Judson Alyn Brewer MD/PhD

Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Psychiatry

Biographical Info

I received by BA in chemistry from Princeton University and my MD/PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, where my thesis work focused on molecular mechanisms of stress hormone regulation of the immune system using conditional knockout mouse models. After training in mindfulness meditation during medical and graduate school, I shifted my focus from animal models of stress, to the elucidation of neurobiological mechanisms underlying the interface between stress, mindfulness and the addictive process, and in developing effective means for the modulation of these processes to better treat substance use disorders and deliver mindfulness training.

My laboratory has developed and tested treatments that help individuals with substance use disorders (e.g. smoking) using mindfulness training. For example, we have found that mindfulness is twice as effective as leading treatments for smoking cessation, and that it moderates the decoupling of craving and smoking. We have gone on to develop web/app-based approaches as scalable solutions for smoking cessation, and are now testing their efficacy.

Additionally, my laboratory has studied the neurobiological mechanisms of meditation, finding that areas of the default-mode network (e.g. the posterior cingulate cortex) are specifically deactivated during different types of meditation. We are now using real-time fMRI neurofeedback to link subjective experience with brain activity, and are beginning to test EEG methods for these purposes.

Education & Training

Washington University School of Medicine (2004)
Washington University School of Medicine (2004)
Princeton University (5/1996)
Yale University School of Medicine, Psychiatry

Honors & Recognition

  • Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Fellow for excellence in research
    Washington University School of Medicine (2002)
  • College on Problems of Drug Dependence Early Career Investigator Award
    College on Problems of Drug Dependence (2008)
  • Seymour L. Lustman Research Award for distinction in research during residency
    Yale University School of Medicine (2008)

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