Dr. Tawni Tidwell

Contributing Translator
Tawni received her BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University, Masters and PhD in Biocultural Anthropology from Emory University, and TMD (Tibetan medical degree, Kachupa equivalent) from Sorig Loling Tibetan Medical College of Qinghai University in eastern Tibet.

As a biocultural anthropologist and a Tibetan medical physician, she was the first Westerner to formally complete her Tibetan medical education in a Tibetan institution alongside Tibetan peers. Tawni received her first three years of medical training at Men-Tsee-Khang in north India, and completed her last two years and one year internship in eastern Tibet at the Tibetan Medical College of Qinghai University in eastern Tibet, graduating there in July 2015. She completed her one-year internship and subsequent apprenticeships with senior physicians across the Tibetan plateau. Her doctoral work integrates insights from contemporary neuroscience, Buddhist epistemology, and biocultural anthropology to understand how Tibetan physicians learn to embody diagnostic practices, particularly for cancer and metabolic disorders. The translations in her dissertation feature the key chapters on diagnostics, metabolic disorders, and cancer from the Four Medical Tantras (Dpal ldan rgyud bzhi) and six of its most prominent commentaries.

Previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and University of Vienna, and now a Scientist at the Center for Healthy Minds of University of Wisconsin-Madison, her work facilitates bridges across the Western scientific tradition and Tibetan medical and contemplative traditions along with their attendant epistemologies and ontologies. Her translations focus on Tibetan pharmacological, clinical, and medical theory from the Tibetan medical canon.

She is currently Project Lead for the Field Study of the Physiology of Meditation Practitioners and the Tukdam Meditative State (FMed) guided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in collaboration with Tibetan Buddhist monastic and Tibetan medical colleagues in India as well as the Russian Academy of Sciences. She is also Principal Investigator for the Varela Study on Examining Individual Differences in Contemplative Practice Response (ExamID-Biome) that assesses variation in meditation outcomes as it relates to gut microbiome profiles and Tibetan medical constitutional characteristics. Her translations focus on coarse and subtle understandings of the body as they relate to both medical and contemplative contexts.

Tawni currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin where she maintains a private clinical practice and enjoys time outdoors in the northern american grasslands.