Highlighting Osher Research Fellows’ Work in Progress: Biology of Acupoints, Mindfulness in Primary Care, Integrative Behavioral Interventions in HIV

Event Date: March 7th, 2023

Jacklyn Foley, PhD, Michael Datko, PhD & EunMee (Amy) Yang, PhD, MPH, LAc

Highlighting Osher Research Fellows’ Work in Progress: Biology of Acupoints, Mindfulness in Primary Care, Integrative Behavioral Interventions in HIV

Event Details:


This is a special Grand Rounds that consists of 3 15-minute mini lectures from the Osher Research Fellows about their current projects.

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 7, 2023 | 8:00am – 9:00am US EDT
Cost: Free. CME credit available. Email [email protected] during the presentation to claim credit.

Presentation Descriptions:

EunMee (Amy) Yang, PhD: Research postdoctoral fellow, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Presentation Title: What is the Point? – Exploring the Physiological Basis of Acupuncture Points

Presentation Description: The field of acupuncture research has grown and progressed significantly over the past few decades. However, fundamental gaps in knowledge and methodological issues substantially hinder further progress. One major barrier to progress is a lack of clarity on the scientific basis of acupuncture points or acupoints. Although the concept of acupoints is central to the theory and practice of acupuncture, it is largely unclear whether acupoints “exist” and what physiological effects are induced locally at the site of needling. In this presentation, Dr. Yang will share an overview of prior literature, recent developments from animal research, and her own clinical and translational research work focused on the physiological basis of acupoints.

Speaker Bio: EunMee (Amy) Yang, PhD, MPH, LAc is a licensed acupuncturist and postdoctoral fellow at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, jointly based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). She is also a recent graduate of the NIH/NCCIH funded HMS Research Fellowship in Integrative Medicine. Her prior training includes PhD in Acupuncture from Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, MS in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) from Virginia University of Oriental Medicine, MS in Physiology of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) from Georgetown University, and BS in Biology from MIT. The primary focus of her research is understanding the physiological basis of acupoints and mechanisms of action underlying acupuncture efficacy to ultimately inform practice and optimize acupuncture treatment outcomes.

Watch the below interview with Dr. Yang to learn about her passion driven research and background.



Michael Datko, PhD: T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge Health Alliance

Presentation Title: Changes in Interoception and Emotion Regulation Drive Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Patients with Anxiety and Depression

Presentation Description: Mindfulness Training for Primary Care (MTPC) is an 8-week, trauma-informed, mindfulness-based program designed for primary care patients to enhance chronic illness self-management, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while motivating health behavior change. We hypothesized that MTPC would lead to increased brain response in brain areas that process interoception and emotion regulation in patients with anxiety and depression. We used two functional MRI tasks before and after the MTPC intervention to study neural mechanisms of mindfulness-induced behavior change. In one task, participants were asked to focus on an interoceptive sensation (i.e. their heartbeat) or an exteroceptive stimulus. In another task, we measured the brain response to the anticipation of an incoming evoked cuff pressure pain stimulus. We found that changes in brain response to these tasks were linked with clinically relevant behavioral changes. We also found that mindfulness affected these brain mechanisms differently in patients with moderate to severe depression compared to those with primarily anxiety symptoms. This finding that mindfulness works through different mechanisms depending on the symptom profiles of each patient has implications for the design of future mindfulness-based interventions.

Speaker Bio: Michael Datko, PhD is an NCCIH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and is affiliated with the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, the MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He completed a PhD in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, where he studied brain networks supporting social cognition in children with autism spectrum conditions. He has studied the effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for smoking cessation on brain response to smoking-related cues. He now uses fMRI to study the effects of technology-assisted MBIs on brain mechanisms of interoceptive awareness in patients with anxiety, depression, and episodic migraine.

Watch the below interview with Dr. Datko to learn about his path to research and integrative medicine.


Jacklyn D. Foley, PhD: Research Fellow in Integrative Medicine (T32), Clinical Fellow in Psychology, Behavioral Medicine Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Presentation Title: Developing Integrative Behavioral Interventions to Promote the Health of Older People with HIV

Presentation Description: This presentation will highlight research in progress and in development aimed at developing integrative behavioral interventions to promote the health of older people with HIV. This includes a pilot trial of a third-wave cognitive behavioral therapy group intervention to reduce inflammation among older people with HIV; and a multi-stage (mixed-methods data collection, open pilot, and pilot randomized controlled trial) of an integrative behavioral intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among older people with HIV.

Speaker Bio: Jacklyn D. Foley, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and postdoctoral fellow supported by the Harvard Medical School Integrative Medicine T32 fellowship. Her research primarily focuses on developing, refining, and validating mindfulness-based interventions to improve the treatment and health outcomes of people with HIV, and understanding the pathophysiology underlying HIV and co-morbid disease disparities with a focus on cardiovascular disease. Her clinical interests and activities include third-wave cognitive behavioral therapies (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), psychosocial adjustment to chronic medical conditions, and health behavior change.

Read a written interview with Dr. Foley to learn more about her background and interests.