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:

My research interests include investigating self-regulatory and neurobiological mechanisms of mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation for enhancing overall health and well being, as well as for therapeutic tools for specialized areas such as pain management, depression, and recovery.

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

Additional projects/research areas:

  • Investigating spatio-temporal trends in gun violence across America
  • Concussions, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease

Outreach

  • 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 athletes, recovery groups and other community-based groups and individuals.
Teaching   My passion is to teach 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. Johnson, B. T. & Acabchuk, R. L.  (2017). What are the keys to a longer, happier life? Answers from five decades of health psychology research. Social Science & Medicine, 196, 218-226. (Link)
  2. Acabchuk, R. L., & Johnson, B. T. (2017). Helmets in women’s lacrosse: What the evidence shows. Concussion, 2(2).
    • Most-read paper that Concussion published in 2017. (Link)
  3. Acabchuk, R. L., Kamath, J., Salamone, J. D., & Johnson, B. T. (2017). Stress and chronic illness: The inflammatory pathway. Social Science & Medicine, 185, 166-170. (Link)
  4. Acabchuk R. L., Briggs D. I., Angoa-Pérez, M., Powers, M., Wolferz Jr., R, Soloway, M., Stern, M., Talbot, L. R., Kuhn D. M., Conover, J. C. (2016). Repeated mild traumatic brain injury causes focal response in lateral septum and hippocampus. Concussion, 1(3). (Link)
  5. Acabchuk R. L., Sun Y., Wolferz Jr, R., Eastman, M. B., Lennington, J. B., Shook, B. A., & Conover, J. C. (2015). 3D modeling of the lateral ventricles and histological characterization of periventricular tissue in humans and mouse. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 99, e52328.
  6. Eastman, M. B., Acabchuk, R. L., & Conover, J. C. (2015). Neural stem cell behavior in the subventricular zone as a function of age. Neural Stem Cells in Health and Disease. World Scientific Press.
  7. Shook, B. A.,a Lennington, J. B.,a Acabchuk, R. L.,a Halling, M., Sun, Y., Peters, J., Wu ,Q., Mahajan, A., Fellows, D. W., & Conover, J. C. (2014). Ventriculomegaly associated with ependymal gliosis and declines in barrier integrity in the aging human and mouse brain. Aging Cell, 13(2), 340-350. (aCo-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