Traditional Medicine Society Seminar, MIT

EAST meets WEST, May 7, 2010. Divergence and Reunion of Eastern and Western medicine. The following event was hosted by the MIT Traditional Medicine Society.



Shigehisa Kuriyama, Ph.D., Professor of Cultural History, Harvard Dpt. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Dr. Shigehisa Kuriyama is the author of “The expressiveness of the body and the divergence of Greek and Chinese medicine” (ZONE Books, 1999). His research explores broad philosophical issues (being and time, language and experience, curiosity and desire) through the lens of specific topics in comparative cultural history. He is now working chiefly on two projects. One is a history of the notion and experience of tension, an examination of how tension, which was long considered a virtue-the proof of vitality and presence in the world- became a modern pathology, a mark of anxiety, and the root of all manners of illness. The other project spotlights the relationship between money and the body, and explores how the transformations in social relations caused by the spread of the money economy in the Edo period affected not just medical theory and practice, but also the intimate experience of pain and sickness. Since joining the Harvard faculty in 2005, he has been active in promoting exploration of new media in teaching and scholarly communication.


Vitaly Napadow, Ph.D., Lic.Ac., Assistant Professor, Dpt. of Radiology, Harvard Medical School / MGH.

Dr. Vitaly Napadow is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Vitaly is also adjunct faculty at Logan College of Chiropractic. He received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Vitaly also graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) with a master’s degree, and practices acupuncture at Brigham & Women’s Hospital Pain Management Center in Boston. His research interests focus on the processing of acupuncture by the brain, and the mechanisms underlying acupuncture efficacy for various disease states including chronic pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.


V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., Lecturer, Dept. of Biological Engineering, MIT.

Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai is a Fulbright Scholar in Traditional Medicines and Systems Biology, Lemelson-MIT Awards finalist for Innovation, and Westinghouse Honors Winner for creating the world’s first E-Mail System and holds four degrees from MIT. His bachelors is in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, dual masters in Mechanical Engineering and Visual Studies from the MIT Media Laboratory. His PhD is in Systems Biology from the Department of Biological Engineering, where he developed Cytosolve, a scalable computational platform for dynamic integration of molecular pathways models. Since the age of 5, Dr. Ayyadurai was intrigued by medicine as he observed his grandmother, a farmer and healer, in the small village of Muhavur in South India, apply Siddha to heal and support local villagers. Those early experiences drove him to pursue modern Western science and technology and Eastern medicine with the aim of becoming a scientist and healer. Over the last three decades, his formal Western research and study focused on developing new systems for pattern analysis across multiple disciplines. In parallel, he trained in many Eastern modalities including various forms of Yoga, Meditation, Nutritional and Herbal Medicines, learning from esteemed sages and masters in the oral tradition. Today, Dr. Ayyadurai, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Engineering, and Executive Director of the International Center for Integrative Systems located in Cambridge, is passionate about integrating both Eastern and Western Systems of Medicine to create a new Convergent Medicine.


Dr. Florian Pfab, M.D. Ph.D., is a visiting associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He is a specialist in acupuncture, dermatology, and allergology; he teaches the latter two at the Technische Universität in Munich, Germany. Dr. Pfab also teaches acupuncture at the German Society of Acupuncture, the Medical Association of the State Bavaria, Germany, at the University of Munich and the University of Regensburg, Germany. He is the official acupuncturist of FC Bayern Munich (German 1st division soccer team) and the physician of FC Ingolstadt (German 2nd division soccer team).


Panel Discussion

Prof. Shigehisa Kuriyama

Historic Evolution of Western and Eastern Medicine

Prof. Vitaly Napadow

Application of Biomedical Research Approach to Study Ancient Medicine

Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai

The integration of Eastern and Western medicine both from a biological, computational and modeling perspective Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine (SIDDHA and AYURVEDA) Commonalities & Differences between the Indian systems and TCM and others

Dr. Florian Pfab

Integrating Western and Eastern Medicine from Clinical Perspective