neuroscientist heading the Laboratory for Developmental Neuroscience of Well-being. She received her PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Science (Cognitive Neural Systems Program) from the University of Arizona and holds two master’s degrees, one in clinical psychology (Comenius University) and the other in cognitive psychology and cognitive science (University of Arizona). Dusana also studied philosophy of science and philosophy of mind at doctorate level.

Dusana established her lab in 2011 and developed its research program which over the years expanded from neuroscience research on mindfulness towards current broader focus on neuroscience of well-being and developmental contemplative neuroscience. Dusana has authored and co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed articles and peer-reviewed book chapters. She received several research grants in support of her research, including a Mind and Life Contemplative Studies Fellowship. Dusana also authored two peer-reviewed monographs - 'Mind, Brain, and the Path to Happiness' (2013) and 'Neuroscience and Psychology of Meditation in Everyday Life' (2017), both published by Routledge. In addition, she recently co-authored (with focus on neuroscience content) a well-being program for 3-11 year old primary school children called The Present Course for Children. You can find more information on Dusana's latest activities and her blog at http://dusanadorjee.net/.

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PhD students


Shelby DeMeulenaere
is a PhD student in the Dorjee Lab. Originally from the U.S., Shelby completed her B.A. in Psychology with a Philosophy Minor at Central College in Pella, Iowa. While completing her undergraduate degree, Shelby was afforded the opportunity to study abroad at Bangor University for a semester. In Bangor she recognized the excellent research being conducted by the Bangor Psychology Department and decided to complete her M.Sc in Clinical Psychology at Bangor. During her Masters degree studies, Shelby researched how mindfulness impacts electrophysiological markers of emotion regulation in adults. With an increasing interest in mindfulness research, she recognized the potential for mindfulness as a preventive tool for age-related cognitive decline.

As such, she commenced a PhD, supervised by Dr. Dusana Dorjee, on mindfulness with older adults. Her Ph.D. project is examining the effects of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on markers of dementia progression in older adults, age 60 and above. Using questionnaires, neuropsychological assessments, and brain measures including ERPs, DTI, voxel-based morphometry and fMRI based default-mode network assessments, this pseudo-randomised longitudinal study investigates changes in self-regulation of stress, cognitive performance, brain function, brain connectivity and brain structure. Shelby has finished her data collection and is now analysing and writing up her findings.

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Thy Nguyen has background in Educational Psychology (BSc and MA) from her studies in Vietnam. She then received an MSc in Psychological Research at Bangor University in 2015 which was a firm step in preparation for her PhD studies.

Thy gained teaching experience during her job as a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, Vietnam, where she taught from 2004 until moving to the UK for her master's studies. Besides, being trained in the field of school psychology with National Association of School Psychologists (USA), she practiced counseling skills as a school counselor at the Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Vietnam and some secondary as well as primary schools in Vietnam.

Based on this work, she developed an interest in emotional health of children and effective strategies to improve children’s ability of emotion regulation in different settings. She is currently working on her PhD project in our lab in the School of Psychology at Bangor University supervised by Dr. Dusana Dorjee. The project aims to investigate how mindfulness training affects emotion regulation in Vietnamese children at primary school age and explores cultural values which may mediate this causal link.

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Alumni PhD students

Kevanne Sanger, PhD previously studied for her BSc and MSc at Bangor University, before spending 1.5 years as a Research Assistant with the NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust in Gloucestershire investigating personal recovery in people living with psychosis. Her personal interest in developing the well-being of young people stems from her work with 'young and talented' athletes in karate and fencing, whilst also assisting to teach stress and mood management courses with the Swindon Primary Care Psychology Trust. She believes that prevention is the best form of treatment, and that integrating skills of mental resilience and self-awareness into the school curricula would be advantageous across the board.

Kevanne worked on her Ph.D. project titled “A psychophysiological investigation of mindfulness training in secondary schools: Modifications in emotion regulation and cognitive control in adolescents practicing mindfulness” under the supervision of Dr. Dorjee between 2012 and 2016. After successfully completing her PhD at Bangor University, she started DClinPsy studies in September 2016. 

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Rebekah Kaunhoven, PhD completed both a B.Sc. in Psychology and an M.Sc. in Foundations of Clinical Neuropsychology at Bangor University. During her Master's studies Rebekah developed a keen interest in the neurocognitive impact of mindfulness on emotion regulation and her Master's research project used electrophysiological methods to investigate the effects of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation and rumination in adults.

This research interest has carried forward into a PhD where Rebekah investigated the impact of mindfulness training on emotion regulation in primary school children. Her PhD project was titled “Neurocognitive evaluation of mindfulness training in primary schools”. This PhD project aimed to provide an insight into how mindfulness impacts upon attention and emotion regulation processes in children from key stage 2 (7-11 years). This longitudinal non-randomised study involved the implementation of a mindfulness curriculum into four primary schools in North Wales (two training group schools and two control schools).

The curriculum was delivered over twelve weeks by school teachers in their classrooms with support from a mindfulness trainer. Along with self-report measures of attention and emotion regulation, the physiological changes in brain and body arising from mindfulness training were assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs) and a heart-rate variability measure called respiratory sinus arrhythmia. These measures were taken before and after delivery of the curriculum and (except for the ERPs) at three-month follow up. Manuscripts reporting the findings of this project are currently under review. Rebekah successfully completed her PhD studies in August 2017. 

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Charlotte Vickery, C.Psychol. completed a three year post graduate Diploma in Mindfulness, following a degree in Psychology. As part of her working towards a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClin) at Bangor University her research thesis project was supervised by Dr. Dorjee. The research investigated the effects of mindfulness training on emotional well-being of primary aged children. This was a very new and exciting area of research, and she felt privileged to be working with local schools, communities and her colleagues in this area.

Charlotte has taught a number of mindfulness courses to the general public and within the NHS, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). She has a personal practice of mindfulness extending 8 years, and as a qualified Yoga teacher, she has also taught mindful yoga for 10 years. Her professional interests in Psychology include mindfulness and wellbeing, and self-compassion and mental health. Charlotte successfully completed her research project and her DClin studies in 2015. 

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Alumni Research Staff

Laura Perry studied for her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at Bangor University whilst working as a support worker for children with autism and adolescents in care. She became interested in mindfulness in her first year of undergraduate study, and went on to undertake research into its dissemination, and complete the 8 week course in mindfulness based approaches. Laura supported several research projects on neuroscience of mindfulness in schools in the Contemplative Neuroscience Lab over two years of working as a research project support officer with  us.

Laura is interested in the wider applications of mindfulness, in the context of its possible general health benefits. She is currently continuing her studies at the doctoral level, she is completing a doctorate in clinical psychology. 

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Alumni MSc students

Ashlee Prince

Emma Campbell

Oroub Mubarak

Tugce Capraz

John Wilson

Jessica Thompson

Marilyn De Cotta

Joseph Mathew

Maha Al-Radji

Huansheng Li

Shelby De Meulenaere

Aleksandra Laszczynska

Ciara Glennon

Melissa Anderson

Asmuni Ab Ghani

Keith Eurlings

Mhairi Wilson

Shanker Venkatasumbramanian

Rebekah Kaunhoven

Franca Buhnemann

Marina Simeou

Gwen Farrell

Anthony Brennan-Craddock

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Alumni Lab Visitors

Professor Xianhua Liu, Hengyang Normal University, China

Dr. Rastislav Sumec, Department of Neurology, St. Anne's University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic

Dr. Lena Wimmer, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Desiree Sartori, University of Padu, Italy

Marco Cappi, University of Padua, Italy

Dr. Marcio Sussumu-Hirayama, University of Campinas, Brazil

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