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Yale Psychedelic Science Group

The Yale Psychedelic Science Group (YPSG) was established in January 2016 as a resident interest group and interdisciplinary forum where clinicians and scholars from across Yale can learn about and discuss the rapidly re-emerging field of psychedelic science and therapeutics in an academically rigorous manner. Since its inception, the YPSG has hosted a seminar series featuring leaders in this field from multiple institutions and disciplines. The primary objectives of this forum are to promote critical discussions of scientific research on psychedelics and to encourage sharing of interdisciplinary perspectives during the ensuing discussion period. While our primary focus is on therapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs, our speakers have also presented legal, anthropological, and sociological perspectives on psychedelic science. In parallel, our community has grown over the years to include more than 1000 people representing numerous schools and departments within Yale, other academic institutions, and members of the greater New Haven community.

We endeavor for the YPSG to serve as a hub for scholars and practitioners in this area to network, gain experience presenting, and develop meaningful collaborations. To that end, we also host networking events, journal clubs, and documentary screenings.

Email members of the YPSG Core Leadership Team.

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Yale Psychedelic Science Group Leadership

Elective Courses

The Yale Psychedelic Science Group is proud to offer an 8-week educational course, Psychedelic Medicine: Past, Present, and Future. This elective serves both as an introduction to core topics in this field and as an opportunity to critically explore the scientific, political, and ethical issues that permeate its past, present, and future. The course is primarily a reading seminar focused on participatory group discussions of 2-3 assigned readings per class. It begins with a discussion of indigenous uses of psychedelic plants and early Western research with psychedelic substances. It then explores modern therapeutic applications and proposed mechanisms of action and change. Finally, it examines issues important to the future of the field, including medicalization, equity and access for diverse populations, and potential models for clinical treatment. For more information, please access the course syllabus at the below link:

Psychedelic Research at Yale

NCT02981173: Psilocybin for the Treatment of Cluster Headache

NCT03554174: Psilocybin-Induced Neuroplasticity in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

NCT03356483: Efficacy of Psilocybin in OCD: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study

NCT03752918: The Effects of MDMA on Prefrontal and Amygdala Activation in PTSD

NCT03341689: Psilocybin for the Treatment of Migraine Headache

NCT03806985: Effects of Psilocybin in Post-Traumatic Headache

2022 Speakers and Presentations

August 10, 2022 - Payam Rahimian is a Psychedelic Somatic Internal Family Systems Practitioner who interfaces with various traditional and non-traditional psychedelic compounds in the treatment of trauma and chronic pain.

Title: “Integrative Holistic Ceremonial use of MDMA”

Disclaimer: The Yale Psychedelic Science Group does not endorse the views or practices of Mr Rahimian. An email was sent out to the YPSG community in response to a number of concerns raised by this seminar. The letter can be found here. The YPSG Leadership Team apologizes for any harms caused to any attendees or others.

June 12, 2022 - Janusz Welin is a meditator, teacher, and psychedelic integration coach with over a decade of experience. Janusz is the founder of the Deep Mindfulness Collective and has co-taught with meditation expert Shinzen Young. Janusz has also studied with teachers such as Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, and many others. The YPSG presentation and facilitated discussion covers how meditation and psychedelics can have a symbiotic relationship and how combining the two can catalyze transformation and aid integration of psychedelic experiences.

Title: “Meditation and Psychedelic Experiences”

June 6, 2022 - Simon Ruffell studied medicine at the University of Sheffield before specializing in psychiatry. He completed his core psychiatric training at The Maudsley Hospital in London and worked at King’s College London as a Senior Research Associate investigating the use of psilocybin for treatment resistant depression. Simon has a keen interest in transcultural psychiatry and has worked for a variety of charities overseas. Since 2016 he has conducted research into the traditional psychedelic brew ayahuasca and its effects on mental health based in the Peruvian Amazon and is currently completing his PhD in this based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Simon now works for the Psychae Institute as a Senior Research Fellow, running randomized controlled trials investigating the potential therapeutic application of ayahuasca. In his spare time Simon volunteers for Psycare – a charity offering support to those undergoing challenging drug experiences at music festivals.

Title: “Ayahuasca: From the Jungle to the Lab"

April 14, 2022 - Dr. Cody Wenthur, PharmD, PhD, is a translational investigator in psychopharmacology who has been on the UW–Madison faculty since 2018, following receipt of his PharmD at Purdue University in 2011, his PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt University in 2015, and a post-doctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla. His work is focused on improving our understanding of the basis for beneficial and detrimental effects of opioids, cannabinoids, psychedelics, and other neuroplasticity-inducing approaches in the context of novel therapeutic approaches for promoting and maintaining mental health.

Title: "Polypharmacologic and Extrapharmacologic Modifiers of Long-term Effects of Psychedelics Across Species"

March 24, 2022 - Lucas Richert, BA/MSc/PhD is an Associate Professor at UW-Madison, where he holds the Urdang Chair in Pharmacy History. He is the author of three monographs, including Break On Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture (The MIT Press, 2019). More recently, he co-edited Cannabis: Global Histories (The MIT Press, 2021). He also serves as the Historical Director at the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy.

Title: "Psychedelic Wars: Past, Present, and Future."

February 3, 2022 - Raquel Bennett, PsyD is a psychologist and ketamine specialist from Berkeley, California. She primarily works with people who are living with severe depression, bipolar disorder, and/or suicidal ideation. Dr. Bennett is fascinated by the antidepressant and anti-obsessional properties of ketamine, and has been studying them since 2002. She also has a long-standing interest in the psychedelic and mystical properties of ketamine, and the potential for this medicine to be used for spiritual exploration. Dr. Bennett is the founder of KRIYA Institute and KRIYA Conference, which are both devoted to the use of ketamine in psychiatry and psychotherapy. She has given hundreds of lectures and trained thousands of clinicians worldwide on the safe and legal use of ketamine in clinical practice. You can learn more about her work at:

Title - Expanding Our Understanding of Ketamine in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

February 2, 2022 - Paul Hutson is a pharmacist with a practice on the inpatient palliative care unit at the UW Hospital, and his didactic teaching is in clinical pharmacokinetics, oncology, and psychoactive substances. He holds the Investigational New Drug exemption for psilocybin at the UW, and is a co-investigator on multiple clinical studies of psychoactive drugs at the University of Wisconsin Madison campus. He was PI on the UW psilocybin dose-escalation study. He also serves as a resource in pharmacokinetic study design and modeling for the UW Madison campus through the NIH-funded UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

Title: "From Spores to Fruiting Bodies: The University of Wisconsin Madison Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances"

May 18, 2022 - David Casimir is a patent attorney with Casimir Jones, an intellectual property law firm that specializes in biological and chemical technologies. David has a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, and a law degree from Stanford University. In addition to his legal practice, David teaches at the University of Wisconsin law school and has guest taught courses at the University of Wisconsin business school and the University of Michigan school of pharmacy. David is a board member of the EHE Foundation (a rare cancer organization supporting research and patient services) and the Isthmus Project (a subsidiary of UW Health focused on innovation) and is an advisory board member for the University of Wisconsin Law School Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. David is one of the co-founders of Porta Sophia, a psychedelic prior art library.

Title - Protecting the Integrity of the Psychedelic Patent Landscape