Olga Klimecki and Elena Antonova join Humanize as Scientific Advisors

Humanize has announced a new scientific advisory board to advise on breakthroughs in psychology and social neuroscience research. Dr Olga Klimecki and Dr Elena Antonova will from now on support Humanize’s use of healthy digital technology and evidence-based training to address the challenges of social disconnection in the modern era.

In a world where people are hyper-linked by technology but experiencing increasing rates of stress, loneliness, anxiety, and polarization, Drs Klimecki and Antonova will apply their decades of research expertise towards scalable practices and technology that address what Humanize describes as “disconnection from ourselves, others, and humanity.”

“The Scientific Advisory Board will strengthen the role of Humanize as a reliable institution of  science-based programs and practices,” said Franziska Schmitt, Program Director of Humanize. 

The primary objective of the Scientific Advisory Board is to provide independent insights and advice on research trends at the intersection of neuroscience, well-being, empathy and compassion. The Board will support Humanize leaders in adapting and leveraging the latest scientific advances to strengthen Humanize’s peer-to-peer “Dyad” practices for building social and emotional capacities. 

“What makes Humanize distinct from other well-being or mindfulness training practices is that it is social, it’s focused on connection,” said Peter Bonanno, Director of Curriculum and Teacher Training for Humanize. “That’s why we’re excited to have Dr Klimecki and Dr Antonova on board. Their research focuses on the neuroscience of social, emotional, and attentional capacities which are essential for how we connect with each other.”

“This world is in a desperate need of us connecting with ourselves and each other in the space of open presence and compassion. Humanize offers the platform for enabling just that, which inspired me to join Humanize as a scientific advisor to support them on their mission.”, said Elena Antonova.

Olga Klimecki highlights: “In my practice of mindfulness meditation, dyadic meditation has become an integral part, because it deepens my insights and my focus. As a scientist with a curiosity for how meditation practice impacts well-being, I would like to contribute theoretical knowledge on how to adapt the meditation practice to best meet the practitioners’ needs and ultimately, on how to contribute to better well-being.”

“Humanize goes beyond traditional mindfulness by integrating social neuroscience into a transformative 9-week journey. This unique approach not only enhances personal well-being by cultivating a deeper level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence but also cultivates deeper connections with others. Under the expert guidance of our scientific advisors, Dr. Klimecki and Dr. Antonova, we embark on a journey to unlock the profound power of human connection.”, shares Jessica Welik, Program Assistant.


About Olga Klimecki:

Olga Klimecki, PhD is a neuroscientist and psychologist, and holds a PhD (Dr. phil., summa cum laude) from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and a Dr. rer. nat. habil. from Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, where she was guest professor in Psychology in 2020 and 2021. Her research focuses on the promotion of mental and physical health across the lifespan. She is also a certified mindfulness meditation teacher and (co-) authored over 80 scientific publications. In recognition of her research on neural plasticity and conflict resolution, Olga has received several grants and awards, including the Early Career Award from the Society for Social Neuroscience in Washington DC, a Marie Curie Fellowship and a Horizon 2020 grant from the European Commission as co-Principal Investigator. 

About Elena Antonova:

Elena is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Contemplative Neuroscience at Brunel University London, UK, which she joined in 2019. Prior to that, she was a Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK. Her research focuses on the effects of long-term mindfulness practice using behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging methods, with the application to the prevention of psychopathologies and enhancement of well-being in vulnerable individuals.  Elena has been actively involved with the Mind & Life Institute since 2011 and the Mind & Life Europe since 2013 to support their mission of catalyzing the dialogue between contemplative traditions and science. In 2017, Elena was elected a Mind & Life Research Fellow for her contribution to contemplative science. Elena is committed to the dissemination of research findings in the field of contemplative neuroscience to the general public to enable as many people as possible to benefit from the evidence-based contemplative practices.  

About Humanize:

Humanize was founded in 2021 with the goal of helping people reconnect with themselves, others, and humanity. Its core offering is the “Daily Dyad,” a brief 15 min daily practice of sharing and empathetic listening with another person, held online. Scientific research has shown that the daily Dyad practice builds an array of social and emotional capacities including resilience, well-being, emotional awareness, empathy, and compassion. 

Humanize’s training programs are largely inspired by seminal publicly available at the Max Planck Institute’s Social Neuroscience Lab, including the Resource Project, one of the largest scientific studies of mental training practices, and more recently the CovSocial Project, which explored the possibility of training social & emotional skills through online-only programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the ancient practice of dyad in the Zen tradition and then in the Satori programs, Humanize has adapted and further developed these research-based practices. The aim of the company is scalably addressing social crises around well-being, resilience, social isolation, and social cohesion.

To date, Humanize has guided over 450 people through the Humanize Dyad program, launched a Web, iOS and Android App in two languages, English and German and built a Humanize Community for continuous Dyad practice. Humanize will launch its first public Teacher Training in April 2024.