Worry thinking is a major contributor to anxiety and sleep disturbances in the U.S. Mindfulness training may help people manage anxiety, but the effects of delivering mindfulness training through a digital platform (app-based digital therapeutics) on sleep behaviors has yet to be studied. The proposed study will test a mobile mindfulness training program for worry to help individuals decrease worry and improve sleep. The project aims to 1) Determine the degree to which mindfulness training affects maladaptive reinforcement learning, and 2) Test the degree to which mindfulness training reduces worry-driven sleep disturbance.

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator


Brown University

Department of Psychiatry

Providence, RI

Dr. Brewer is an internationally known thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He is the Director of Research and Innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center and associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical School. Dr. Brewer has developed novel mindfulness programs for behavior change, including both in-person and app-based treatments for smoking, emotional eating, and anxiety. His current research interests include the intersection between mindfulness, emotion regulation and behavior change. His lab is studying this via multiple modes, including linking theoretical models to behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of action using experience sampling (aka ecological momentary assessment), EEG (e.g. source-estimated EEG neurofeedback), and fMRI methodologies. Additionally, his work bridges basic and clinical sciences through translational research that includes design, testing, and implementation of digital therapeutics in real-world settings. His work has been featured on 60 minutes, at TED.com (4th most viewed talk of 2016 with over 10 Million views), in documentaries, books and news outlets across the world. He is the author of The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love, why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).

Elizabeth Hoge, MD

Principal Investigator


Harvard University

Department of Psychiatry

Boston, MA

Dr. Hoge is a board-certified psychiatrist. She studies biological changes that occur in the body as a result of stress and trauma, which may serve as markers for anxiety disorders and may elucidate pathophysiology of these disorders and indicate pathways that could be targeted for novel pharmacologic therapies. Her work also focuses on identifying biological markers of resilience which may protect some people from developing anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder after a trauma. Dr. Hoge has received awards from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and the New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit of the National Institute of Mental Health related to her work in anxiety disorders. She also received a Harvard Medical School Dupont Warren Fellowship award to study the effect of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Dr. Hoge also received a five-year NIH grant to measure the effect of meditation training on anxiety and biological markers of stress, such as stress hormones and inflammatory markers. Recently Dr. Hoge also was awarded a CIMIT Innovation grant to examine the effect of the neuropeptide oxytocin on memory consolidation.

Lisa Onken, PhD


Program Official