This page lists faculty and teaching staff in departments across the three campuses of U of T, as well as those in affiliated institutions nearby, who do research on Buddhism and/or teach about Buddhism, from various disciplinary perspectives. To learn more about programs that cluster courses on Buddhism, see the Programs page.
Department for the Study of Religion
Arti Dhand’s areas of interest include the Mahabharata and the Ramayana Hindu epics, Hindu ethics, gender issues in Hinduism, and religion and sexuality.
Frances Garrett studies and teaches Tibetan Buddhism, history of medicine and Buddhism, and Tibetan language.
Amanda Goodman’s research focuses on the Tang-Song transition period of Chinese Buddhism.
Michael Ium is a historian of religion with specialties in Tibet and South Asia. His research explores how both religions traditions and their scholarly depictions have been constructed.
Rory Lindsay is a scholar of Tibetan religions focusing on funerary practices, biographical literature, philosophy, and Buddhist canons. Rory is also an editor at 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Libbie Mills is a Sanskritist whose principal research interest is in the architectural instruction given in North Indian early Shaiva Tantra installation manuals.
Department of History
Jayeeta Sharma works on migration, labour, family, gender, food, cultural circulation, in studies of Eastern Himalayan borderlands, the British Empire, and post-colonial spaces.
Nhung Tuyet Tran’s intellectual interests lie at the intersection of gender, law, and religious practice in Vietnamese society.
Malavika Kasturi teaches South Asian history and writes about various aspects of monasticism, with a particular focus on family, sexuality and asceticism.
Department of East Asian Studies
Graham Sanders studies the portrayal in narrative of the composition, performance and reception of poetry in pre-modern China as a way of enriching our understanding of how poetic practice was envisioned in the Chinese tradition.
Department of Historical Studies, U of T Mississauga campus
Sarah Richardson is a historian of the arts and religions of South Asia with a specialization in Buddhist visual and material practice, especially Himalayan painting.
Ajay Rao works on Sanskrit intellectual history, Sanskrit literature, and religion in South India.
Christoph Emmrich engages with fields as diverse as Nepalese and Burmese Buddhism, Sanskrit, Pali, Newar, Burmese and Mon literature and Tamil Jainism.
Luther Obrock‘s research focuses on the religious, political, and intellectual history of Sanskrit literature in second-millennium South Asia.
Department of Visual Studies, U of T Mississauga campus
Kajri Jain has worked on popular images in modern India, such as the bazaar icons known as calendar art, or monumental statues, such as those of Tibetan and Dalit Buddhism, and theme parks.
Department of Art History
Jennifer Purtle works on Buddhist iconography and Chinese art and visual culture from the Six Dynasties to the present.
Department of Political Science
Matthew J Walton‘s research focuses on religion and politics in Southeast Asia, with a special emphasis on Buddhism in Myanmar.
Department of Philosophy
Elisa Freschi is a specialist in South Asian philosophy who works on deontic logic in classical Indian philosophy and issues in theology. Her main areas of research include philosophy of language and epistemology, with the stated goal of bringing South Asian philosophy fully into the centre of contemporary philosophical discussions.
Jennifer Nagel’s research focuses on knowledge, belief, and our capacities to track these states in ourselves and others. Prof. Nagel is interested in the history of epistemology, both in the Western tradition back to Plato, and in the Classical Indian and Tibetan traditions. She also works in contemporary philosophy of mind, with special interests in metacognition and mental state attribution.
Jonardon Ganeri is a scholar of South Asian Philosophy, and an advocate of the contemporary relevance of this set of philosophical traditions to current debates about consciousness, the self, the nature of knowledge, and the point of philosophy itself.
Department of Psychology
Zindel Segal is Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders and a Senior Scientist in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. His work has provided an empirical rationale for offering training in mindfulness meditation to recurrently depressed patients in recovery and the development of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. His currently funded research studies the effectiveness of delivering MBCT online for reducing residual depressive symptoms (NIMH) and neural markers of mindfulness practice and relapse risk in mood disorders (CIHR).
Norman Farb studies the neuroscience of human identity and emotion, with a focus on how cognitive biases shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. In his research he is particularly interested in how cognitive training practices such as mindfulness meditation foster resilience against stress, reducing vulnerability to affective disorders such as depression.
John Vervaeke teaches courses in the Cognitive Science program including Introduction to Cognitive Science, and the Cognitive Science of Consciousness; courses in the Psychology department on thinking and reasoning with an emphasis on insight problem solving, cognitive development with an emphasis on the dynamical nature of development, and higher cognitive processes with an emphasis on intelligence, rationality, mindfulness, and the psychology of wisdom. He is founder of the Consciousness & Wisdom Studies Lab.
Buddhism, Psychology, & Mental Health Program, New College
Anderson Todd, Part-time CLTA, BPMH, is the Assistant Director of U of T’s Consciousness and Wisdom Studies Lab. He teaches in the Cognitive Science program and Interdisciplinary Courses on Jungian Theory program at the University of Toronto, on Consciousness and The Unconscious respectively. He also consults in private practice as a psychotherapist to individuals, and as an enrichment education specialist to private schools. His research interests include altered states, insight enhancement, intelligence amplification, attentional neurofeedback, neo-Jungian lucid dreaming, practical psychotechnology, and the mechanics of psychotherapeutic efficacy.
Melanie Viglas, Sessional II Lecturer, BPMH, is a professor in the Early Childhood Education program at Sheridan College. She holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in Education (Early Learning Cohort) from OISE. She is a registered teacher with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) and a registered early childhood educator (RECE). She also holds several certifications in areas related to mindfulness and self-compassion. She served as the coordinator for the Toronto Mindful Families and Schools group and was awarded the Senior Doctoral Fellowship Award for her graduate work in mindfulness and education. Melanie has a strong interest in and commitment to student wellbeing.
Paul Whissell, Sessional II Lecturer, BPMH, is a neuroscientist with a Ph.D. from University of Toronto in 2013. His background is interdisciplinary and includes training in biology, psychology, pharmacology, physiology and genetics. His research investigates the neural mechanisms of mental health disorders but also examines the basis of learning and memory.
Elli Weisbaum, Part-time CLTA, BPMH, is a Toronto based mindfulness practitioner and teacher, who attended her first retreat with scholar, Zen Master and Nobel Peace prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh at the age of ten. She has worked internationally facilitating mindfulness workshops and retreats within the sectors of education, healthcare and business. She is currently based at the University of Toronto as an instructor for the Applied Mindfulness and Meditation Certificate Program and a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Medicine. Her thesis focuses on the integration of mindfulness into healthcare settings, with specific research on the application mindfulness to address physician wellbeing. She holds a Masters degree focused on bringing mindfulness into education.
Chung Yu Tung East Asia Library
Lauran Hartley is Tibetan Studies Librarian for the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University and occasionally serves as Adjunct Lecturer in Tibetan Literature for the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. She also serves as the University of Toronto’s Tibetan Studies Librarian, through a Cooperative Agreement between U of T and Columbia University (see University of Toronto and Columbia Libraries Launch Tibetan Studies Partnership). She has also taught courses on Tibetan literature and religion at Indiana and Rutgers universities and her research focuses on literary production and discourse from the eighteenth century to present.
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Michael Ferrari is interested in personal identity and how it develops in typical and atypical populations. This interest extends to questions of personal wisdom, and to the development of academic and professional expertise. He is also interested in the study of personal conscious experience, both in contemporary cognitive science and in the history of psychology. Dr. Ferrari is head of the Wisdom and Identity Lab, which explores personal wisdom in people of different ages in countries around the world. He is currently leading an international study of personal wisdom in Canada, the USA, Serbia, Ukraine, India, and China.
Jack Miller is a Professor with the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE. His research interests focus on holistic education, spirituality in education, contemplation in educational settings, and curriculum orientations. Dr. Miller has been working in the field of holistic education for over 40 years. He is author/editor of 20 books on holistic learning and contemplative practices in education which include Whole Child Education, The Holistic Curriculum, The Contemplative Practitioner, Education and the Soul and Love and Compassion: Exploring their Role in Education. His writing has been translated into nine languages. The Holistic Curriculum has provided the program framework for the Equinox Holistic Alternative School in Toronto where Jack has been involved in an advisory role.
Royal Ontario Museum
Deepali Dewan is Senior Curator at the Royal Ontario Museum and Associate Professor, U of T Department of Fine Art. Her research interests encompass 19th and 20th-century visual culture of South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora.
Chen Shen joined the ROM in 1997 as the first Bishop White Curator of East Asian Archaeology, an endowed curatorship. His research focuses on human origins and lithic technology development in East Asia.
Toronto School of Theology
Reid B. Locklin’s research focuses on a range of issues in Comparative Theology and Hindu-Christian Studies, particularly the engagement between Christian thought and the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta.
Henry Shiu is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where his doctoral dissertation was supervised by Prof. Leonard Priestley at the Centre for the Study of Religion. Shiu has a keen interest in the study of Mahayana Buddhism, particularly in the historical and doctrinal studies of the Madhyamaka and Yogacara traditions. His area of research specialization lies in the theory of the tathagatagarbha or Buddha nature. He also has a research interest in contemporary Buddhist movements, Engaged Buddhism, and Buddhism in Canada. He has been teaching at New College for many years, offering a variety of courses from Engaged Buddhism to Buddhist Psychology. In recent years, Shiu has taught a few courses at Emmanuel College, including Buddhist Contemplative Care, Buddhist Ethics, and Buddhist Meditative Traditions. His recent publication includes an in-depth examination and Chinese translation of the hymns of Nagarjuna. In addition, Shiu has a deep interest in scholarly research on Western classical music. Three books on this subject were published by Oxford University Press in Hong Kong.