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Neil Theise

Professor of Pathology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Neil Theise, MD is a diagnostic liver pathologist, adult stem cell researcher, and complexity theorist in New York City, where he is Professor of Pathology and of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and attending physician at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center. He received his BA in Oriental Studies (Judaica/Hebraica) and a BAS in Computer Science from University of Pennsylvania before earning his MD from Columbia University.

Dr. Theise’s research revised understandings of human liver microanatomy which, in turn, led directly to identification of possible liver stem cell niches.  This work, in turn, led to pioneering research into adult stem cell plasticity with publications on that topic in Science, Nature, and Cell.  These remain active areas of scientific and clinical investigation.

Stirring complexity theory into this mix, he has extended his work to areas of theoretical biology and more fundamental questions regarding the underlying structure of the universe.  In terms of biology, these ideas suggest that alternate models of the body, other than classical (‘Western’) cell doctrine, may be necessary to understand non-Western approaches to the body and health.  Moreover, he models the universe as a holarchy of self-organizing complex systems from the quantum vacuum on up through all levels of scale: a view that points to consciousness as the fundamental ground of being of existence and a panpsychist perspective.  His work with physicist Menas Kafatos points to three fundamental principles underlying the self-organizing universe: complementarity, sentience (or ‘creative interactivity’), and recursion, evident in different forms at every level of scale.  These features map directly to insights regarding the nature of reality from contemplative practices and philosophical inquiry from diverse cultures and spiritual perspectives. 

Dr. Theise is also a senior student of Zen Buddhism at the Village Zendo, New York City, under the guidance of Roshi Enkyo O’hara.


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