Sean Dae Houlihan

PhD StudentSean Dae Houlihan


PhD Student,  Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Program in Neuroscience — University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Visiting Scholar,  California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Bridges Fellowship — University of California, Berkley (2013).

BA,  Biochemistry;  BA,  Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology — Unversity of Colorado, Boulder (2008).


Focus & Interests

  • Translational neurofeedback therapies
  • Mechanisms of cognitive control in attentional and emotional regulation


I am a PhD student with Dr. Judson Brewer at UMass Medical School investigating the neuroscience of meditation, peak performance, and cognitive control. My work includes building fMRI and EEG brain–computer interfaces to facilitate the training of cognitive faculties associated with meditation, including attentional and emotional regulation. We are currently exploring if these types of neurofeedback can help expert practitioners hone meditation states, novice meditators improve the quality of their practices, and make the benefits of contemplative practice accessible to those struggling with cognitive maladies such as addiction. I study Mahamudra, Dzogchen and Bön with Dr. Daniel P. Brown (Harvard) in the Pointing Out Style of Indo-Tibetan meditation.

Before joining Dr. Brewer at the Center for Mindfulness, I researched the neural networks effecting empathic response with Dr. Daniela Kaufer at UC Berkeley, lead wilderness expeditions with NOLS, swam with large animals, climbed tall things, filmed avalanches from helicopters, and generally made very sure that there is nothing in the world I would rather be doing than this work.