Faculty and Staff

Mike Irwin

Michael Irwin, M.D., Director, MARC
Professor, UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Director, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, UCLA Semel Institute Neuroscience and Human Behavior
President-Elect, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research
Associate Editor, Brain, Behavior and Immunity, Journal of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society
E-mail: [email protected] 
Website: www.semel.ucla.edu/cousins

Dr. Irwin holds the Norman Cousins Distinguished Professorship in Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine for his lifetime contributions to understanding the reciprocal interactions between the central nervous system, the immune system and health, with a recent focus on how depression and insomnia induce adverse trajectories diseases risk, activate inflammatory biology, and accelerate aging.  In addition, he has pioneered innovative community based treatments including mind-body approaches such as mindfulness meditation and tai chi to reverse the course of biological mechanisms of disease risk, improve insomnia, and prevent depression in cancer survivors, older adults, and adults.  Over the 30 years of his career, he has been continuously funded, and led over 30 R01 type award from the National Institute of Health, which have resulted in over 450 scientific research articles.  His scientific accomplishments, highly cited by the research community and international media outlets, have been recognized by awards from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society and election to President of the Academy Behavioral Medicine Research, as well as the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society and the American Psychosomatic Society. He currently serves as Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, Director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the UCLA Semel Institute, and Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the UCLA Semel Institute.

diana winston

Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education
Email: [email protected]

Diana Winston is the Director of Mindfulness Education at MARC, the author of The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering your Natural Awareness, and the co-author, with Susan Smalley PhD, of Fully Present, the Science, Art and Practice of MindfulnessShe has taught mindfulness for health and well-being since 1993 in a variety of settings including the medical and mental health field, and in universities, businesses, non-profits, and schools. At UCLA she has developed the evidence-based Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) curriculum and the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation (TMF), which trains mindfulness teachers worldwide. She is also a founder of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Her work has been mentioned in the New York TimesO Magazine, Newsweek, the Los Angeles TimesAllure, Women’s Health, and in a variety of magazines, books, and journals. The LA Times calls her “one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness.” Diana has been practicing mindfulness since 1989, including a year a Buddhist nun in Burma (Myanmar) and is the mom of a teenager.

susan smalley

Susan L. Smalley, Ph.D., Founder & Founding Director, MARC
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA Semel Institute
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Smalley's scientific career as a behavior geneticist included seminal studies on the genetics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the cognitive and emotional impact of mindfulness meditation on health and wellbeing. She authored over 100 scientific publications and lectured globally on the genetics of human behavior and the science of mindfulness. In 2004, she founded MARC at UCLA to investigate and spread self-awareness practices, like mindfulness meditation, to the general public through education and research. She shares her commitment to equality of all human beings through global work for women and girls in education, advocacy, and the law. She serves on the board of Equality Now, an international human rights organization focused on women and girls, and Gordon and Sarah Brown's High Level Panel on Education. In 2010 she co-founded an organization to bring basic literacy to adults in underserved populations using mobile phones. She writes for online communities at the Huffingtonpost and Psychologytoday on a range of topics including gender equality, mindfulness, kindness, and well-being. She and co-author, Diana Winston, published Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness (2009) to elucidate both the scientific support for mindfulness and how to practice its cultivation.

daniel siegal

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Founding Co-Director, MARC
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, Norton Professional Series in Interpersonal Neurobiology
Co-Investigator, UCLA Center for Culture, Brain & Development
Email: [email protected]

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. is an internationally acclaimed author, award winning educator, and renowned child psychiatrist. He is the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational center devoted to promoting insight, compassion, and empathy in individuals, families, institutions, and communities. Dr. Siegel's books include Mindsight, Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology, The Developing Mind, Second Edition, The Mindful Therapist, The Whole-Brain Child and his latest book, Brainstorm.

Gael Belden

Gael Belden, MA, Director of Intensive Practice Program

Email: [email protected] 

Gael has been practicing and teaching meditation and mindfulness for over 40 years— in both Buddhist (she was lay-ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh 30 years ago) and secular contexts. She has an MA in Mythology and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and once worked with wild and exotic animals in education and conservation (wolves, elephants, and lions!). Gael has worked with the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute of Behavioral Neuroscience at UCLA, where she directs MARC’s online Intensive Practice Program for last 9 years. She completed the first teacher training in Mindful Self-Compassion with Kristen Neff, and weaves mythopoetics and social engagement (with an emphasis on the earth) into her mindfulness and compassion teachings. Gael is also  trained in Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

marvin belzer

Marvin G. Belzer, Ph.D, Adjunct Associate Professor
Email: [email protected]

Marvin G. Belzer, PhD, has taught mindfulness meditation for twenty years. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. For many years he taught a semester-long meditation course in the Department of Philosophy at Bowling Green St. University, where he was an Associate Professor of Philosophy. He teaches an undergraduate course at UCLA (Psychiatry 175: Mindfulness Practice and Theory) and teaches mindfulness in many different venues.

Rani Breslow

Rani Breslow, Finance & Program Manager
Email: [email protected] 

Rani has spent most of her professional career in the creative arts. She is an experienced yoga and meditation practitioner and hopes her enthusiasm for MARC's vision will help to expand its community outreach and education programs.




serena cox

Serena Hoenig, Program Coordinator & Technical Support
Email: [email protected]

Serena, with nearly a decade of health and wellness expertise, has passion for leading and facilitating healthy lifestyles. She has her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and has been a leader in the community for the past five years growing youth and womxn's rugby. Serena plans to continue her LGBTQ+ and rugby community involvement with mindfulness facilitation.



Gloria Kamler, MA, Instructor

Email: [email protected]  
Gloria Kamler, MA, is a holistic educator and stress relief expert, who has taught mindfulness meditation for the past 20 years. She facilitates all levels of the Mindful Awareness Practices or MAP classes at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). In addition to teaching at UCLA, Gloria leads mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) classes and retreats in Los Angeles as well as other U.S. cities and internationally. Over the course of her career, Gloria has trained with mindfulness leaders such as Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, founder of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program (MBSR), teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center as well as Shinzen Young, PhD., founder of  Vipassana Support International. Gloria earned her B.S. in education from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in guidance and counseling from Eastern Michigan University.  She has maintained a personal meditation practice for more than three decades and her dedication to living mindfully is an integral part of her life.