Soul & Brain 1 was a success!!!

Slides from the Soul & Brain 1  event held at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School may be accessed here. Event photos may be viewed on our Facebook Page.

We are working to create a digitally-searchable transcript of proceedings from Soul & Brain 1If you would like to contribute to this effort, we are accepting donations for this project.

Stay tuned to Soul & Brain developments by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter @soulandbrain.

Peace and light are calling, so let’s illuminate our worlds!


Summary of Soul & Brain 1 (convened August 2019):

A one-of-its-kind event at The Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School uses today’s cutting-edge neuroscience to ask the question, “What if the ancient philosophers are right?”

In this full-day live experience, a team of experts from the fields of neuroscience, medicine, philosophy, and art will guide you to an integrated realization of multiple ways in which ancient theories of the human soul map onto our current understanding of the human brain. It will leave you asking, “What else does ancient wisdom get right?”

Multimedia science and philosophy presentations by world experts are interlaced with individual and group art sessions, 3D virtual reality demonstrations, music composition and recording, with well-catered offerings for lunch and refreshers throughout the day. Our goal is that you gain a new understanding of and connection to the profound meaning, wonder, and possibilities of our shared human nature.

Topics & offerings:

•Why soul?
•Anatomy of human souls
•The metaphysics of a soul
•Memory & imagination
•Intuitive watercolor
•Immersive virtual reality neuroscience experiences
•Depression, psychedelics, & neuroplastogenesis
•Catered lunch, coffee, tea, & snacks
•Biology of appetite & attachment
•Intelligence & intellect
•Desire & The Good in Aristotle
•Glimpsing at a cosmic soul: Nous Poietikos
•Panel discussion with world experts across academic fields

For questions or requests for group ticket pricing, please contact us here. Let’s illuminate our worlds!

Meet the event team:

Dr. Michael Ferguson, PhD, is a Harvard and Cornell-trained neuroscientist whose work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NeuroImage, and Social Neuroscience. He is a former course instructor at Cornell University and is a passionate and charismatic teacher. Dr. Ferguson’s TEDx Talk, This Is Your Brain On God, has been viewed over 70,000 times. He is a sought-after public speaker on topics of philosophy, neuroscience, and religious studies.


Dr. Sarah Merrill, PhD, completed her doctoral degree in psychology at Cornell University, where she specialized in the neuroscience and psychology of attachment, bonding, and love. Dr. Merrill’s research spans behavioral, physiological, and molecular biological analyses. While at Cornell, she designed and implemented an undergraduate course on Human Sexual Development. Dr. Merrill is currently a research fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she is studying epigenetic effects on bonding and attachment.


Dr. Jaya Padmanabhan, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist with extensive research and clinical experience. Her research interests span a range of neuropsychiatric disorders using modalities of imaging, genetics, and neuromodulation. Dr. Padmanabhan worked on faculty at Harvard Medical School as an Instructor of Psychiatry before joining industry to pursue cutting-edge pharmaceutical solutions for psychiatric disease. In her free time, Dr. Padmanabhan enjoys classical music and reading.


Faith Johnson, MFA, is a contemplative community artist for her business Full Circle Arts, an educator, and organizer with over 20 years of experience creating art and facilitating creativity. Faith received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts through Tufts University, where she was awarded the Rose Hill Performance Award and a Teaching Fellowship in performance art. Her work has shown in galleries and festivals throughout the United States and abroad, including the Open Festival in China, Navinki Festival in Belarus, and the Tactile Bosch Gallery in Wales, England. She is currently enrolled in an intensive program studying herbalism and plant medicine.


Dr. Jim Madden, PhD, is a professor of philosophy at Benedictine College, where he teaches courses in philosophical psychology, ethics, and metaphysics. His primary interests are the interface between classical Greek and Western Medieval understandings of human nature with contemporary philosophy and science. He is the author of Mind, Matter, and Nature: A Thomistic Proposal for the Philosophy of Mind, and numerous articles on the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of religion, Aristotle, and Aquinas.


Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, MDiv, is executive director of Parity, a national non-profit based that works at the intersection of faith and LGBTQ.  Marian attended Western Theological Seminary and Eden Theological Seminary, and has served in many pastoral capacities, including church planting, parish ministry, chaplaincy and hospice ministry. She is currently a doctoral student Eden Theological Seminary, focusing on bridging divides between LGBTQ identities and traditionally rejecting religions.