About the Team

From space missions and medicine to biology and hope, we have invested our careers working toward a better future for individuals and society.  While enjoying many successes, nevertheless, we see our efforts to facilitate systemic change as too slow when compared to the problems facing humanity. Moreover, we are concerned that advances in understanding human behavior are not tracking with advances in technology.

To address this, our team of research scientists is presenting a major paradigm shift that employs technology to reveal the underlying uniqueness of human cooperation. This includes describing the fundamental connections between mind, body, culture, and community. Building on a recent scientific discovery that cortisol rhythmicity (normal 60-90-minute cortisol cycles) displays nonlinear* properties, we detail how instabilities caused by stress and trauma affect human cooperation. This has resulted in a coherent theory, explaining how influences affecting cooperation interact—from individuals to the global community. Using these insights, we are developing strategies to further explore and intentionally improve social stability. We see healthy human cooperation as the starting place for humanity’s future.

*Nonlinear means describing how small influences on any level of scale can significantly impact other levels, from the brain’s neurochemistry to individual behavior to community behavior.

Alexis D. Abernethy, PhD, CGP, FAGPA

Dr. Abernethy is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor in the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller. Her Spirituality and Health Lab includes three research teams: Experience of Spirituality and Health-Related Outcomes; Spirituality, Cancer, and Health Disparities; and Spirituality, Culture, and Eating Disturbance. Her research has been funded by The Templeton Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the California Cancer Research Program, The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the Brehm Center for Worship Theology, and the Arts. Her book, Worship that Changes Lives: Multicultural, Multidisciplinary, and Denominational Perspectives on Transformation in Worship, summarizes some of her research on worship. She has published research and clinical articles related to spirituality and health. She has also taught integrative courses including the course, Spiritual Interventions in Therapy.


For thirty years, Dr. Berk has been a world class researcher and pioneer in the field of psychoneuroimmunology with a focus on endorphinergic and immune modulation related to positive lifestyle behaviors (eustress) compared to distress.  Dr. Lee Berk is currently the Associate Dean for Research Affairs, Professor of Allied Health Studies, Director of the Clinical Molecular and Psychoneuroimmunology Research Laboratory, and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Human Anatomy and School of Allied Health Professions at Loma Linda University.  Dr. Berk has been interviewed by numerous news media for his innovative research findings including CBS 60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Good Morning America, National Public Radio, and CNN with Dr. Sanja Gupta, the BBC, Fox TV, WebMD, and numerous documentary groups. He has been interviewed for numerous magazine and newspapers including Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, NY Times, LA Times and Reader’s Digest.

Steven Cole, Ph.D.

Steven Cole is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He pioneered the field of human social genomics, and he provides strategic consulting as Director of the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory to the Institute of Medicine, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Aging, Santa Fe Institute, and MacArthur Foundation. His research and laboratory specializes in developing new bioinformatic strategies for mapping pathways by which social and environmental factors influence the activity of the human genome. In 1993, he received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and completed two post-doctoral fellowships before his appointment to the UCLA School of Medicine. He is an elected Fellow of the AAAS, recipient of Stanford University’s Centennial Teaching Award, and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Norman Cousins Center, the UCLA AIDS Institute, and the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute.

Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc

Dr. Koenig completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University, nursing school at San Joaquin Delta College, medical school training at the University of California at San Francisco, and geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and biostatistics training at Duke University Medical Center.  He is currently board certified in general psychiatry, and formerly boarded in family medicine, geriatric medicine, and geriatric psychiatry, and is on the faculty at Duke as Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Associate Professor of Medicine.  He is also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and in the School of Public Health at Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, People’s Republic of China.  Dr. Koenig is Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center, and has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with nearly 500 scientific peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and more than 40 books.   His research on religion, health and ethical issues in medicine has been featured on dozens of national and international TV news programs (including ABC’s World News Tonight, The Today Show, Good Morning America. Dr. Oz Show, and NBC Nightly News), over a hundred national or international radio programs, and hundreds of newspapers and magazines (including Reader’s Digest, Parade Magazine, Newsweek, Time, and Guidepost).  Dr. Koenig has given testimony before the U.S. Senate (1998) and U.S. House of Representatives (2008) concerning the benefits of religion and spirituality on public health, and travels widely to give seminars and workshops on this topic. He is the recipient of the 2012 Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the 2013 Gary Collins Award from the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Bruce Nelson, MA

Bruce Nelson, MA, is Director of Community Services, directing Glendale’s Collective Impact Initiative for population health and HRSA’s local Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative for primary care practices. He established GAMC’s Department of Clinical Research and has served as Principle Investigator on 45 federal, state, county and private foundation grants, managing $30,000,000. He also leads/led GAMC’s involvement in community collaborative projects, including the Glendale Healthier Community Coalition, Glendale Healthy Kids, the Health Information Exchange committee, the Consortium of Safety-Net Providers, obtaining the California Healthy City designation for Glendale, and creating the Center for Increasing Community Organization (CINCO) in Highland Park. Nelson also completed 12 health policy initiatives in local cities, and serves on Glendale’s Continuum of Care Council, administering HUD funding to community agencies for homeless services. Additionally, Nelson Chairs the board of directors for a Federally Qualified Health Center with eight clinic sites, including one dedicated to mental health services.

Douglas C. Nies, PhD

Douglas C Nies is a cognitive behavioral psychologist with an M.A. in theology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, from the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also did a post doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at UCLA. He is the chief of psychology at Glendale Adventist Medical Center where he evaluates and treats patients as well as leads and participates in multiple committees and research projects. He has been in private practice for almost 30 years, working with individuals, couples, and groups. He also does team building, facilitates retreats, teaches, and conducts seminars. He is an entrepreneur with multiple interests and ventures.

Marco Quadrelli, Ph.D.

Marco Quadrelli is an expert in modeling for dynamics and control of complex space systems. He has a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech. He was a visiting scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lecturer at the Caltech Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories.  After joining NASA JPL in 1997 he has contributed to the Cassini-­Huygens Probe, Deep Space One, Mars Aerobot Test Program, Mars Exploration Rovers, Space Interferometry Mission, Autonomous Rendezvous Experiment, and the Mars Science Laboratory, among others. He has been the Attitude Control lead of the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter Project, and the Integrated Modeling Task Manager for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts Fellow, and a Caltech/Keck Institute for Space Studies Fellow.

Adrian Stoica, Ph.D.

Adrian Stoica has been with JPL for 20 years. His education was in Electronics, Computers and Robotics; he was Assistant Professor of Medical Electronics in Iasi (Jassy) Romania. Adrian performed pioneering work on robot learning by imitation as part of his PhD in Melbourne, Australia. He has led numerous advanced technology projects, including five projects for DARPA. His interests broadly focus on human-oriented systems, computation and machine intelligence, and robotics – from assistive and healthcare robotics to space robotics. He is a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Fellow and Vice-President of IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society.

Sheryl Tyson, PhD, RN, PMHCNS

Dr. Tyson is a professor in the graduate department and the Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development in the School of Nursing at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa California. She is a child and adolescent psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist with extensive experience working with hospitalized youth victimized by family violence. Dr. Tyson was director of several school-based suicide prevention research studies conducted by the Reconnecting Youth Prevention Research Group at the University of Washington. She has been the principle investigator of research funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health that investigated the complexities of partner violence victimization risk factors among young adult women. Her current lines of research and scholarship include adolescent victimization and post-prevention risk and protective factor outcomes as well as mixed methods research. Dr. Tyson has a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of California Los Angeles.