Our Team




Fadel Zeidan, PhD

Fadel is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at UCSD. His research is focused on determining the neural mechanisms that mediate the relationship between self-regulatory practices and health. He is especially interested in determining the neural mechanisms supporting mindfulness meditation-based pain relief.    

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Jennifer N. Baumgartner, PhD

Jenny hails from the beautiful city of Chicago, where she received her B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her M.S. and PhD in Human Factors Psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Jenny is driven by understanding the psychosocial, psychophysiological, and neural mechanisms supporting the modulation of stress and pain by mindfulness meditation. In her free time she likes to play video games, listen to loud music, and immerse herself in nature with her pup, Galileo.

Research Assistants


Julia Birenbaum

Julia is a native of San Francisco, CA , where she graduated from the Oberlin College in 2017 with a major in Psychology and concentrations in Cognitive Science and Neuroscience. Julia combines her interests in psychology with her passion for providing better access to mental healthcare services for women of color. She aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology to achieve this goal. Her favorite non-work activity is baking and loves sharing what she makes!


Maryam Gholami

Maryam is a Postdoc employee in the Psychiatry Department at UCSD. She earned her BA and MA in Clinical Psychology and her PhD in Health Psychology. Her research activities include designing behavioral interventions and lifestyle medicine, addressing tobacco through organizational change, open dialogue, and mindfulness. Maryam main foci include: improving quality of life for patients with chronic conditions by changing their lifestyle into a healthier one, self-compassion and mindfulness, and how to improve awareness on the importance of prioritizing and managing one’s health and wellbeing.

Nailea gonzalez.JPG

Nailea Gonzalez

Nailea received her B.S. in Human Biology at UCSD. In the department of Biology, she assisted in research focused on elucidating the role of the medial entorhinal cortex in spatial memory. Currently, she is looking to expand her knowledge in the neural, physiological, and behavioral correlates of pain relief by mindfulness meditation. What keeps her sane is her yoga practice, and her life goal is to continue traveling the world. 

Favorite quote:

"A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions." -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr


Gabriel Riegner

Gabriel is a graduate with a B.A. in neuroscience and cognitive science from the University of Southern California. A background in music and composition led him to USC's Brain and Music project, where he was a research assistant for for three years. There he worked on projects related to how music might influence the developing brain as well as his own project on memory for musical melodies. With graduate school on the horizon, he hopes to explore more deeply the field of cognitive neuroscience. Through that same lens he's excited to investigate mindfulness and pain and how an understanding of brain mechanism could have clinical significance. Gabriel is happiest when hiking around his hometown in Arizona or surfing along the Baja coastline.