Join Our Research Team

Opportunities for Graduate Students, Medical Students, and Visiting Scholars and Researchers 

If you are interested in joining our research team in an unpaid capacity to engage in the research we do here at DOPS, we are interested in hearing from you.

We are seeking those academics who are interested in doing research projects at UVA DOPS who fall into the following categories:

  • UVA graduate students
  • Medical students from other approved academic institutions and medical schools
  • Academic faculty from UVA and other institutions
  • Professional researchers in related fields such as psychologists, psychiatrists, neurobiologists, neuroscientists, experimental psychologists, religious studies, philosophers, physicists, biostatisticians, and electrical engineers among many others

If you are interested in exploring these possibilities with us, please submit:

  • A brief description of your academic background and interests
  • A brief research proposal describing a project related to the scope of the research being done at UVA DOPS
  • Your plans for providing your own funding related to the research project you are proposing

These submissions will be reviewed by the DOPS faculty for consideration. We are able to accept a limited number of unpaid guest researchers per year.

*Please note, we do not provide course credit or funding to any students, graduate students or medical students for these specially arranged circumstances.

Graduate Students:

Graduate students may engage in research projects with UVA DOPS while they are pursuing a wide variety of degrees within other departments, such as Anthropology or Religious Studies, Psychology, Neurobiology, or Sociology among many other related academic programs, provided they satisfy all requirements of the parent department and/or parent institution, and have the explicit cooperation of their department supervisor to do a special research project with The UVA Division of Perceptual Studies. We do not provide course credit or funding to any students for these specially arranged circumstances.

Medical Students and Residents:

  • Summer Research Interns

Kelsey O'Leary and Monica Janke Medical Student Research Interns 2016

Medical Students Kelsey O’Leary and Monica Janke, Class of 2019-UVA DOPS Research Interns, Summer 2016

Since the year 2002, DOPS has engaged 1 or 2 first year UVA medical student summer research interns in coding the cases of children who report memories of previous lives. The medical students apply and are interviewed for this summer research program. The medical students are here for 7-8 weeks during their break from their first and second year of medical school.  The students are supervised and trained in the coding procedures in a standardized manner. They are then given access to the files and field notes of the cases of children who remember previous lives. Using standardized procedures, they code the cases for over 200 variables. Once a case is coded, the data is entered into a large SPSS data base. The medical students are then encouraged to create a research project of their own in which they use statistical analysis to look for patterns and and trends in the data. At the end of the summer, the medical students typically give a presentation about their project to the faculty and write a short summary paper. It is possible for these medical student projects to evolve into published academic papers with the guidance and collaboration of the research faculty.

One of the student projects which became a published paper is Cases of the Reincarnation Type with Memories from the Intermission Between Lives, by Poonam Sharma and Dr. Jim B. Tucker, published in 2005 in the Journal of Near-death Studies, 23(2):101-118. This project reflects an analysis of a minority of children who claim to remember previous lives and also claim to remember events between lives.  This project analyzed statements from 35 Burmese subjects, revealing patterns in the memories that they described.  A comparison of these reports, to reports of near-death experiences indicates significant areas of overlap between these two types of experiences. (pdf)

  • Medical Students and Residents

Medical students and residents from UVA Medical School or from other approved academic institutions and medical schools may pursue a research project with members of the UVA DOPS faculty. It is possible to set up special research projects related to the scope of what is being studied DOPS, provided that a member of the DOPS research faculty has made arrangements to act as collaborator or an associate supervisor on the project.

Visiting Researchers and Scholars:

  • Postdoctoral Research Positions:

Please check back here in the near future to learn about opportunities for paid Postdoctoral or Research Fellow positions at UVA DOPS as they become available.

  • Sabbaticals:

Faculty from other academic institutions and disciplines have used their paid sabbaticals or have found outside funding to support their research projects, falling within the scope of the DOPS research endeavors, with the support and supervision of the DOPS faculty. These guest researchers have worked with the DOPS research faculty on various projects of mutual interest over the years.

We welcome inquiries from any and all such persons who might have an upcoming paid sabbatical leave and are interested in our research. We do not provide course credit, continuing education credit or funding to any visiting guest researchers for these specially arranged circumstances.

For those researchers who are interested in learning more about the possibility of using their sabbatical to do research at DOPS, send an email outlining your academic background, research interests, and research proposal related to the scope of the research being carried out at UVA DOPS to:

Masayuki Ohkado, UVA Dops Faculty, and Our Local Research Communtity

Visiting Researcher Masayuki Ohkado, UVA DOPS Faculty, and Our Local Professional Research Community


Resulting Papers from Visiting Researchers:

Here are two examples of published academic papers that came out of specially arranged selected projects with visiting researchers. The first one here is the result of the collaboration between Geena Athappilly and Bruce Greyson.  Dr. Athapply was a visiting medical student from an accredited institution at the time of her project.

Do Prevailing Societal Models Influence Reports of Near-Death Experiences? A Comparison of Accounts Reported Before and After 1975 by Geena Athappilly, M.D. and Bruce Greyson M.D. (Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 194, 218-222, 2006).  This article compares the phenomenology of 24 NDEs that were reported prior to Dr. Raymond Moody’s introduction of the term “NDE” in 1975 with 24 recently reported NDEs, matched on relevant demographic and situational variables. Tunnel phenomena were reported more frequently in the recent NDEs, but 14 other features described by Moody were reported as frequently in the pre-1975 NDEs as they were in the recent cases. This consistency in NDEs reported before and after Moody described the “typical” NDE suggests that NDEs reports have not been substantially influenced by prevailing cultural models. (pdf)

The second published academic paper here is the result of a collaboration between Masayuki Ohkado, and Bruce Greyson.  Masayuki Ohkado was on paid sabbatical as a visiting researcher from Chubu University at the time of this project. Dr. Ohkado made special arrangements with the faculty to spend his year long sabbatical here to learn about the research being carried out at UVA DOPS, as well as to collaborate on various projects of his own with the DOPS faculty. Numerous academic papers came out of his time here.

Masayuki Ohkado and Bruce Greyson, 2013

Masayuki Ohkado and Bruce Greyson, 2013

A Comparative Analysis of Japanese and Western NDEs, by Masayuki Ohkado, Ph.D. Bruce Greyson, M.D.  (Journal of Near-Death Studies, 32(4), Summer 2014)  Decades of studies on near-death experiences (NDEs) have revealed both cross-cultural and culture-specific features (Kellehear, 2009) and that it is important to determine which aspects are attributed to the physiological, biological, or psychological mechanisms shared by all humans and which aspects are of cultural origin. In this article, we examine Japanese NDEs and compare their features with generalizations based on observations of Western NDEs. (pdf)


Expanding Our Research:

We invite you to review the descriptions of the ways in which the DOPS researchers currently envision expanding their research within special areas of focus.

Please click here on “Expanding Our Research” for more information.