I am a writer, scientist, and philanthropist committed to building a kinder, more equitable world. Growing up a young girl in Indiana in the 1960s before the women’s movement and then emerging as a young adult in its aftermath, I saw how quickly there can be a tremendous shift in cultural mindset. It shaped my interest in becoming a scientist and in studying human behavior, particularly the role of genes in its variability. After completing a Ph.D. In biological anthropology and a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical Genetics and Childhood Psychopathology, I joined the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA’s School of Medicine, and spent several decades researching the genetics of childhood onset behavioral disorders, specifically Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
My lab was the first to conduct a genome-wide scan in ADHD and to identify risk genes in this condition. Throughout my scientific career I held tightly to a view that reason is the only means of acquiring knowledge, with science its best methodology. When an early stage melanoma launched my own investigation into mind, I discovered the value of intuition as a means of acquiring knowledge as well. It led to my later founding the mindfulness center at UCLA (www.marc.ucla.edu) to bring practices like mindfulness and meditation into the lives of others. I retired in 2010 to spend more time writing, traveling, and working philanthropically to help promote a greater balance of these complementary ways of knowing in the 21st century through writing, online blogging, and lecturing on a wide range of topics spanning genetics, human behavior, mindfulness, and well-being. I am happily married to Kevin Wall and we have three creative and compassionate adult children.