MEET THE KRI Research Advisory Board

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa is the Director of Research for KRI. His role with KRI is to coordinate scientific research in Kundalini Yoga and to serve as a resource for Kundalini Yoga researchers and instructors. He is currently an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Research Director for the Yoga Alliance, editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, chair of the program committee for the annual Symposium on Yoga Research sponsored by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and chief editor of the textbook The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care. He has been conducting biomedical research on yoga since 2001.

Gurucharan Singh Khalsa

I became in involved with KRI in 1973 when I moved to Pomona from the New Orleans Ashram. I worked with KRI for the 5 years I lived in Pomona, before becoming head of the Long Beach Ashram. I have heart for KRI; I have since that time. I believe in KRI’s mission and pray for it’s continued success.

In the 1990’s, the Siri Singh Sahib told me to try to work with KRI. He told be that it would not be easy to begin that work, but encouraged me to attempt to get involved. His direction, continues to motivate me.

Today, I have been working in executive management with non-profits for 10 or so years. My file has been primarily program development and implementation. A part of that process is program evaluation. The later is an area I have energy for as related to KRI. I believe that relatively simple research projects can be designed that will demonstrate the benefits of Kundalini Yoga and KRI programs; identifying what they do well and opportunities for improving those programs. There is such a large teacher base, with so many classes being taught,I believe there is a rich opportunity here. In addition, I believe that over time, KRI can become a resource for other non-profits who want to conduct research and program evaluation.

Julie Staples, Ph.D.

Julie K. Staples, Ph.D. (Guru Parkash Kaur) is the Research Director at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher. She has conducted research in mind-body medicine for traumatized populations worldwide for over 20 years. She is a faculty member of the International Kundalini Yoga Therapy Professional Training program. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University and the author of the yoga chapter in the medical school textbook Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Her self-help book Reclaiming Life after Trauma teaches Kundalini yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy tools to heal trauma symptoms. She currently runs Integrative Trauma Recovery Program intensive retreats and teaches online courses for yoga teachers, yoga therapists, and health professionals on the science of yoga.

Helen Lavretsky

Dr. Helen Lavretsky is a Professor In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, a Semel Scholar in Integrative Mental Health, and a geriatric integrative psychiatrist with federally funded research program in geriatric depression and cognitive decline, and integrative mental health using mind-body interventions (yoga, Tai Chi, meditation). She is a recipient of the Career Development award from the NAtional Institute of Mental Health and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include investigations of yoga and Tai Chi for treatment and prevention of late-life mood and cognitive disorders. She is the Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Investigator awards for research in geriatric psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. She is the Director of the Late-life mood, stress and wellness program and the Integrative Psychiatry clinic. She is the Leader of the Research Pillar of the UCLA Integrative Medicine Collaborative. She is also a long-time practitioner and teacher of Kundalini yoga.

Karen Innes

Dr. Innes is a Professor in the West Virginia University Department of Epidemiology. She is an epidemiologist and clinical research scientist with a particular interest in yoga and related mind-body therapies for the prevention and management of cognitive impairment, restless legs syndrome (RLS), arthritis, diabetes, and other burdensome chronic disorders related to stress, sympathetic activation, and metabolic dysregulation. Funded by grants from the NIH National Center Complementary and Integrative Health, the Office of Women’s Health, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, and other organizations, Dr. Innes’ current research includes clinical trials to assess the effects of yogic practices on: cognition, neuropsychiatric impairment, sleep, quality of life, and indices of cellular aging, inflammation and epigenetic profiles in older adults with preclinical memory loss; RLS symptoms, sleep, mood, and related outcomes in adults with RLS; and pain, sleep, mood and related outcomes in older adults with osteoarthritis. Her previous trials have included studies regarding the potential benefits of yoga and meditation for sedentary, post-menopausal women at risk for cardiovascular disease; older adults with type 2 diabetes; healthy elders and adults with Parkinson’s Disease; older adults with osteoarthritis; and individuals with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. Additional research projects include large epidemiologic investigations of memory loss and dementia, sleep disorders, arthritis, colorectal cancer, and other chronic conditions in Appalachian and other U.S. populations. She is frequently invited to speak both nationally and internationally on these topics, and often serves on national and international expert panels. Dr. Innes has authored numerous scientific articles regarding clinical trials in mind-body medicine, as well as chronic disease epidemiology and sleep medicine; these include publications in the J Alzheimer’s Disease, JAMA, AJE, PLosOne, Psychoneuroimmunology, Epidemiology, Menopause, J Clin Sleep Medicine, J Diabetes Complications, J Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Pain Med, Sleep Medicine Review, J American Geriatric Society, and other high profile journals. Her work has been featured in the Yoga Journal, Yoga Therapy Today, Prevention Magazine, Vim and Vigor, Women’s Health Magazine, Weill-Cornell Women’s Health Advisor, Reuters Press, Prada, Neurology News, Medscape, Medical News Today, Science Daily, UK National News, Alzheimer’s News Today, Eurasia Review, and many other national and international venues.

Michele Berger

Michele Tracy Berger is Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of City and Regional Planning. She was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies in 1995 and her PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 1998.

Her books include Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS (Princeton University Press, 2004) and the co-edited collections Gaining Access: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (Altamira Press, 2003) and The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class and Gender (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Workable Sisterhood won a ‘Best Book’ Award from the American Political Science Association and was nominated for a ‘Distinguished Book’ Award from the American Sociological Association. In 2006, she received an American Association of University Women (AAUW) ‘American Fellow’ award for her new work on African American mother and daughter communication on health and sexuality.

Her latest book Transforming Scholarship: Why Women’s and Gender Studies Students Are Changing Themselves and the World (Routledge 2011) definitively answers the question, ‘What can you do with an interest in women’s and gender studies?’ The book argues that not only are women’s and gender studies graduates able to find fulfilling employment, they also comprise an emerging vanguard of knowledge producers in the U.S. and globally, and maintain a strong commitment to gender equality and social justice after graduation.

Dr. Berger and her collaborator Dr. Cheryl Radeloff surveyed over 900 women’s and gender studies graduates (1995-2010) from around the globe about their career paths. This is currently the largest global data set about contemporary women’s and gender studies graduates.

Her teaching and research interests include multiracial feminisms, qualitative methods, and HIV/AIDS activism.

She served as Vice-President of the National Women’s Studies Association from 2010-2014.

Marieke van Puymbroeck

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D., CTRS, FDRT is a yoga researcher, recreational therapist, and rehabilitation scientist. She works at Clemson University as a Professor, and her research focuses on the therapeutic application of yoga for people with a variety of health conditions. Marieke completed her Level One Kundalini Teacher Training  in Asheville, NC.

Gurucharan Singh Khalsa Ph.D., M.Ed., C-IAYT

Dr. Gurucharan Singh Khalsa is a premier trainer for kundalini meditation and yoga teachers since 1969 and director of training for 35 years. Now emeritus.  He developed several global training programs. Gurucharan is an accomplished author and affiliated scholar at Chapman University in Orange, California. There he collaborates with their Institute for Quantum Studies on projects for leading edge applications of quantum foundations to the nature of consciousness, our capacity as human beings and a re-imagining of meditation in the Becoming world view. He has worked with Chapman’s Fish Interfaith Center since 2013, and I spart of the center for contemplative practices. He recently designed and completed a study with Columbia University on chronic Lyme disease. It is now going onto a larger online study. The continues work he did on pain relief for fibromyalgia with University of Utah pain center. He collaborated with the first brain imaging study using mantra. He contributed to the first study on HRV and comparative meditation. He also collaborated with University of Guadalajara Medical School on studies on diabetes using breathwork, and on relief from Hep C and on weight. His current interest is to help shape the targets and design of meditation with breathwork, assisting targeted programs such as the Lyme studies and continued breakthroughs in foundations.

[email protected]

Gabrielle Lewis

Gabrielle started her journey into the world of mental health at the University of Durham, an Ivy league school in England, graduating with a first class honors degree in Applied Psychology. Since then her love for understanding the science of how the mind and body connect has led her to study Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. Gabrielle’s passion for Psychology, Kundalini Yoga and Meditation has fused all of these elements together. Today she finds herself teaching in many different environments from the corporate world, mental health facilitates, universities and nationwide assisted living homes to name a few. Gabrielle also has a passion for yoga research, and is involved in a number of research projects, and currently serves on the Kundalini Research Institute Advisory Board.

Marisa Perdomo

Marisa Perdomo, PT, DPT, Board Certified Oncology Physical Therapy Specialist is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. She has over 35 years of clinical practice focusing on orthopedic, oncologic, lymphatic dysfunctions and integrated health. She received her Master’s and Clinical Doctorate degrees at the University of Southern California where she developed a physical therapy practice for cancer survivors at the USC Faculty Practice. She received her lymphedema training and certification from the Foldi Clinic in Hinterzarten Germany in 1997. Other specialized certifications include a certified cancer exercise specialist in 2003 and a certified kundalini yoga instructor in 2013. She became a Board Certified Oncology Specialist in 2018. Dr. Perdomo also has extensive training in all areas of orthopedic manual therapy via the North American Institute of Manual Therapy. Dr. Perdomo integrates manual lymphatic mobilization techniques with her orthopedic manual therapy background and provides a unique intervention protocol for individuals diagnosed with cancer.

At USC Dr. Perdomo developed the curricular content regarding the management of oncological related impairments that includes evaluation, examination and treatment of peripheral edema. Additional teaching responsibilities include Differential Diagnosis, Cardiopulmonary and Medical Conditions, and Pharmacology. She also serves on the steering committee for the USC Institute of Integrated Health and has developed yoga based physical therapy interventions for individuals recovering from cancer. Her scholarly interests include oncology rehabilitation, and management of peripheral edema.  She is an active member of the Oncology section of the American Physical Therapy Association and has developed the first APTA sponsored Certification of Peripheral Edema course. She teaches national seminars regarding recovery from cancer related physical impairments and peripheral edema. She has developed community based group exercise programs for underserved communities to facilitate recovery for individuals diagnosed with cancer.

Dr. Perdomo is also a strong advocate for integrative health and wellness. She combines kundalini yoga, various meditation practices and guided imagery techniques with physical therapy rehabilitation interventions to provide survivors of cancer a comprehensive program for healing the mind, body and spirit.

Sharon Wampler


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