Dr. Richard Davidson is
• Director, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior
• Director, Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience
• A William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Davidson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at the University of Wisconsin since 1984. In 2006, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2007, Madison Magazine named him Person of the Year.

He has published more than 250 articles, chapters and reviews, and has edited 13 books. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including:
• National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Scientist Award
• MERIT Award from NIMH
• Established Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD)
• Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD
• William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society
• Hilldale Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Davidson was the founding co-editor of the new American Psychological Association journal, Emotion. He is past-president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

In 2000, he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, which is the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004, he was elected to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. In 2006, UCLA awarded him the first Mani Bhaumik Award for advancing the understanding of the brain and conscious mind in healing.

Davidson maintains a daily meditation practice. Some of his research is on the brain and meditation. His long-term friendship with the Dalai Lama has led to a partnership in the Dalai Lama's attempts to build a connection between Buddhism and western science. (See below, Davidson In The News: Scientist, Dalai Lama share research effort.) This relationship has caused criticism from some scientists, who believe it is inappropriate to maintain a close connection with someone who has a vested interest in the outcome of his research. When Davidson invited the Dalai Lama to speak at a 2005 neuroscience conference, dozens of researchers signed a petition in protest. Some of them were Chinese researchers whose politics disagree with the Dalai Lama's stance on Tibet.

Others believe it is an inappropriate mix of faith with science. Nevertheless, "his relationship with the Dalai Lama lends a great deal of public influence to the hard science that he does," said David Addiss of the Fetzer Institute, a Michigan nonprofit that gave Davidson a $2.5 million grant. In 2010, Davidson appeared with the Dalai Lama at five scientific events.