Tuesday, December 6

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

Heartbreak, A Personal and Scientific Journey

Florence Williams with Steve Cole, PhD

In her new book, Heartbreak - A Personal and Scientific Journey, renowned journalist and author, Florence Williams, offers a gripping account of grief and healing.  Through a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery, Williams explores the fascinating, cutting-edge science of heartbreak while seeking creative ways to mend her own. With warmth, daring, wit and candor, Williams offers new evidence-based ways to think about loneliness, health and what it means to fall in and out of love. 


When her twenty-five-year marriage suddenly falls apart, Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. But when she starts feeling physically sick, losing weight and sleep, she sets out in pursuit of rational explanation. She travels to the frontiers of the science of “social pain” to learn why heartbreak hurts so much—and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.


Soon Williams finds herself on a surprising path that leads her from neurogenomic research laboratories to trying MDMA in a Portland therapist’s living room, from divorce workshops to the mountains and rivers that restore her. She tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks while looking at pictures of her ex, and discovers that our immune cells listen to loneliness. Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, she seeks out new relationships and ventures into the wilderness in search of an extraordinary antidote: awe. Florence Williams is also the author of Breasts, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Nature Fix. A contributing editor at Outside magazine, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, and many other outlets. She lives in Washington, DC.

Dr. Steven Cole will join Ms. Williams in conversation. Dr. Cole is a Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His research utilizes molecular genetics and computational bioinformatics to analyze the pathways by which social and environmental factors influence the activity of the human genome, as well as viral and cancer genomes. He pioneered the field of human social genomics, and discovered the "Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity" that mediates health disparities via fight-or-flight stress signaling to the immune system. He serves as Director of the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory, and is a member of the the Semel Institute's Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A special 15% discount for the audiobook of Heartbreak is being offered for our Open Mind viewers from 11/29-12/6. Click HERE and enter the code "heartbreakucla"

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email



Tuesday, January 17, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make–and Keep–Friends 

Marisa G. Franco, PhD

What’s the single best action a person can take now to live a longer life? How do you take the edge off of depression? What can single people do to flourish, and married people do to revitalize their marriage? The answer to all of these questions is good friendship.


Yet, despite friendship’s essential benefits, people are experiencing friendship famine. According to a survey of 2000 adults, the average American hasn’t made a new friend in the last five years, and yet, 45% of people would go out of their way to make a new friend if they only knew how. Platonic: How The Science of Attachment Can Help You Make–and Keep–Friends leverages the best of psychological research to provide an easily digestible guide for how to make, maintain, and deepen friendships.


Platonic unearths a jackpot of psychology research that demonstrates how sustaining friendship is a process, not just of behaviors, but of fundamentally reconciling with how we view ourselves. Platonic sets itself apart by not just providing hot tips for friendship but rumbling with how people’s underlying psychological architecture sabotages or harmonizes with their ability to sustain friends. In Platonic, the world of friendship cracks wide-open and the data is used to glue it together again.


An enlightening psychologist, author, and national speaker, Dr. Marisa G Franco is known for digesting and communicating science in ways that resonate deeply enough with people to change their lives. She works as a professor at The University of Maryland and writes about friendship

for Psychology Today. Dr. Franco has also been a featured connection expert for major publications like The New York Times, The Telegraph, and Vice. She

speaks on belonging at corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and universities across the country. On her website,,

 you can find a free quiz to assess your strengths and weaknesses as a friend.  

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email


Grieving Brain.jpg

Thursday, February 9, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

The Grieving Brain

Mary-Frances OConnor, PhD with Dr. Brenda Bursch

Loss of a loved one is something everyone experiences, and for as long as humans have existed, we have struggled when a loved one dies. Poets and playwrights have written about the dark cloak of grief, the deep yearning, and devastating heartache of loss. But until now, we have had little scientific perspective on this universal experience. In THE GRIEVING BRAIN: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss, renowned grief expert, neuroscientist, psychologist, and the first recipient of The Friends of Semel/Drown Foundation Scholar Award in 2006,  Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD, shares groundbreaking discoveries about what happens in our brain when we grieve, providing a new paradigm for understanding love, loss, and learning.


In The Grieving Brain, Dr. O’Connor, who has devoted decades to researching the effects of grief on the brain, reveals a fascinating new window into one of the hallmark experiences of being human. She makes cutting-edge neuroscience accessible and guides us through how we encode love and grief. With love, our neurons help us form attachments to others; but, with loss, our brain must come to terms with where our loved ones went, and how to imagine a future that encompasses their absence. Significantly, O’Connor debunks Kubler-Ross’ enduring idea of the “Five Stages of Grief” and sets a new paradigm for understanding grief on a neurological level.


Based on O’Connor’s own trailblazing neuroimaging work, research in the field, and real-life stories, The Grieving Brain brings together accessible science and practical knowledge that provides a more nuanced understanding of what happens when we grieve and how to navigate loss with more ease and grace.


Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, where she directs the Grief, Loss and Social Stress (GLASS) Lab, which investigates the effects of grief on the brain and the body. O’Connor earned a doctorate from the University of Arizona in 2004 and completed a fellowship at UCLA. Following a faculty appointment at UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, she returned to the University of Arizona in 2012. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, and Psychological Science, and featured in Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Having grown up in Montana, she now lives in Tucson, Arizona. 

Dr. Brenda Bursch will join Dr. O'Connor in discussion.  Dr. Bursch is a medical psychologist and a professor in the UCLA departments of both Psychiatry and Pediatrics. She spent 30 years working with medically ill youth hospitalized in Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. In recent years, she has been working to embed medical psychologists into many of the UCLA subspecialty pediatric medical clinics.  

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

Reg Available Soon_blk.png

For questions email


What It Sounds Like sm.jpg

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

This Is What It Sounds Like - 

What the Music You Love Says About You

Susan Rogers

When you listen to music, do you prefer lyrics or melody? Intricate harmonies or driving rhythm? The “real” sounds of acoustic instruments or those of computerized synthesizers? THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE: What the Music You Love Says About You, by cognitive neuroscientist and legendary record producer Susan Rogers and neuroscientist Ogi Ogas, distills a lifetime of musical and scientific research into a musical journey that reveals why your favorite songs move you.


Drawing from her successful career as one of the most successful female record producers of all time—engineering hits like Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Barenaked Ladies' "One Week"—Susan Rogers (along with neuroscientist Ogi Ogas) leads readers to musical self-awareness. Rogers explains that we each possess a unique “listener profile” based on our brain’s reaction to seven key dimensions of any record: authenticity, realism, novelty, melody, lyrics, rhythm, and timbre. Are you someone who prefers lyrics or melody? Do you like music “above the neck” (intellectually stimulating), or “below the neck” (instinctual and rhythmic)? Whether your taste is esoteric or mainstream, Rogers guides readers to recognize their musical personality, and offers language to describe one's own unique taste. In helping readers to explore this profile, Rogers takes us behind-the-scenes of record-making, using her insider's ear to illuminate the music of Prince, Frank Sinatra, Lana Del Rey, and many others.

This Is What It Sounds Like will deepen your connection to your favorite records, refresh your playlists, and uncover new aspects of your musical personality, and undoubtably change the way you listen to music.


Susan Rogers, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist and a professor at Berklee College of Music, as well as a multiplatinum record producer. She was Prince’s sound engineer during his peak productive era (1983-1987). In 2021, Rogers was the first woman to receive the Music Producer’s Guild Outstanding Contribution to U.K. Music award

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

Reg Available Soon_blk.png

For questions email



Wednesday, March 16, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

The Neuroscience of YOU

Chantel Prat, PhD

The Neuroscience of You - How Every Brain is Different and How to Understand Yours by Chantal Prat, Ph.D., is a rollicking adventure into the human brain that shifts the focus away from the “one size fits all” approach to neuroscience that has dominated the field for over a century. By describing how every brain is different, exactly why our quirks are important, and what it means for each of us, Dr. Prat takes the reader on a tour of brain dissimilarities. Using real-world examples, along with take-them-yourself tests and quizzes, she shows you how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your own brain, while learning what might be going on in the brains of those who are unlike you.


Dr. Prat is a Professor at the University of Washington with appointments in the Departments of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics, and at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. A cognitive neuroscientist by training, her interdisciplinary research investigates individual differences in cognition, with an emphasis on understanding the ways different brains learn and communicate. Her studies have been profiled in media ranging from Scientific American and Psychology Today to Rolling Stone and Popular Mechanics. Her debut book, The Neuroscience of You has been nominated for the Next Big Idea Club and the Washington State Book Awards.

Edythe London, Ph.D. will join Dr. Prat in conversation. Dr. London is a Distinguished Professor-in-Residence and the Pike Chair of Addiction Studies at the Semel Institute and Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. London's work focuses on neurochemical and circuit-level abnormalities to inform evidence-based treatments for addiction. Bridging psychiatry, pharmacology and neuroscience, her work has provided notable firsts: mapping drug-induced euphoria and drug craving in the human brain, visualizing the cerebral distributions of actions of abused drugs, and developing probes for external brain imaging. Focusing on corticostriatal circuitry, dopamine receptor signaling, and executive functioning, her recent work provides potential therapeutic targets for addiction.

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

Reg Available Soon_blk.png

For questions email



Wednesday, April 5, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

Fully Present: The Science. Art, and Practice of Mindfulness

Sue Smalley, PhD with Diana Winston

From Buddhist traditions to daily exercises, enhance your physical and mental health with the ultimate practical guide to mindfulness:  Fully Present: The Science. Art, and Practice of Mindfulness written by Sue Smalley, PhD Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and Diana Winston,  Director of Mindfulness Education at Mindful Awareness Research (MARC) Center at UCLA. 


Mindfulness -- the art of paying attention with an open and curious mind to present-moment experiences--has attracted ever-growing interest and tens of thousands of practitioners, who have come to the discipline from both within and outside the Buddhist tradition. In Fully Present, Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston, two leading mindfulness researchers and educators, provide an all-in-one guide for anyone interested in bringing mindfulness to daily life as a means of enhancing well-being. Fully Present provides both a scientific explanation for how mindfulness positively and powerfully affects the brain and the body as well as practical guidance to develop both a practice and mindfulness in daily living, not only through meditation but also during daily experiences, such as waiting in line at the supermarket, exercising, or facing difficult news.


Originally written in 2011, this second edition to be released in January 2023 will include a 20-page Afterword with an update to the science and a discussion of what has happened in the field in the last decade.


Sue Smalley, PhD, Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychiatry and

Biobehavioral Science at UCLA, is a behavioral geneticist, investor, activist,

and writer. She spent over three decades conducting genetic research on

behavioral disorders, including Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity

Disorder (ADHD) as well as research on mindfulness and wellness. She

published 100+ peer reviewed articles on genetic influences in human

behavior, co-authored Fully Present: the Science, Art and Practice of

Mindfulness, and has written extensively on happiness and wellbeing for

online journals. Post-retiring from UCLA, Dr. Smalley co-founded PTK Capital,

an investment fund focused on early-stage companies that are likely to

benefit the human condition, moving from academics to business. She

recently helped create the Bedari Kindness Institute at UCLA to bring more

kindness into society through the integration of science with social impact

work. She serves as the chair of the executive committee of that Institute

and as an emeritus board member of Equality Now, a global human rights

organization dedicated to women and girls.


Diana Winston is the author of The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness. Called by the Los Angeles Times “one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness,” she has taught mindfulness since 1999 in a variety of settings including hospitals, universities, corporations, nonprofits, and schools in the US and Asia. A sought-after speaker, she developed the evidence-based Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPS) curriculum, and the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation which trains mindfulness teachers worldwide. She is a founding board member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. 

A special 15% discount for the audiobook of Heartbreak is being offered for our Open Mind viewers from 11/29-12/6. Click HERE  and enter the code "heartbreakucla".

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

Reg Available Soon_blk.png

For questions email

Thank you to our generous #WOW2021 Sponsors:


Jon, Justine, Levi, & Aerin Glaser

Jenna and Jason Grosfeld


Mary Blodgett and Carlton Calvin 

Laurie and Steven Gordon

Christine & Jordan Kaplan

Latham & Watkins, LLP

Judy and Rick Richman

Andrea and Peter Roth


Margot and Joseph Calabrese

Wendy & Victor Coleman

Robert DeBitetto

Friars Charitable Foundation

Cece and Bill Feiler

Alex Gansa

Andrea and Donald Goodman

The Goodman Family

Julia Gouw

Ambassador Jeffrey Ross Gunter & family

Terry Hyman Hamermesh

Laurie Harbert

Martha and Bruce Karsh

Stephanie and Brian Lushing

Gail Kamer Lieberfarb

Nicole Mutchnik

Bruce and Nancy Newberg

Lea and Barry Porter

Resnick Family Foundation, Inc.

The Resnick Hospital Board of Advisors

The Semel Institute

Shelley and Ronald Singer

Sheeri and Michael Steinberg

Warner Bros. Television

Stasia Washington

Kristin and Jeffrey Worthe

UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

May and Richard Ziman