About the Team
Peter Wayne, Principal Investigator
Daniel Litrownik, Project Manager and Lab Coordinator, received his B.A. in Psychology from Emory University. He brings 10+ years’ experience in coordinating clinical trials of mind-body interventions with different patient populations. He is most interested in the development and refinement of mind-body interventions for specific patient populations, and the optimization of recruitment and retention strategies for pilot feasibility studies and larger efficacy trials. He is a long-term practitioner of meditation and Tai Chi and finds meaning in bridging his personal and professional interests.
EunMee (Amy) Yang, T-32 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, is a licensed acupuncturist and diplomate of Oriental Medicine. Her research interests are primarily focused on evaluating the effectiveness of acupuncture for improving cancer-related symptoms and exploring the biological basis and biophysical properties of acupuncture points.
Esme Goldfinger, Research Assistant, received a B.A. in psychology and dance from Bates College. She is interested in how integrative medicine can be used to treat mental illness and how somatic practices and movement may be used to overcome trauma.
Dennis Muñoz Vergara, a T-32 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and an animal pathologist and a certified Hatha yoga instructor. He is interested in translational research using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo animal and human models to understand the basic biological mechanism of stretching and its effects on inflammation. His current human research study attempts to isolate the stretching component of yoga and apply an acute intervention (one hour of stretching) to explore changes in systemic inflammatory markers and lipid mediators.
Yan Ma, T-32 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, received her MD in integrative medicine, and specialized in sleep medicine and clinical psychology. She is interested in mind-body interventions and techniques which are capable of capturing system-level complex physiological dynamics.
Weronika Grabowska, Research Assistant graduated with a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and received her MPH with focus on Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Boston University School of Public Health in 2019. She has a background in genetic research on neuroinflammation and its impact in Alzheimer’s Disease development. Since joining the Osher Center in 2019, Weronika has been working on various projects pertaining to chronic pain, gait measures, inflammation, as well as utilization of chiropractic care as a fall prevention strategy. She has also provided support in administration, recruitment, and analysis of other ongoing research projects.
Julie Connor, Research Assistant, received a B.S. in neuroscience from the University of Vermont. She is interested in the role of exercise, mindfulness and integrative medicine in treating pain, stress and anxiety.
Brian Gow, Senior Research Assistant, received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is interested in modalities which improve and biomarkers which capture holistic health.
The Mind-Body-Movement (MBM) laboratory explores the interdependence of movement, posture, cognition and emotion in health, aging and rehabilitation. Our research begins with the assumption that health relies on the complex integration of these and other physiological systems, enabling us to function and adapt to the demands of everyday life. Conversely, age-related decline and disease is thought to result from progressive multi-system impairment, leading to decreased physical and cognitive function and reduced resilience to stress.
Taking advantage of a rich collaborative network of laboratories across the Harvard Medical School, and drawing on conceptual models, quantitative methods, and experimental designs grounded in systems biology, our research has focused on evaluating the clinical impact and physiological basis of multiple integrative medicine (IM) therapies.
Current work centers around the study of Tai Chi and related mind-body exercises, manual therapies, and acupuncture for the prevention, rehabilitation, and symptom management of a broad range of chronic health conditions including age- and Parkinson’s disease-related balance impairments, cognitive decline, chronic back and neck pain, cardiovascular diseases, migraine headaches, and cancer.
Research on these, ongoing research studies, and related topics are summarized below.