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Empathy & Compassion Research Day

Thank you for attending Empathy & Compassion Research Day! 

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The Sanford Institute is home to the brightest minds in empathy and compassion research. On January 24, 2024, we are proud to showcase the diverse talent of our funded researchers at the inaugural Empathy & Compassion Research Day at the UC San Diego Faculty Club.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2024
  • Time: 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time)
  • Location: UC San Diego Faculty Club - Atkinson Pavilion & Patio (9500 Gilman Drive MC 0121, La Jolla, CA 92093)

This free event is open to all UC San Diego faculty and staff, as well as external, San Diego-based medical educators and healthcare providers. Registration required, space is limited. Hosted lunch and reception included. 

What to Expect at Research Day

Live Presentations

Enjoy lightning talks, keynote presentations, research posters and panel discussions from empathy and compassion experts from UC San Diego.

Build Connections

Gather with researchers interested in enhancing empathy and compassion in medical education and healthcare, and collaborate on new projects.

Funding Opportunities

Be the first to hear about the Sanford Institute's upcoming funding opportunities in basic and applied empathy and compassion research.

Empathy & Compassion Research Day Schedule

8 a.m. Registration Check-in & Breakfast
9 a.m. Welcome & Opening Remarks by William Mobley, MD, PhD, and Doug Nitz, PhD
9:15 a.m.

Lightning Talks:

  • "The Neural Basis of Socially Driven Feeding in Rodents" by Zhu Zhenggang, PhD
  • "Neural responses to others' distress in human infants and links to early helping behavior" by Lindsey Powell, PhD
  • "Positive Empathy in Social Interactions: Parasympathetic Linkage Enables Greater Empathy" by Olivia Jurkiewicz
  • "MDMA enhancement of social transfer of pain and analgesia" by Monique Smith, PhD
11:15 a.m. Panel Discussion: "Researching Empathy and Compassion in Animals and Humans," moderated by Fadel Zeidan, PhD
12 p.m.  Lunch
1 p.m.

Lightning Talks:

  • "Testing Algorithms and Clinician Knowledge and Self-Compassion Training to Improve Care for Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment/Dementia" by Gene Kallenberg, MD
  • "Mental wellbeing in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic by Federica Klaus, MD, PhD
  • "Research as a Catalyst for Change: The Impact of EHC InBasket Spring Cleaning and Compassion Team Practice on Reducing Clinician Burnout" by Ming Tai-Seale, PhD
  • "Qualitative Assessment: Compassion Cultivation Training with Healthcare Professionals & Trainees" by Melissa Karnaze, PhD
2:30 p.m. 


2:45 p.m.

Lightning Talks:

  • "Brain Mechanisms Supporting Empathy Cultivation and Phantom-limb Based Analgesia by Psilocybin Therapy" by Jon Dean, PhD
  • "Empathy, too much of a good thing? Distress as a negative indicator of helping behavior in rodents" by Andrea Chiba, PhD
  • "Digital Mindfulness and Compassion Training - Measuring Behavior and Neuro-Cognitive Outcomes Across Age" by Satish Jaiswal, PhD
  • "Rehumanizing the dehumanized: Dimension-based neural responses for the unhoused" by Akila Kadambi, PhD
4 p.m. Panel Discussion: "Physician Burnout: Origins and Interventions," moderated by Lisa Eyler, PhD
4:30 p.m. Keynote Presentation: "The psychological and neural mechanisms supporting empathy," by Fadel Zeidan, PhD
5 p.m. Recognition and Closing Remarks by William Mobley, MD, PhD
5:30 p.m. Reception