Al is an emeritus professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona. He formerly served as Head of the Psychology Department, and as Director of the UA Center for Consciousness Studies. Al also previously served as Chief Academic Officer for the Mind and Life Institute, an organization dedicated to the dialog between Western science and contemplative traditions. Al is a long-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism, in which he took lay ordination and received dharma transmission as a teacher (Sensei) in the White Plum Asanga tradition of Zen. He is a member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association. In addition to his service as teacher (Sensei) for the Upaya Zen Sangha of Tucson, upayatucson.org, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Upaya Zen Center and Institute in Santa Fe, NM.
He is the co-author or editor of seven books, including the three-volume Toward a Science of Consciousness (MIT Press), and Emotions, Qualia, and Consciousness (World Scientific). His research, focused on the neuropsychology of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders, consciousness, memory self-monitoring, emotion, the psychophysiology of long-term and short-term meditation, and contemplative pedagogy, has been published in over 165 journal articles and scholarly book chapters.