My Body Odyssey Experts

MBO interviews a wide range of experts in the fields of science, medicine, health and wellness for insight into the odysseys of our protagonists – average people facing above-average health challenges and doing exceptional things to stay healthy and active.

David Putrino, PhD

David Putrino, PhD


MBO gained invaluable insight about combating post-viral illnesses, including Long COVID, by talking to Dr. David Putrino. A physical therapist with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The University of Western Australia, Putrino began his career as a clinician in Australia, then moved to the United States to study computational neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, MIT, and NYU. He now serves as the Director of Rehabilitation Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System and is an Assistant professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine. Dr. Putrino and his team develop innovative technology solutions for individuals in need of healthcare access and are on the front lines of a multi-disciplinary effort to find effective treatments for the complex, debilitating condition of Long COVID

Esther Gokhale

Esther Gokhale


Esther Gokhale is the founder of the Esther Gokhale Wellness Center, a licensed acupuncturist, and the creator of the “Gokhale Method”: a unique, systematic approach to help people find their bodies’ way back to pain-free living through correcting their posture. Studying biochemistry at Harvard and Princeton, then acupuncture at the San Francisco School of Oriental Medicine, Gokhale went on to develop the Gokhale Method upon experiencing debilitating back pain during pregnancy. Her book “8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back” has sold over 300,000 copies and has been translated into ten languages. The Gokhale Method continues to grow as dozens of qualified teachers, each personally trained by Gokhale, now teach the method worldwide. Gokhale has taught at corporations such as Google, IDEO, and Facebook, presented at conferences including TEDxStanford and Ancestral Health Symposium, consulted for the trainers of the SF 49ers and several Stanford sports teams, and conducted workshops for physician groups at Stanford, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, PAMF, and UCSF. The New York Times gave Gokhale the title “The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley” in 2013.

D.J. Kennedy, MD


An expert guest on our Gokhale Method episode, Dr. D.J. Kennedy is a professor and the chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where his practice specializes in non-operative and interventional spinal rehabilitation. His research focuses on the safety and efficacy of interventional spine procedures, and he has published studies in Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, and The Spine Journal.  Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Kennedy was a professor of physical medicine at Stanford Medical School, where first learned of the Gokhale Method. Kennedy trained in the method himself, then began recommending it and observing impressive results. “I am always looking for whatever can work for my patients,“ Kennedy told us. “I realize there’s not one magic cure for back pain. If there was, we would not have back problems.” Kennedy has a strong background in the biomechanics of sports and exercise. Before becoming a doctor, he was a strength and conditioning coach for Florida State University’s football program. He has also served as a physician for ultramarathon events in such challenging environments as Nepal, Antarctica, and the Sahara, Atacama, and Gobi deserts.

Steven Phillips, MD


A world-renowned expert on Lyme and other vector-borne diseases,  Dr. Steven Phillips provides expert commentary on our opening season two episode, The Steep Climb of Chronic Lyme. Dr. Phillips has treated over 20,000 patients from over 20 countries and published extensively in peer-reviewed medical literature. Dr. Phillips has also co-written the general interest book, Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Epidemic and How to Get Healthy Again, which details his own harrowing experience with Lyme disease and his decades long efforts to fully understand/effectively treat the condition.  A Yale-trained MD, he has served as an expert for the states of CT, NY, RI, and VT, and also provided expert testimony at the Infectious Diseases Society of America hearing in Washington, D.C. in 2009. He is currently spearheading a development effort toward more effective drug treatments for Lyme and associated infections.

Michele Kerulis, EdD, a My Body Odyssey expert gues

Michele Kerulis, EdD


Dr. Michele Kerulis is an associate professor at the Family Institute at Northwestern University where she specializes in general mental health, sport & exercise, and lifestyle & wellness. Her years of experience as an athlete, fitness professional, and therapist have created the foundation for her belief that the skills necessary to achieve success in sport and performance are the same skills necessary to achieve excellence in life- and that finding a healthy balance is what it’s all about. Starting her early career as a fitness instructor, Dr. Kerulis went on to develop a Chicago-based graduate master’s program in counseling with a specialty in sport & health psychology where her students were eligible for clinical licensure in IL and certified through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and the National Board for Certified Counselors. Dr. Kerulis is certified through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. Kerulis has appeared on media outlets such as ABC Chicago, CBS New York, Miami, & Chicago, WGN Chicago, and TMZ. She is featured in our Post-Ultimate Mark episode as an expert voice on how pushing oneself is a healthy thing- but pushing too hard can be just as bad as not pushing at all.

Mohamad Bydon, MD


Dr. Bydon is a neurosurgeon who is fellowship-trained in complex spinal surgery and spinal oncology. As a neurosurgeon and clinician-scientist, Dr. Bydon is Principal Investigator of the Mayo Clinic Neuro-Informatics Laboratory. The lab is focused on data analytics, patient safety, surgical outcomes, and novel therapeutic treatments for spine disease. Dr. Bydon is also Medical Director of the Mayo Clinic Neurosurgical Registry, a database focused on improving outcomes and safety for patients. Dr. Bydon helped MBO better understand the enormous potential benefits and the not insignificant risks involved in neurosurgery, both in the operating room and in the rehab process. Dr. Bydon’s own body odyssey involves playing tennis and going on walks with his family in their home in Rochester, Minnesota.

My Body Odyssey guest expert Jeffrey Sparks, MD, MMSc

Jeffrey Sparks, MD, MMSc


Jeffrey A. Sparks is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas, and completed residency in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. Following residency, he completed a fellowship in rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He received a Master of Medical Sciences degree in patient-oriented research from Harvard Medical School.

My Body Odyssey guest expert Jacob Meyer, PhD

Jacob Meyer, PhD


Dr. Meyer is focused on understanding and translating the powerful mental health effects of exercise and movement. Originally from Madison, WI, he completed his B.S. at St. Olaf College before completing his Master’s degree, PhD, and a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the faculty at ISU in the fall of 2017 and currently performs research that looks at (1) how to integrate exercise into the care and treatment of people suffering from mental health conditions and (2) how the time people spend sedentary influences their mood and wellbeing, and what we might be able to do to change sedentary time.

Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH

Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH


Dr. Kathryn Schmitz is a leading researcher in exercise oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Schmitz’s research focuses on people living with and beyond cancer and investigates the role exercise in improving physiologic and psychosocial outcomes including symptoms, treatment tolerance, and other chronic diseases. Dr. Schmitz is also the author of Moving Through Cancer, an exercise and strength-training program for cancer survivors.

Lisa Lowe, DPT

Lisa Lowe, DPT


Lisa Lowe is a Doctor of Physical Therapy in the Boston area. Lisa has a background in long distance running, triathlons and rowing. She competed in women’s rowing at Ithaca College during her undergraduate years, moved to Boston for Riverside Boat Club’s High Performance program, and currently rows with Community Rowing Inc. within their Para-Rowing program. Lisa also volunteers as a member of the PT support for the US Para-National team athletes at CRI. As a rower and rehab professional she wants to help others find their balance and empower them to truly be able to focus on their training with less derailment from injury.

Kristine A Carlson, MD

Kristine A. Karlson, MD


Kristine Karlson MD is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Connecticut Medical School, where she also completed a family medicine residency. After a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Michigan, she moved to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in 1997, where she currently serves as the section chief for Family Medicine as well as director of the Sports Concussion Program. She competed in the 1992 Olympics in rowing and continues to travel with the US national rowing team, including serving as a team physician to the 2008 US Olympic team. She and her husband Dave can be found Nordic skiing or cycling, depending on the season.

My Body Odyssey guest expert Mark Stoutenberg, PhD, MSPH

Mark Stoutenberg, PhD, MSPH


Dr. Stoutenberg grew up playing (American) football and later became part of a US D1 college coaching team. He earned his PhD in Exercise Physiology (2008) and Master of Science in Public Health (2011) from the University of Miami. Dr. Stoutenberg’s current research examines how health systems can better connect their patients to existing community resources to increase physical activity levels, improve dietary habits, and reduce the incidence of obesity and chronic disease, with a specific focus on enhancing clinical-community linkages in populations experiencing racial, ethnic, or geographic disparities.

My Body Odyssey guest expert Shoshana Bennett, PhD

Shoshana Bennett, PhD


Dr. Shosh is a pioneer in the field. She is a survivor of two life-threatening postpartum depressions. She founded Postpartum Assistance for Mothers in 1987, and is a former president of Postpartum Support International. Dr. Shosh helped develop the official Postpartum Support International training curriculum for professionals which is now considered the gold standard in the field. As a noted guest lecturer and keynote speaker, she travels throughout the US and abroad, training medical and mental health professionals to assess and treat postpartum depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. She earned three teaching credentials, two master’s degrees, a Ph.D. and is licensed as a clinical psychologist.

My Body Odyssey guest expert John Wee, MD

John Wee, MD


Dr. Jon Wee is the Esophageal Surgery Section Chief, Director of Robotics in Thoracic Surgery, and co-Director of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also an Associate Program Director for Thoracic Surgery and is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Wee received his medical degree from the Duke University School of Medicine and completed his surgical training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He then went on to complete his cardiothoracic surgery training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery.

My Body Odyssey guest expert Divya Muthappa, MD

Divya Muthappa, MD


Coming from a family of physicians, Dr. Muthappa always knew she would be a doctor. As a young adult, she shadowed her father, a general surgeon, and attended Tufts University, graduating with a double major in biology and environmental studies, and a minor in dance. These early experiences sparked her passion for medicine, which she continued to grow while studying at St. George’s School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. After earning her MD, Dr. Muthappa found her way to Philadelphia, and at Drexel University College of Medicine she began to focus on internal medicine. After her residency at Hahnemann University Hospital, Dr. Muthappa opened Health Choice, a primary and internal medicine office in Texas along with her husband, Dr. Aria Dayani.

My Body Odyssey guest Michael Riddell, PhD

Michael Riddell, PhD


MBO learned an enormous amount about the balancing act which is diabetes from Dr. Riddell, himself a Type One Diabetic and avid athlete. Riddell’s team of students and fellows is advancing new therapeutic approaches and technologies that will enable people living with diabetes to exhibit better metabolic control. He is helping to develop an “exercise-smart” artificial pancreas for active people living with type 1 diabetes, and also helps establish community-based sport programs, like the Dskate Hockey Program, that translate research findings to families of children living with type 1 diabetes. He is considered the international authority on exercise and stress hormones and how they affect diabetes metabolism.

Dr. Mary A. O'Neal

Mary O’Neal, MD


Dr. O’Neal is an expert in Women’s Neurology. She is the Director of the Women’s Neurology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She’s written multiple papers on this subject and edited several books including: the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Continuum edition of “Neurological Illness in Pregnancy”, “Women’s Neurology- what do I do now?”, the Neurologic Clinics edition on the “Neurology of Pregnancy” and “Neurology and Psychiatry of Women: A Guide to Gender-based Issues in Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment”. She also directs a Harvard Medical School course in Women’s Neurology and Psychiatry and for many years directed the Neurology of Pregnancy course at the AAN.