David L. Felten

David L. Felten, M.D., Ph.D. is a well known and respected researcher whose contributions helped to establish the field of psychoneuroimmunology and laid  the foundations for the physiological understanding of complementary and integrative medicine. Dr. Felten first demonstrated a direct connection between nerve fibers of the sympathetic nervous system and cells of the immune system in several organs, including the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, and bone marrow. These nerves are major participants in stress responses and their health consequences. Dr. Felten has shown that these nerve connections can influence the onset and course of cancer, infectious diseases including retroviral infections, autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis), and age-related decline in immune responses. He currently is Vice President for Research and Medical Director of the Beaumont Research Institute at the William Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak, MI.
Dr. Felten previously served as Dean of the School of Graduate Medical Education at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ and Executive Director of the Susan Samuels Center for Integrative Medicine, and Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine in Irvine, CA, founding Director of the Center for Neuroimmunology at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, CA. Chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at the University of Rochester,, and as Director of the Markey Charitable Trust Institute for Neurobiology of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Aging.
In the past 10 years, Dr. Felten and colleagues have expanded the scope of their studies to encompass many disease models in cancer, aging, and infectious disease, and to identify the physiological changes in stress hormones, inflammatory mediators, and immune responses that are induced by complementary and integrative interventions such as humor and laughter, music therapy, guided imagery, aerobic exercise, use of antioxidants and other nutritional supplements, and other approaches. His research incorporates sophisticated quantitative molecular, cellular and tissue engineering approaches to assessment of the mechanistic foundations of complementary and integrative medicine.
David Felten has received numerous honors and awards. For his pioneering findings in neural-immune interactions, he received the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, sometimes called the “genius award” by the press. He was twice nominated for a Lasker Prize. Dr. Felten is one of only a handful of researchers ever to receive two 10-year peer review-based MERIT awards from two separate Institutes (Aging, and Mental Health) at the National Institutes of Health, research support given for an extended period to proven investigators whose work has had extraordinary importance or impact. The John E. Fetzer Institute has honored Dr. Felten’s pioneering contributions with the Norman Cousins Award in Mind- Body Medicine in 1995.
Dr. David Felten is co-author of the definitive scholarly text in the field, Psychoneuroimmunology (Academic Press, 3rd edition, 2001), and was the founding co- editor of the major journal in the field, Brain, Behavior and Immunity, with Drs. Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen of the University of Rochester. Dr. Felten’s continuing goal is to carefully investigate the scientific foundations for the physiological and molecular benefits of many life style, mind/body, and complementary interventions, helping to fully integrate these approaches into conventional medicine for an evidence-based integrative “whole person care.”


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