Dr. Sara W. Lazar

Meditation and Neuroplasticity

Our lab uses MRI to study the neural underpinnings of mindfulness and meditation. We will present data from two projects that were designed to identify how practice of mindfulness meditation affects neural function and structure, and how such changes lead to long-term changes in physical and psychological health and well-being.


The first study compares experienced mindfulness meditation practitioners and matched controls. The second study investigates the impact of MBSR on healthy but stressed individuals. The neurological findings from both studies will be discussed in relation to behavioral measures, and the implications for the use of meditation as a “mind-body” intervention will also be discussed.

Dr. Sara W. Lazar

Sara W. Lazar, PhD is a neuroscientist in the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. The focus of her research is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying meditation, both in clinical settings and to promote and preserve health and well-being in healthy individuals. 


One main focus of her work is determining how yoga and meditation influence brain structure, and how these changes influence behaviour. She has been practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation since 1994, and is a Board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy.