As an anthropologist, Dylan explores the relation between culture, mind, body and brain through the lens of specific human societies – their histories, languages and practices. His dissertation work examined the continuing dialogue between Buddhists and Western scientists and how this encounter has helped shape contemplative research, Tibetan Buddhist monastic education, and the unfolding collaboration between them.
Dylan’s current research examines the psychophysiological effects of long-term meditative practice on the aging process and end of life measures. He will also study the impact of these practices on the experience of grieving and dying. This research involves working closely with monastics, physicians, caregivers, and other members of the Tibetan community in India and Nepal, and will lay the groundwork for a longer term, multi-site, cross-cultural investigation. Among the goals for this work is that it will engender a re-visioning of the ways we structure end-of-life care, nuance and deepen our understanding of well-being to include a recognition of the subjective dimensions of the peri-mortem experience in both the dying and the aggrieved, and generate new approaches and insights concerning the neural and social mechanisms hypothesized to be most salient during times of death and bereavement.
In addition to his work at CHM, Dylan administers an Historical Archives grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, working closely with The Field Museum of Chicago, the National Anthropological Archives (Smithsonian Institution), The Archives of Traditional Music (IU-Bloomington), and the Museu do Indio (Brazil) for the preservation and repatriation of materials and artifacts collected by Dr. Waud H. Kracke (d. 2013) to the Amazonian Parintintin. He is also a former Board Member and present Advisor for The Himalaya Project, a Chicago-based charity working to provide education and healthcare to communities in the Dolpo region of Nepal.
Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Illinois-Chicago