Mark Holder, Ph.D., earned his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley and completed his postdoctoral training at the Brain Research Institute at UCLA where he conducted brain transplants to reverse impairments caused by brain injuries. As a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, he studied how eating chocolate chip cookies could decrease pain. He worked as a Biological Consultant with the NutraSweet Company to determine whether aspartame is safe for pregnant mothers and their offspring. He also spent a research sabbatical at the University of Hawaii swimming with dolphins in studies of their language and creativity.
Holder is now an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he studies the science of happiness. He has authored more than 80 scientific publications and leads a research team that is identifying factors (e.g., spirituality and personality) that contribute to happiness in vulnerable populations including children, people living in challenging regions of the world (e.g., Zambia and Northern India), and people with personality disorders (e.g., psychopathy), emotional processing disorders (e.g., alexithymia) and acquired brain injury. His team is also investigating strategies to enhance happiness in adults through experiences with nature and changing their implicit theories of well-being.
Holder’s active speaking career has taken him around the world for keynotes at international conferences and engagements on cruise ships. He is also the Chief Research Officer at Perked! which is developing a mobile app to assess and promote well-being and corporate culture.
But he only does all this when it doesn’t interfere with his mountain biking.