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Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam (3).JPG

Associate Professor Nicholas Van Dam



A/Prof Nicholas Van Dam is the inaugural Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre and an Associate Professor in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Nicholas is a highly regarded global leader in contemplative research and practice.

His vision for the Contemplative Studies Centre reflects a desire for inclusivity, authenticity, integrity, and excellence, embedded within a rigorous ethical framework to ensure retention of the ethos of contemplative practices while simultaneously promoting their empirical study.


Nicholas completed a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison (USA), followed by an MA and a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, SUNY (USA). Upon completing his PhD, Nicholas undertook post-doctoral fellowships in Psychiatry, Clinical Neuroscience and Psychiatric Neuroimaging.


Nicholas's research program includes exploration of the ways that meditation and mindfulness practices can support wellbeing, as well as improved understanding and treatment of high-prevalence psychiatric disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression, substance use), and is ultimately aimed at better understanding the human condition. He focuses on finding ways to mitigate maladaptive functioning and increase adaptive functioning.


He has expertise in decision-making processes in psychiatric disorders, introspection and insight of self-concept via meditation research, and combines his extensive academic expertise in contemplative practice with an interest and understanding of the complex ethical, social and systemic issues associated with the 'hype, hope and reality' of meditation and mindfulness research and practice.

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Nicholas Van Dam has published numerous research papers on topics such as mindfulness, meditation, depression and anxiety, and decision-making. His publications have appeared in top-tier journals such as The Journal of Neuroscience and Perspectives on Psychological Science. He has also presented his work at international conferences around the world. You can find a list of his publications on his academic CV.

Unimelb Contemplative Studies Centre Launch 01 23-11-22 12-06 Simon Fazio FZI00977
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