Conference Presenters

Tibetan Buddhists

Indian Scientists

Western Scientists

Geshe Tenpa Phakchok

Tenpa Phakchok was born in India and became a monk in 1970 at Drepung Gomang Monastery in south India, where he studied continuously for 20 years until finishing his traditional studies in 1990. In 1991, he enrolled for Gelukpa examination and finished his Lharampa degree in 1996. In 1997, Geshe Tenpa joined Gyumed Tantric University to study Tantra and received his Tantric Lharampa degree in 1999. He had served his monastery in various administrative and spiritual positions, including Lama Shunglepa and the disciplinary master. Since 2000, Geshe Tenpa has also been closely involved in the various science education programs initiated by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, including the Emory Tibet Science Initiative and the Science for Monks Program. Geshe Tenpa spends most of the his teaching Buddhist philosophy at his home monastery in South India.

Sonam Dolma

CCC_SonamDolma_2013Sonam Dolma is Tibetan medical doctor with Men-Tsee-Khang, the Tibetan Medical Institute, in Dharamsala. Sonam completed here BA and MA from Punjab University, Chandigarh. Sonam went on to study Tibetan Medicine for 6 years at Men-Tsee-Khang, from 1992 1997. Dr Sonam has studied under some of the most preeminant Tibetan medical doctors and completed her Menramap degree in Tibetan Medicine in 2009. Dr Sonam has also worked as a translator, where she has translated fundamental medical texts such as the ‘Four Tantras’ from Tibetan into English. From 2010 to 2012, Dr. Sonam served as the vice-chairman of the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine, as well as head of the Translation Department at Men-Tsee-Khang. Dr. Sonam is currently serving as head of Men-Tsee-Khang’s Documentation & Publication department in Dharasmasala where she continues to practice Tibetan medicine.

Karma Thupten

Karma Thupten was born in Tibet to a nomadic family and left for India in the pursuit of freedom and education at the age of ten. He did his schooling from the Tibetan Children’s Village Schools and later Delhi University where he received a Bachelors in English Literature. In 2006, he joined a translation training program at Library of Tibetan Works and Archives and shortly after was hired by the Library’s Science Department as a research and translation officer. Karma has organized and translated various programs related with the promotion of scientific education in Tibetan monastic communities, helping build bridges between scientific and Tibetan Buddhist communities. Karma has also undertaken various science publications of the Library, including his latest translation “Tibetan Buddhism and the Modern Physics: Towards a union of love and Knowledge” by Professor Victor Mansfield. Based on his many years of experience with both Tibetan monastics and western scientific community, he sees that language and cultural subjectivity of these two traditions often become an obstacle for understanding each other that limit the scope of collaboration. He is interested in approaches that clear these source of misconceptions and further the development of this fruitful collaboration.

Geshe Lhakdor

CCC_GesheLhakdor_2013Geshe Lhakdor is the director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India. A distinguished Buddhist scholar, he was the English translator for His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, from 1989 to 2005. He has co-translated and co-produced several books by the Dalai Lama. From 1976 to 1986, Lhakdor studied specialized Buddhist philosophy in the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala and received the Master of Prajnaparamita in 1982. He also received the Master of Madhyamika in 1989 and the Master of Philosophy from the University of Delhi. Since 2002, Geshe Lhakdor has been an Honorary Professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. In 2008, he was also conferred an Honorary Professorship by the University of Delhi, Department of Psychology.

Nishant Seth

CCC_NishantSeth_2013Nishant Seth is a PhD Student in the Cognition Program at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences and Electronic Engineering at BITS-Pilani, Rajastan. Nishant has been part of the Doctoral Program since 2012, during which he has taken short courses on the Philosophy of Language and Signs, Embodied Cognition, Non-Linear Dynamics, Complex Systems, and Interdisciplinary, among others. His research involves philosophizing about, and experimenting with, perceptual extensions. These are artificial interfaces that change, or add to, our existing senses. During work hours, Nishant can be found toying with ideas and electronics to improve or test out a new perceptual extension. Over the past year he has built two such interfaces, one for echolocation, and another for neural-feedback.

Rajesh Kasturirangan

Rajesh Kasturirangan research interests are in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. His current work relates to applying a combination of philosophical argument, mathematical techniques and empirical observations to classical problems in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind such as the semantics of natural languages, the epistemology of beliefs and the structure of intentionality and consciousness.

Geet Oberoi

Geet Oberoi, Founder President, Orkids Foundation Society, has been working in the field of special education for almost 20 years. She started her teaching career in 1994 teaching children with special education needs as a special educator and today is one of the front-runner crusader for Inclusive education in our society in the real sense of the word. Geet’s tenacity and the determination to be a true advocate for children with special needs has always been the underpinning of her endeavors. Special needs is a much misunderstood and ignored reality in the Indian society and needs crusaders who can work relentlessly towards the shift from a ‘charity-based’ model to a ‘rights-based’ model of society. It is a task needing persons who believe inclusion is a way of life and Geet has exhibited that over the years. Geet has a Doctorate in psychology (Learning Disabilities), a Masters’ degree in Psychology and Diploma in Special Education.

Gaëlle Desbordes

CCC_GaelleDesbordes_2013Gaëlle Desbordes is a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging within the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and a visiting scholar at Boston University. Trained as a neuroscientist (PhD, Boston University) and with previous postgraduate training in engineering and computer science, Dr. Desbordes’s current research focuses on the neuroscientific investigation of contemplative practices, using advanced methods in brain imaging (especially functional MRI) and physiological measurements of the autonomic nervous system. She is particularly interested in contemplative methods for cultivating loving-kindness and compassion (e.g., Tibetan lo-jong practices). For the past four years, Dr. Desbordes has worked in collaboration with Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi (Emory University) and Dr. Charles Raison (University of Arizona) on a scientific study that examines how Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), an 8-week secular training program based on lo-jong practices, affects emotional processing in the brains of participants and their physiological response to psychosocial stress. In addition, Dr. Desbordes is the recipient of a Francisco J. Varela Research Award from the Mind and Life Institute for an ongoing study of the neural and physiological correlates of visualization practices in experienced Vajrayana practitioners. She is also on the neuroscience faculty at the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative—an ongoing effort overseen by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives aimed at implementing a comprehensive and sustainable science curriculum for Tibetan monastics.

Chris Impey

CCC_ChrisImpey_2013Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor and Deputy Head of the Department at the University of Arizona, in charge of academic programs. His research is on observational cosmology, gravitational lensing, and the evolution and structure of galaxies. He has over 160 refereed publications and 60 conference proceedings, and his work has been supported by $20 million in grants from NASA and the NSF. As a professor, he has won eleven teaching awards, and has been heavily involved in curriculum and instructional technology development. Chris is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society. He has also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and the Carnegie Council on Teaching’s Arizona Professor of the Year. Chris has written over thirty popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology and authored two introductory textbooks. His has published three popular science books: The Living Cosmos (2007, Random House), How It Ends (2010, Norton) and How It Began (2012, Norton). He has three more popular books in preparation. He was a co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group for the Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has participated in the Science for Monks program since 2008.

Eric Chudler

Eric H. Chudler is a research neuroscientist interested in how the brain processes information about pain and nociception and how neuroactive chemicals from plants affect the nervous system. Eric received his Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1985. He has worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD (1986-1989) and in the Department of Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA (1989-1991). He is currently a research associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the executive director of Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine and the Graduate Program of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of Washington. In addition to performing basic neuroscience research, Eric works with other neuroscientists and classroom teachers to develop educational materials to help K-12 students learn about the brain. His web site, Neuroscience for Kids, is accessed millions of times each year by students and teachers from around the world.

Bobby Sager

CCC_BobbySagerBobby Sager is a tough-minded businessman who made a fortune by seeing opportunity where others have not. Bobby was a driving force behind the spectacular growth of Gordon Brothers Group. Bobby joined Gordon Brothers in 1986 when it was a small Boston-based jewelry business. Today, Gordon Brothers is a preeminent global financial services business conducting over $10 billion of transactions annually, with over 10 offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Bobby currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Polaroid. In 2000, Bobby and his wife and kids founded the Sager Family Traveling Foundation & Roadshow. Three dozen trips later, the Sagers have established their own special brand of hands-on, eyeball-to-eyeball philanthropy. Their philanthropy uses business principles and business accountability, whether it’s fostering entrepreneurship in Rwanda and Palestine, training teachers in Pakistan or a leadership program for Tibetan monks. Bobby has also been a pioneer in catalyzing Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) as a platform to make a difference. YPO is a global network of 20,000 business leaders in 120 countries whose companies’ sales are equivalent to the world’s third largest economy.