Open Learning Talks | Mindfulness, Mental Wellness, and Learning

Image of a neuron with the MITili, MIT, and Open Learning Talks logos overlaid
January 25, 2021 4:00pm
Open Learning Talks

John Gabrieli, Pattie Maes, and Pawan Sinha in conversation with Sanjay Sarma

Time: 4pm ET

Twitter: #OLTalks


The MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili)’s Mental Wellness Initiative (MWI) is focused on exploring a series of questions around identifying, detecting, and acting on the cognitive and neural correlates of autism, anxiety and depression, and Alzheimer’s as they impact learning. The objective of MWI is to expand the scope of and collaborate across MIT research projects that focus on debilitating mental health conditions that impact and are impacted by learning.

MIT faculty members Pawan Sinha (autism), John Gabrieli (anxiety/depression), Pattie Maes (human-computer interaction) and Sanjay Sarma (Alzheimer’s) are applying MIT-style science and engineering to advance our understanding of conditions and make progress towards developing more targeted diagnostic assessments and interventions across diverse populations. In this talk, Professors Gabrieli, Maes, and Sinha will discuss the urgent need for research to find ways to keep learners well. Professor Sarma, MIT’s Vice President for Open Learning, will moderate the discussion and the audience Q&A.

This online talk is free and open to the public!

Open Learning Talks bring together leaders to discuss new research-based ideas, technologies, and efforts in education, at MIT and around the world. Watch previous talks in this series.


John Gabrieli is the director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. He is an Investigator at the Institute, leading the Gabrieli Laboratory, with faculty appointments in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where he holds the Grover Hermann Professorship. He is also the Director of MIT’s Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili).

Pattie Maes is a professor in MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences. She runs the Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces research group, which aims to radically reinvent the human-machine experience. Coming from a background in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction, she is particularly interested in the topic of cognitive enhancement, or how immersive and wearable systems can actively assist people with memory, attention, learning, decision-making, communication, and wellbeing.

Sanjay Sarma has authored more than 200 academic papers in computational geometry, sensing, RFID, automation, CAD, learning engineering, the science of learning and education reform. Sarma’s latest book, Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn, is a groundbreaking look at the science of learning: how it works both in the mind and in the classroom, which teaching techniques are most effective, and how schools should (and absolutely should not) use instructional technology.

Pawan Sinha is a professor of vision and computational neuroscience in MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences department. Using a combination of experimental and computational modeling techniques, research in Pawan’s laboratory focuses on understanding how the human brain learns to recognize objects through visual experience and how objects are encoded in memory. The lab’s experimental work on these issues involves studying healthy individuals and also those with neurological disorders such as autism.