Curriculum vitae | Current research | Pubblications | Conferences and seminars | Other on-line works | Video interview | Italian version

Dr. Roberto Ferrari

Curriculum vitae

Roberto Ferrari (Modena, 1964), was trained as biologist and entomologist. Since his degree in 1988 he is Research Professor at the Department of Evolutionary Experimental Biology – University of Bologna. Social Insects biology and behavior (Isoptera, Rhinothermitidae) is main field of research, both in laboratory and on field, beside organic methods of insect defence; more than 25 scientific publications on Entomology and research experiences in Spain, France, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Camerun, Nigeria, USA. Currently, he is focusing on cognitive ethology and on the emerging proprieties of collective minds, based on the Francisco Varela’s life-mind connection and his enactive approach to mind embodiment. He collaborates with A.S.I.A. Study Centre directed by Franco Bertossa, in a steady confrontation between the scientific research on Mind and Consciousness, Philosophy of Mind as in the Analitic tradition, and the Oriental tradition of experienced research on mind. On this issues he often attends as speaker to congresses and lectures, and publishes on philosophical reviews and collective books.

He has been teaching Hatha Yoga since1993, and meditation since 1997. He has taught for many years at the University Sport Centre of the University of Modena. In 2005 together with other teachers, he founded the Association Asia Modena, a centre for cultural exchange, Yoga practicing, meditation and martial arts. From 2004 to 2009 he has held a teaching collaboration with the University of Urbino-ISIA, for intensive workshops of “Philosophy of the Project”. He collaborates as professor with the Institute ISYCO, in training 2-4 years course for Yoga Teachers offered in collaboration with the Department for Oriental Studies of The University of Torino, where he teaches “Yoga Anathomy”, “Applied Physiology and Yoga” and “Didactics of Yoga”.

His education on the mind-body disciplines began in 1986 at the age of 22, practicing Hatha -Yoga with Giulio di Furia, pupil of Gerard Blitz, pioneer of yoga in Europe. Between 1988 and 1993 he continued practicing and travelling, also staying for long periods of time in the East: in the Ramanashram of Tiruvannamalai, by Ramesh Balsekar in Bombay, by Madre Teresa in Calcutta, by Vimala Takar in Dalhousie and by buddhist monasteries in Zanskar and Nepal. He met several European and American Yoga Teachers, he experienced practicing according to different traditions. Since 1993 he is pupil of Franco Bertossa, master in meditation.
His philosophical education is grounded on the steady research and exchange activity at Asia Study Centre directed by Franco Bertossa. He has taken part in several intensive seminars and courses (mainly summer schools of 4-7 days) in Italy and abroad with:

  • Michel Bitbol (Philosopher e Biophisic, CNRS/CREA Paris) on epistemology and consciousness studies – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011.
  • Henk Barendregt (Matematician, Nimjen University) on buddhist Vipassana meditation – 2008.
  • Giulio Giorello (Philosopher, University of Milano) on Philosophy of Science – 2008.
  • Luigi Perissinotto (Philosopher, University of Venezia) on Wittgenstein and ‘900 philosophy – 2007.
  • Ohashi Ryosuke (Philosopher, Kyoto University) on texts of Maestro Zen Dogen and the Japanese Philosophers of ‘900 of the Kyoto School – 2006, 2007,2010.
  • Ueda Shizuteru (Philosopher of Religions, University of Kyoto) on the buddhist text “Ten images of the man with the ox” – 2006.
  • Tupten Jimpa (Philosopher, McGill University, Montreal) on the texts of Nagarjuna, and on philosophy of Tibetan Buddism – 2004, 2005.
  • James Heisig (Philosopher and priest, Nanzan Institute-Japan) on interreligious dialogue – 2005.
  • Douglas Hofstadter (Cognitive Scientist, Indiana University) on cognitive sciences and self-reference – 2004.
  • Mario Piantelli (Orientalist Philosopher, University of Torino) on philosophy and mystics of India – 2003.
  • Mauro Bergonzi (Philosopher and Psicologist, University of Napoli) on buddhist psicology – 2002.
  • Piergiorgio Odifreddi (Logician, University of Torino) on logic and mathematic – 2001.
  • Stephen Bachelor (Master of meditation and writer, Sharpam College, UK) on buddhism and western culture – 1999.
  • Giangiorgio Pasqualotto (Philosoph, University of Padova), on eastern and western philosophy (1998).
  • Vimala Takar (Philosopher and Master of Meditation, University of Nagpur) on the texts “Bhagavat Gita” and “Ishavasya Upanishad” – 1992.
  • Francisco Varela (Biologist e Neuroscientist, CNRS/CREA Paris) seminar on cognitive sciences at Bologna University – “A know-how for ethic” – 1991.
  • In the same years he attended to several congresses and working groups on interrelation between science, philosophy and spirituality.

At the moment he is attending a Master Degree on Mindfulness and Meditation: Neurosciences and clinical applications in the professions of care, director is Prof. Stefano Pallanti. The Master Course, firstly in Italy, aims at studying the practices of meditation and mindfulness, their neurofunctional correlations and medical applications, as well as educational and therapeutic applications.


Current research

I am interested in exploring the possibilities of deepening the human feeling and the understanding, by means of Yoga practicing and by Meditation. Generally speaking, I’m trying to question the topics of knowledge, suffering and on the meaning of all this.

The most theoretical part of actual researches concerns enactive approach, neurophenomenology, epistemology and comparative oriental-occidental philosophy. The most “lived” one concerns the attendance of the strange and powerful direct experience of “existing here and now”, as indicated by the oriental contemplative tradition and by the mind-body disciplines. In this respect, the teachings of Franco Bertossa who trained me for many years in meditation and who is currently my master, is a continuous reference point.

In the end the main issue is: is it possible that the problem of meaning, experienced in the body – by means of meditation, or exposition to great art, or in instants of insight,- could be lived in a non-pathologic, nihilistic or tragic way, but instead to be embraced by cultural and existential categories which can turn it into a path towards consciousness?

Beside this central core, inner curiosity drives me towards other research fields as

  • Theoretical biology, evolution, zoo-phenomenology: what is the nature of the “living”? what is animal experience? What is evironment and behaviour for the animal subject? What is the essence of the animal living subject? Wich is the meaning of contact in animal life?
  • Systemic Physiology and PNEI (psichoneuroendocrinimmunology); yoga physiology
  • Neuroscience and meditation: neuroplasticity
  • Was Ludwig Wittgenstein buddhist?
  • Ecological crisis and sustainable development: existential ecology.
  • Communication and educational strategies, labs of science and experiences in Universities and High Schools. Mental experiments and relationship with philosophical movies.
  • Ethic of scientific experiments on sentient being and animal rights
  • Death and dying attendance



Poletti S., Palazzo N., Siberini S., Ferrari R. (2018) Existential Trajectories of Buddhist Teachers: from a search of meaning to challenging worldview, poster Trends in Mindfulness 2018 “From modeling consciousness to rethinking dissociative and psychotic mental states, Turin University, 9-10th November 2018.

Ferrari R., Zini E. , Prampolini N. , Poletti S., Iemmolo R.M., Bosco G., Zini D. (2017) Hatha Yoga e Mindfuness per pazienti affetti da Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare: sicurezza ed efficacia di intervento in ambiente ospedaliero, Atti  9° Convegno Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare, con il Patrocinio SISDCA, 15 Giugno 2017, Aula Magna Università Di Modena e Reggio Emilia.

Ferrari R., Ricchieri M.P. (2016) Mindfulness y sufrimiento por el hecho de exixtir: Por qué la meditaciòn con casos clinicos funciona y por qué puede ser un riesgo? pubblicato in: Meditaciòn, Mindfulness y Psicoterapia. Ensayos sobre el sufrimiento, la sànacion y el despertar. Editors Ricardo Pulido y Edgardo Thumala, JC Sàez Editor SpA, Santiago. Versione in Italiano: Mindfulness e sofferenza della condizione. Perché la meditazione con casi clinici funziona, e perché può essere un rischio. 

Maur M, Guida A, Ricchieri M, Caggia F, Pontoni G, Poletti S, Gavioli F, Fontana A, Tarantino V, Cascinu S, Ferrari R, (2016) Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in cancer patients: prospective single-centre case-control study (MIND4ME study), Poster XVIII Congresso Nazionale AIOM Associazione Italiana Oncologia Medica, Roma28-30 Ottobre 2016.

G. Sgalla, S. Cerri, R. Ferrari, M.P. Ricchieri, S. Poletti, M. Ori, M. Garuti, G Montanari, F.Luppi, K. Petropulacos, L. Richeldi (2015) Mindfulness-based stress reduction in patients with interstitial lung diseases: a pilot, single-centre observational study on safety and efficacy, BMJ Open Resp Res 2015;2:e000065 doi:10.1136/bmjresp-2014-000065

Ferrari R., Pulido M.R. (2012), L’esperienza animale del contatto. Zoofenomenologia dell’istante presente e addestramento meditativo, ATQUE-materiali tra filosofia e psicoterapia, 2/2012.

Ferrari R. (2011), Sfere invisibili. Dentro gli habitat degli animali, Catalogo della mostra curata presso il Museo della Figurina di Modena, nell’ambito del Festival Filosofia 2011, Edizioni Franco Cosimo Panini

Bertossa F., Besa M., Ferrari R., Ferri F. (2008), Punto Zero: un’indagine fenomenologica nel luogo della coscienza, in “Perceptual and Motor Skills”, 2008, 107, 323-335.

Chia B., Bertossa F., Teneggi C., Ferrari R., Valentini I.(2007), Il Progetto Cosciente. Un’esperienza didattica, in “Progetto Grafico”, 10, 28-58.

Ferrari R., Ricardo P., Ferri F. (2006), Menti connettive e produzione di mondi negli Insetti sociali. Un modello per  l’esperienza cosciente? In “Dedalus”, 1, 27-39.

Bertossa F., Ferrari R., (2006), Meditazione di presenza mentale per le scienze cognitive. Pratica del corpo e metodo in prima persona, capitolo in libro “Neurofenomenologia” a cura di M.Cappuccio, Bruno Mondatori, Milano.

Ferrari, R. (2006) Scienze della coscienza e pratica fenomenologica: strumenti e metodi tra occidente e oriente, in “Biblioteca husserliana. Rivista di fenomenologia” ALIAS “Che cosa significa ‘studiare la coscienza’ Intervista a Roberto Ferrari.”

Bertossa F., Ferrari R., (2005), “Lo sguardo senza occhio. Esperimenti sulla mente cosciente tra scienza e meditazione“, Alboversorio, Milano.

Bertossa F., Ferrari R., (2004) Un approccio buddhista alle scienze cognitive Filosofia sperimentale e pratica del corpo, su Chora n. 9, pp. 19-25

Bertossa F., Ferrari R., Besa M. (2004), Matrici senza uscita. Circolarità della conoscenza oggettiva e prospettiva buddhista, in Dentro la matrice pp. 117-128, a cura di Cappuccio M., Alboversorio, Milano.

Bertossa F., Ferrari R. (2002), Cervello e autocoscienza. La mente tra neuroscienze e fenomenologia, in “Rivista di Estetica”, 21, n.s., 3/2002, anno XLII. Sito Centro Studi Asia- Sezione scienze cognitive e filosofia.



Speeches on invitation at conferences and seminars


– Convegno “Mindfulness: Prospettive di Ricerca Clinica e Cura di sé”, Modena, 23 novembre 2018. Intervento: “Coltivare la Mindfulness tra i Professionisti della salute: Studi Pilota” (R. Ferrari).

– Asia Vacances de L’Esprit, 14-21 Luglio 2018, Anterselva, Seminario: Galileo in  Tibet (Bertossa F., Pendenza P. Ferrari R.)


– Advanced Algology Research, Masterclass Medicina del Dolore 2017-18, “Il dolore cronico, dalla Neuromatrix alla gestione clinica”,  Ferrara 19 Novembre 2017: Mindfulness: tra neuroscienze, psicologia e filosofia orientale (R.Ferrari, S.Poletti)

– Nous, Scuola di Specializzazione in Psicoterapia Cognitivo-Costruttivista, Milano, 11 Novembre 2017: Seminario su Francisco J. Varela in rapporto a Vittorio Guidano (Ferrari R.).

– Asia Vacances de L’Esprit, 15-22 Luglio 2017, Anterselva, Seminario: Galileo in  Tibet (Bertossa F., Pendenza P. Ferrari R.)

– Asia Vacances de L’Esprit, 5 marzo 2017, Bologna, Seminario: Darwin, l’incanto tragico della vita (Ferrari R.)

– Associazione Asia Modena, Rassegna “A cosa mi educherai?”,  Modena 11 febbraio 2017, Mindfulness al Liceo, una ricerca sul campo (R. Ferrari, S. Poletti, A. Ielli)


– Nous, Scuola di Specializzazione in Psicoterapia Cognitivo-Costruttivista – Milano, 2 Luglio 2016. Seminario di presentazione della ricerca scientifica di Francisco J. Varela, le teorie del costruttivismo in biologia e la loro relazione con lo studio della mente (R. Ferrari R.).

– 2nd International Conference on Mindfulness, Roma Università La Sapienza, 11-15 maggio 2016. Interventi: Animal experience and contemplative practices (R. Ferrari); Three compared MBSR application in hospital clinic (R. Ferrari, M.P. Ricchieri, S. Poletti et al.); MBSR Program with Psychiatrich health professionals: a pre-post controlled study (R. Ferrari, M.P. Ricchieri, S. Poletti et al.).

– Asia Vacances de L’Esprit, 3 aprile 2016, Bologna, Seminario: Habitat animali. Azione e produzione di mondi (Ferrari R.)


– Asia Vacances de L’Esprit, 19 aprile 2015, Bologna, Seminario: Cosa è la vita? Tra machine biochimiche ed esseri senzienti (Ferrari R.)

– Convegno “Mindfulness, educazione e cura”, Borgo Val Sugana, Trento, 22-24 ottobre 2015. Intervento: Perché la mindfuness funziona. Un metodo una pratica una cura, ma a cosa? (R. Ferrari, S. Poletti).

– Convegno “Mindfulness. Il cielo della mente: la meditazione nella scienza, nella cura, nella ricerca”, Modena, 20 novembre 2015. Intervento: “Studi clinici di mindfulness in ospedale” (R. Ferrari).

– University of Padova, Department of Psychology – 9 April 2014. Workshop: Nuovi paradigmi della conoscenza tra fisica e biologia. Un seminario dialogico (R. Ferrari, P. Pendenza)

– Padova-Milano, 18-21 March 2014. Workshop “Mindfullness-mania”. Talk: Inquieta-mente, tra memoria e profezia. Perchè la mindfulness funziona e perchè può essere anche un rischio (R. Ferrari, G. Pagnoni)

– Modena, 1 March 2014. Workshop on Rare disease Day. Talk: Meditare in ospedale. Impatto di un programma di Mindfulness MBSR sulla qualità della vita di pazienti con Fibrosi Polmonare (R. Ferrari, M.P. Ricchieri, S. Poletti et al.) link

– École Normale Supérieure, Paris – 25 May 2013. Groupe de Travail des Archives Husserl de Philosophie et Phénoménologie de l’Animalité. Workshop “The animal experience of contact. Zooohenomenology of the present moment” (R. Ferrari). link

University of Padova – 10-12 July 2012. Workshop “Neuroriductions: possibilities and limitations”. Talk: Animal Experience. Zoo-phenomenology and meditation training ( Ferrari R.)

– University A.Hurtado of Santiago of Chile – 13-14 December 2011. International congress with F. Bertossa and M. Bitbol, “A las raíces de la experiencia consciente; entre fenomenología, ciencia y meditación”. Speach: The problem of consciousness in the light of the life and works of Francisco Varela (Ferrari R., Pulido R.). link

– Università di Bologna, Aula Magna via S. Filippo Re – 16 March 2011. Workshop “Neuro-mania: debite on limitation of neuro-reductions”.Talk: Neuroimaging and ongoing lived experience (Ferrari R.)

– Council of Modena, Library A.Delfini, Conferences on biodiversity. 11 June 2010, Speech on: Co-interdependency in Oceanic Islands and lived experience of finiteness (Ferrari R.).

– CREA/CNRS Ecole Polytecnique de Paris, Colloques “Ecology in the first person”, 6 April 2010. Invited paper: Co-interdependency in Oceanic Islands and lived experience of finiteness (Ferrari R.). link

– Asia Vacances de L’Esprit, 5-8 December 2009, Riolo Terme, Workshop: Darwinismo, biologia teorica ed esperienza. Qual è la natura del vivente? (Ferrari R.)

– University of Modena-ReggioEmilia, Dep. Animal Biology, 22 May 2009, Course “Molecular Biology of wellness”. Speech on: Meditation and wellness: aim or collateral effect? (Ferrari R.).

– University of Urbino ISIA, 2 February 2009, Conference on “The sustainable Project”. Speech on: The sustainable island. What project on the years of ecological crisis? (Ferrari R.).

– CESIPc, School of cognitive therapy of constructivistic orientation, Florence 13 June 2008, Conference on Constructivism and Human Sciences: the cultural, social and spiritual dimension. Speech on: the spiritual dimension. Construction and deconstruction of meaning between co-determination and flashes of vacuity (Ferrari R.)

– Council of Meran (Bz), 29 March 2008, Seminar “At the centre of the mind. Science and philospphy study the consciousness ” (Ferrari R., Teneggi C.)

– University of Bologna, Faculty of Medicine, 19 February 2008, Seminar “Experiments on animals and medical science”. Speech on: Animals as sentient being. Philosophy and biology of feeling. (Ferrari R.)

– Paris Ecole Polytechnique CREA/CNRS, 13 March 2007, Seminar Consciousness Studies. (Bertossa F., Benfenati B., Teneggi C., Ferrari R., Ferri F.).

– University of Studies of Milan, 4 October 2006. Conference Trascendentalism and naturalization . On the tracks of Neurophenomenology of Francisco Varela. Speech on: Meditation: lived self-reference. (Bertossa F., Ferrari R.)

– Loiano, Palace Loup, 24 June-1 July 2006. International Workshop “Primordial Questions about Consciousness”. Speech on: Point zero. A seat for conscious experience (Bertossa F., Besa M., Ferrari R.).

– University of Urbino ISIA, Years 2005-2006-2007-2008, Intensive seminars “Phenomenology of Project. The conscious project ” (Chia B., Teneggi C., Ferrari R., Valentini I.)

– University of Studies of Milan, 27 May 2005, seminar ASTUFILO Neuroscience and Phenomenology. Speech on: a buddist approach to Cognitive Sciences. Sperimental Philosophy in the stillness of the body (Ferrari R.).

– Council of Modena, Library A.Delfini, 2-3 March 2002, Conferences on Science and Meditation. Speech on: Brain and self-counsciousness (Ferrari R.).


Other on-line works (in Italian)

Ferrari R. (2015) X-Dna e la vita che non esiste. Un esperimento genetico ed un esperimento mentale di biofilosofia. Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2013), Phi.mind – I Filosofi della Mente anti-riduzionisti 23 articoli su scienze cognitive e consciousness studies, sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2012), Darwinismo esistenziale Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2011), Neuro-immagini ed esperienza vivente in atto, intervento al seminario “Neuromania”, Università di Bologna 16 marzo 2011. Sito Centro Studi Asia
English version: Neuro-images and lived on-going experience, presented at the conference “Neuro-mania”, Bologna University, 16 March 2011.

Ferrari R. (2011), Verso un progettare consapevole. Comunicare e costruire in prima e terza persona: che significa? (I parte) (II Parte) – Sito Centro Studi Asia.

Ferrari R. (2010), Wittgenstein e il buddhismo. Appunti sulla domanda di senso, Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2009), La morte estranea. Come rapportarsi con il limite?, Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2004), Perché non possiamo non dirci Nichilisti. Sintomi occidentali e terapie buddiste, ASIA a.m.v.a.i., n. 24, 5-7. Sito Centro Studi Asia
English version: Why we are nihilists in the end

Ferrari R. (2004), The Matrix, Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2003), Evoluzione per niente? Appunti per una biologia esperienziale, Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (2000), Biologia e Metabiologia. Io sono il mio cervello?, Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (1999), Tecnologia e tedio. Tempo pieno e tempo vuoto di significato, Sito Centro Studi Asia

Ferrari R. (1998), Schönberg: la Musica invece del silenzio, il silenzio invece che nulla. In sito Centro Studi Asia


Video interview (in english and italian)

With philosophers and scientists (on mind, consciousness, meaning, feeling, cognition, meditation, ethics, East and West…)