Clifford D. Saron is an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain and MIND Institute at the University of California at Davis. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1999 under the direction of Dr. Herbert Vaughan. Dr. Saron has had a long-standing interest in the effects of contemplative practice on physiology and behavior. In the early 1990s,  he coordinated field research investigating Tibetan Buddhist mind training under the auspices of the Private Office of H. H. the Dalai Lama and the Mind and Life Institute. He has served on the Mind and Life Program and Research Council and been a frequent faculty member at the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute. Dr. Saron is Principal Investigator of the Shamatha Project, a multidisciplinary longitudinal investigation of the effects of long-term intensive meditation on physiological and psychological processes central to well-being, attention, emotion regulation and health. It was conceived with and taught by Alan Wallace in collaboration with a large consortium of researchers at UC Davis and elsewhere. In 2012, Dr. Saron and his team were awarded the inaugural Templeton Prize Research Grant in honor of H. H. the Dalai Lama to continue work on the Shamatha Project. Dr. Saron’s other research area focuses on uni- and multisensory processing in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These studies use electrophysiological and behavioral methods to better understand individual differences in how these children experience their everyday sensory environments. In new research with colleagues at UCSF and, Dr. Saron is exploring how mindfulness-based interventions can ease the chronic stress of mothers of children with ASD in ways that may be beneficial for the mothers, the whole family system, and contribute to a lessoning of difficulties for the affected children.

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