Bob Cohen (Brahmatirtha), Executive Director

Bob was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1949, completed his B.S. in Chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971, and received his M.S. in Geology from Rutgers University in 1975. After a twenty-year career serving as a geologist and vice-president of a large regional environmental company, he currently works as an environmental consultant to state governments. He has been a member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute since the inception in 1976, giving a presentation at their First International Conference on Life Comes from Life in 1977, and working on a multitude of projects with R.L. Thompson (Sadaputa) from 1995 through 2008.  He is also a certified court mediator. He now serves as the Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies.

Jonathan Banks, Managing Director, Editor-in-Chief

Jonathan was born in Boston, MA in 1977. He is a geo-scientist, educator, aspiring bhakta and fledgling karateka.  Jonathan has a B.A. and an M.S.T (Master’s of Science Teaching) from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, as well as a Doctorate in Natural Sciences (Dr. rer nat) from the Freie Universität Berlin in Berlin, Germany. His doctoral work involved field work, laboratory experiments and numerical modelling of the thermodynamics, hydrogeology, and geochemistry of fluid/rock interactions in geothermal systems.  He knows a lot about geology and, given half a chance, will talk your ear off about it all day.  Jonathan is currently employed as the Director of Geothermal Energy Research at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta; Canada. In 2019, he accepted the service of Director of Operations for the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies in Gainesville, FL.  In his spare time, Jonathan likes to chant japa, practice traditional Okinawan martial arts, play Dungeons and Dragons, hike, ski, listen to the Grateful Dead, read books, eat, sleep, and defend against mating.

Prishni Sutton; Secretary/Treasurer

Prishni was born in Born 1950 in Urbana IL. She graduated in 1971 with a double-major BA in Mathematics and Chemistry, from the University of Illinois. She joined Iskcon in 1974.  Since 2014 she has been the archivist for the archivist for the Richard L. Thompson Archives, and she has been the Secretary/Treasurer for Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies since its formation in 2015.

Tomas Chapa, Strategic Planning Director

Tomas has studied BI issues for decades working hand in hand with Dr. Thompson as his confident and advisor. He is the leader for the BI Consciousness project. 

Akandadhi das; Researcher, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium Liaison

Martin was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1954 and studied architecture at Bristol University. In 1975 he entered an ashram in the UK to study Vedanta philosophy and took monastic vows. He served as Principal of Bhaktivedanta Manor theological college from 1982-1995. He has served on the Central Religious Advisory Board for the BBC and has been a regular contributor on BBC since 1989. As an original committee member of Inter-faith Network, he served on the working committee producing guidelines on proselytising and promotion of faith. Since its acquisition in 1996, he has been the director of Buckland Hall, Wales, an open venue for spiritual, philosophical and personal development and training. Currently he is also involved as a trustee of the Hindu Educational Authority, which presently oversees seven Hindu-faith schools and academies in London and Midlands; as a founder-member of the Science and Philosophy Initiative, a multi-disciplinary association exploring the issues of consciousness & physical systems principally in neuroscience, biology & physics as well as the related issues of ethics, applications & technology; and as a member of Faith & AI, a think-tank consultation on the issues of AI in society. His specialised area of interest is the nature of consciousness.

Mauricio Garrido (Murali Gopal); Researcher, Author, Teacher

Mauricio was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1979, graduated from the Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and in Physics in 2003. He earned a black belt in Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Ohio University, has served an internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, completed a postdoc at Columbia University, and has taught Sanskrit at the University of Florida. In 2006, he began exploring the teachings of Bhakti yoga in Gaudiya Vaishnavism and in 2011, he entered the monastic order at The Bhakti Center, located in New York City, where he later became ordained as a monk.  As a member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies (BIHS) since 2015, he develops courses on Bhakti and Science, including Vedic concepts of cosmography, consciousness, and physics. He has presented at universities and international conferences. Dr. Garrido's present research includes Puranic cosmology, Vaisnava philosophy, quantum field  and information theory, general relativity, consciousness studies, and the philosophy of mind.

Ryan Bissett was born in London, United Kingdom, in 1983. He graduated from Imperial College London with a BSc in Biology in 2004. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Parasitology from Glasgow University. Between 2005-2009, he worked within the biotechnology industry, covering the fields of immunology and stem cell research. In 2014, he began exploring the teachings of Bhakti-yoga in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. In 2017 he helped to found the Science and Philosophy Initiative - a multi-disciplinary association exploring the questions of consciousness and physical systems, principally in neuroscience, biology and physics. His current research interests are centred around molecular biology and the history & philosophy of biology.

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