The Catherine Kerr Vital Energy in Health and Healing Lecture and Workshop Series

          The Catherine Kerr Vital Energy in Health and Healing Series Mission

This speaker series was originally conceptualized by the late Catherine Kerr, PhD to catalyze a new field of integrated discovery around the role of vital energy ("Qi/chi") in health and healing. Building off of recent advances in the sciences, as well as the longstanding scholarship in the humanities examining how contemplative practices (eg meditation and qigong) may promote health, this speaker series will bring together humanistic, scientific, clinical, and practitioner perspectives. In honoring Cathy’s work and vision, this speaker series will provide an important forum to continue and deepen a critical interdisciplinary approach to studying the role of vital energy in health. We will accomplish this through the exploration of current and future scholarship and research pathways and collaborations.

The Kerr Vital Energy Research Collaborative Members:

Larson DiFiori, Stephanie Jones, Christopher Moore, Harold Roth, Simona Temereanca
Ibanescu, Chloe Zimmerman, Dylan Daniels, Anne Heyrman-Hart

Lecture and discussion by Dr. Julienne Bower, January 27, 2022 on Mind-Body Interventions:  Effects on Mental and Physical Health from 7 - 8:30 pm.  This is a virtual event.  To register, please go to or write to [email protected] 

Lecture Abstract and Biography:  Mind-body interventions, including meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi, are extremely popular and promoted as strategies for improving health.  In this presentation, Dr. Bower will review the evidence behind these claims, focusing on research conducted with cancer patients and survivors.  Studies conducted by Dr. Bower and colleagues have shown beneficial effects of mind-body interventions on depression, fatigue, insomnia, and immune function, and have begun to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for these effects.  Dr. Bower will describe these studies including results from a recent multi-site trial of mindfulness meditation for breast cancer survivors. 

Dr. Julienne Bower is a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  Her research focuses broadly on bidirectional interactions between psychological/behavioral states and immune function among individuals facing stressful life events, including cancer patients and survivors.  She is particularly interested in positive psychological states, including positive affect and eudaimonic well-being, and strategies for building resilience in the neuro-immune network.  Dr. Bower’s interest in psychology began as an undergraduate at Brown University where she worked in the laboratory of Dr. J. Michael Walker.  Dr. Bower is Associate Director of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and the Mindful Awareness Research Center and member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA.  She has received career awards from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society and the American Psychological Association and was awarded the inaugural George F. Solomon Professorship of Psychobiology term chair at UCLA.  Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

Recorded Lectures and Workshops

Professor Heiner Fruehauf, Ph.D., LAc
Inaugural Lecture:  A Brief History of Qi:  From Ancient Cosmology to Modern Medical Practice
November 6, 2020

Professor David Palmer (University of Hong Kong)
Lecture:  Out of Ontological Bounds:  Researching Qi During China's Qigong Craze
With Response by Professor Nancy Chen (University of Califoria, Santa Cruz) 
January 14, 2021

Roundtable Discussion 1
Professors Heiner Fruehauf, Nancy Chen and David Palmer
March 18, 2021

Roundtable Discussion 2
Masters Yang Yang, Kenmeth Cohen and Harrison Moretz
June 28, 2021

Dr. Albert Yeung, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Lecture:  Qigong and Tai Chi for the Treatment of Depression
October 26, 2021

Dr. Shamini Jain, Founder and CEO of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI)
Lecture:  Biofield Therapies:  Surveying the Clinical Landscape
December 9, 2021