Rebecca L. Acabchuk, Ph.D.

Degrees:
  • Ph.D., 2016, Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut (Conover lab)
  • B.A., Honors, 1998, Psychology, with a Concentration in Statistics, Cornell University (Advisor: David Dunning)
Research Interests:
Research Interests:  Developing, testing and evaluating the mechanisms of mind-body interventions to support lasting health behavior change and overall well-being.

Current/recent research investigations on mind-body therapy include:

  • Comparing various mindfulness tools to aid in stress-reduction for college students through a registered clinical trial.
  • Analyzing the effects of yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation on blood pressure in the general population, and on quality of life in cancer survivors, using meta-analysis
  • Evaluating mindfulness programs for undergraduate student health using meta-analytic techniques.
  • Identifying self-regulatory mechanisms of interventions for health behavior change through large-scale meta-review.
  • Leading a yoga intervention for chronic low back pain that investigated self-regulation mechanisms
  • Concussions, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease
Teaching   My passion is to teach groups of people mind-body techniques that empower them to improve their lives, creating healthy habits through mindful living. 

Teaching experience:

  • Health Psychology – Adjunct professor at UConn, Psychology Department, 2017-present
  • Mindfulness and Meditation in Science and in Practice – Adjunct professor at Connecticut College, Neuroscience Program, 2016-present
  • Freshman Year Experience Instructor and Co-Director of Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WiMSE) Learning Community, 2013-2016
  • Anatomy and Physiology Lab – Teaching Assistant, UConn, Physiology and Neurobiology Department, 2011-2013
  • Yoga and guided meditation instructor for 14 years – Various locations, including yoga for faculty and staff 
In the News,

Interviews

&

Resource Links:

UConn Campus Newspaper reports on our Meditation Tools Study 

Connecticut College Magazine reports on my class’s field trip to a sound meditation retreat

UConn Today Features our research on 50 years of Health Psychology

WNPR Interview on Political Stress 

Podcast Interview on Concussions and Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness resources compiled for research and teaching

Yoga videos created for chronic low back pain research study:

Publications:
  1. George, B. 1, Acabchuk, R.L. 1, Hennessy, E. A., Johnson, B.T., Sharf, J., Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., Loucks, E.B. (submitted) Health Impacts of Mindfulness Interventions in College Undergraduates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 1Co-first authors.
  2. Wu, Y., Johnson, B.T., Acabchuk R. L., Livingston, J., Chen, S.Q., Lewis, H., Park, C.S., Pescatello, L.S. (2019). The Antihypertensive Benefits of Yoga: A Meta-Analysis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
  3. *Johnson, B. T., & Acabchuk, R. L. (2018). What are the keys to a longer, happier life? Answers from five decades of health psychology research. Social Science & Medicine,196, 218-226.
  4. Acabchuk, R. L., Kamath, J., Salamone, J. D., & Johnson, B. T. (2017). Stress and chronic illness: The inflammatory pathway. Social Science & Medicine, (1982)185, 166.
  5. *Acabchuk, R. L., & Johnson, B. T. (2017). Helmets in women’s lacrosse: what the evidence shows. Concussion2(2), CNC39.
    • Most-read paper Concussion published in 2017.
  6. Acabchuk R. L., Briggs DI, Angoa-Pérez M, Powers M, Wolferz Jr R, Soloway M, Stern M, Talbot LR, Kuhn DM, Conover JC. (2016). Repeated mild traumatic brain injury causes focal response in lateral septum and hippocampus. Concussion1(3), CNC13.
  7. Acabchuk R. L., Sun Y, Wolferz Jr R., Lennington JB, Shook BA, Conover JC (2015). 3D modeling of the lateral ventricles and histological characterization of periventricular tissue in humans and mouse. Journal of visualized experiments: JoVE, (99).
  8. Eastman M. B., Acabchuk R. L., Conover J.C. (2016). Age-Related Changes to the Subventricular Zone Stem Cell Niche. In Neural Stem Cells in Health and Disease (pp. 35-68).
  9. Shook BA1, Lennington JB1, Acabchuk RL1, Halling M, Sun Y, Peters J, Wu Q, Mahajan A, Fellows DW, Conover JC (2014). Ventriculomegaly associated with ependymal gliosis and declines in barrier integrity in the aging human and mouse brain. Aging Cell, 13(2), 340-350. 1Co-first authors.

 

Awards:
  • Abstract of Distinction, Society of Prevention Research, 2018. Health Impacts of Mindfulness Interventions in College Undergraduates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Swami Kuvalyananda Research Abstract Award 2017. Presented by the International Association of Yoga Therapists for Excellence and Innovation in Yoga Research at the Symposium for Yoga Research, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Stockbridge, MA. Role: First author
  • Editorial Associate, Health Psychology section, Social Science & Medicine, 2016-
  • Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award – University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 2014. (Awarded to 1 GA per year for outstanding teaching, excellent interpersonal skills, and contribution to the development of the instructional program.)
  • 100 Years of Women Scholarship Award – University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 2014. (Awarded to 2 female students per year for commitment and service to women’s issues.)
  • Winner of UCONN’s Three Minute Thesis Contest; International Finalist, 2014
  • Neuroscience Fellowship – University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 2014-15

Outreach, Workshops and Meditation Resources

  • Develop and lead Counselling and Mental Health Service’s Meditation Neurofeedback Program, open to all faculty, staff and students.
  • Provide mental training programs, mindfulness and yoga workshops for the workplace, athletes, recovery groups and other community-based groups and individuals.

Feedback from participants in “Mindfulness in the Workplace” workshops at the University of Connecticut:

  • “Becky is an incredible facilitator. She not only provides a lot of data and research to help everyone understand the power and importance of mindfulness, but she also has a wonderful ability to lead the group in a guided meditation that literally made me experience a time-warp.  I thought she was giving us a 5 minute preview of what a guided meditation would be like and was amazed that 30 minutes had gone by. My entire mind and body were completely relaxed afterwards.  The rest of my workday was a very different experience than a typical day.”

Guided Meditations Created for Study and Workshop Participants

Compilation of Meditation Resources