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Yale Psychedelic Science Group

The Yale Psychedelic Science Group (YPSG) was established in January 2016 as a 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 numerous 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. While our primary focus is on therapeutic applications of psychedelics, we have also hosted seminars and presentations addressing legal, anthropological, and sociological perspectives. Additionally, YPSG is committed to being a forum for difficult discussions about how the field of psychedelic science has been part of and contributed to white supremacy culture, and how the psychedelic science community can help combat racism and other forms of injustice.

YPSG endeavors to serve as a hub for scholars and practitioners in the field of psychedelic science to network, gain experience presenting, and develop meaningful collaborations. To that end, we also host networking events, journal clubs, and documentary screenings. Over the years, our community has grown to include more than 500 people representing numerous schools and departments within Yale, other academic institutions, and members of the greater New Haven community. Several members of the YPSG have begun conducting clinical and mechanistic research studies with psychedelics (see research section below), and we expect that the YPSG will continue to foster the development of novel intra- and extramural research collaborations.

Members of the YPSG organizing committee can be reached at yalepsg@gmail.com. You may subscribe, unsubscribe or edit your subscription to the YPSG email listserv by visiting https://mailman.yale.edu/mailman/listinfo/yalepsych

Upcoming Events

To be announced soon. Please sign up for our mailing list to receive up to date information about future speakers.

Seminars

2021

November 30, 2021 - Ian Benouis is a West Point graduate, former US Army officer and Blackhawk helicopter pilot who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. He is the General Counsel for the Mission Within. He has been working with veterans and earth medicines over seven years and has taken veterans to Peru and Mexico for healing.

Jesse Gould is a former Army Ranger and founder of Heroic Hearts Project which connects military veterans to psychedelic treatment options. Jesse has been working in this space for nearly five years and has led numerous veterans to life-saving healing all over the world. Heroic Hearts Project has worked with numerous universities to forward our understanding of psychedelics and has been involved with policy change on state and federal levels.

Mike O’Dowd spent over nine years in Naval Special Warfare with extensive combat operations experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served as a JTAC, Intelligence Analyst, Lead Breacher, Communications Specialist and various other qualifications for his team. He spent his last three years in the Navy teaching combat shooting and helping to develop the modern-day Combatives program at the Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS). He has an MBA from University of California, San Diego and a Bachelors from Boston University. Mike now consults with Field Trip Health on their Basecamp Veteran initiative, which brings ketamine-assisted therapy to veterans and first responders.

Title - Military Veterans’ Perspectives on Psychedelic-Assisted Treatments

November 18, 2021 - Dr. Hannah McLane (MD, MA, MPH) is a physician, psychotherapist, and entrepreneur. She is the founder and clinical director of the SoundMind Center, a psychedelic therapy center and nonprofit in West Philadelphia, aimed at providing accessible and inclusive psychedelic care and education. She teaches psychedelic therapy training courses and has trained over 125 therapists and clinicians. She conducts research that focuses on cognitive diversity, psychedelic science, ethics, PTSD, and emerging alternative therapies for mental health issues. She also has a background in teaching meditation and has participated in numerous silent retreats over the past two decades. More information can be found at www.soundmind.center.

Title - Equity and Inclusion in Psychedelic Therapy

October 14, 2021 - Dominic Sisti, PhD, directs the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care and is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds secondary appointments in the Department of Psychiatry, where he directs the ethics curriculum in the residency program, and the Department of Philosophy. Dr. Sisti examines ethical and policy challenges in mental health care, including long-term psychiatric care for individuals with serious mental illness, clinical ethics issues in correctional settings, and ethical issues in psychedelic research and clinical application. Dr. Sisti's writings have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as JAMA, JAMA Psychiatry, Psychiatric Services, the Hastings Center Report, and the Journal of Medical Ethics. His scholarship has been featured by popular media outlets and he is editor of three books. Sisti received his bachelor's degree in biology from Villanova University, a master of bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania, and his doctorate in philosophy from Michigan State University.

Title - Ethics in Psychedelic Medicine: The Challenge of Informed Consent

July 29, 2021 - Samuel Ko, MD, MBA is the founder and medical director of Reset Ketamine, ketamine infusion clinic in Palm Springs, California. His clinic has been featured in Vice, White Coat Investor, Gizmodo, and NBC Palm Springs. He is committed to providing an innovative and rapid treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain so that patients can go back to living a whole, healthy life. Dr. Ko is a Board-Certified Emergency Physician, a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists, and Practitioners. He is a graduate of University of Rochester’s combined MD/MBA program and has additional training from Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), Reiki therapy, NLP, & Time Line Therapy.

Title - My Journey of Starting Up A Ketamine Clinic

July 15, 2021 - Ismail Lourido Ali, JD is Director (acting) and Counsel, Policy & Advocacy Department at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). In this role, Ismail develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ governance, non-profit, and ethics work. Ismail is a founding board member of the Psychedelic Bar Association, he currently serves on the board of directors for Sage Institute, and he has previously served as Chair of the board of directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He is also part of Chacruna Institute’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants and on the advisory council for the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. Ismail is passionate about setting sustainable groundwork for a just, equitable, and generative post-prohibition world.

Title - Landscapes of the Psychedelic Ecosystem

June 15, 2021 - Rebecca Lee, JD (Journey Colab Chief Legal Officer) & Monica Welling (Journey Colab Chief Development Officer). Rebecca is a graduate of Yale College and the UC Berkeley School of Law and an attorney who has represented and advised progressive organizations and public entities in high-stakes impact litigation and strategic social change campaigns, including the City of San Francisco, NRDC, SEIU, and the Writers Guild of America. Monica is a life science executive with over 25 years’ experience working in a variety of strategic, operational development, and commercial executive positions in multinational life science companies (Novo Nordisk, Allergan), start-ups (Addiction Healthcare Services, CEO of Oncology Start-up), and consulting.

Title - Journey Colab: Building a Third Way in Psychedelic Drug Development

June 3, 2021 - Nicholas Brüss, EdD, LMFT is an integrative psychotherapist who specializes in helping people with psychedelics-assisted therapies. He was trained by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and is a therapist on the MAPS-sponsored FDA Phase 3 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Certified in both IFS and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, he’s been provided ketamine-assisted IFS therapy in Los Angeles since 2017. Nicholas is the Co-founder and Lead Trainer of the Psychedelic Coalition for Health and the Clinical Director of Psychedelic Therapies at Hope Integrative Psychiatry.

Title - Opening Space for Parts: Psychedelic-Assisted Internal Family Systems Therapy

May 13, 2021 - Maxi Cohen is the executive producer for the film From Shock to Awe, a story about veteran's suffering from PTSD who seek healing with ayahuasca. Maxi has made films for SNL, Fox Television, ARTE and developed series for the BBC, CPB, HBO and Turner. Maxi's first media for social change experiment – a weekly TV series in Cape May, N.J. – helped reverse the town’s demise, becoming one of four landmarked towns in the country, changing its social, cultural and economic future. In response to governments internationally misunderstanding Ayahausca, she made a film about the Santo Daime, a church emanating from Brazil that drinks Ayahausca called the “Holy Give Me”. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Karan Weiss Foundation, Jerome Foundation, among others.

Title - From Shock to Awe - Film Screening

March 18, 2021 - Dr. Charles Nichols earned his BS at Purdue University, his PhD at Carnegie Mellon University studying developmental neurogenetics in Drosophila melanogaster, and performed his postdoctoral work at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, researching mammalian serotonin 5-HT2 receptor neuropharmacology. His research has focused on 5-HT2A receptors and psychedelics for the past 24 years, where he has made several key discoveries. These include identification of specific populations of cell types within the brain that directly respond to psychedelics, the development of animal models to study the antidepressant-like effects of psilocybin, and discovery of the potent anti-inflammatory effects of psychedelics. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Title - Anti-Inflammatory and Antidepressant Effects of Psychedelics in Preclinical Models

February 17, 2021 - East Forest’s 2019 five-hour album, Music for Mushrooms: A Soundtrack for the Psychedelic Practitioner, is the singular musical guide in existence for supporting people during their experience specifically with psilocybin. The five-hour experience is designed to musically guide the psilocybin experience from start to finish. The album also reached #1 on the iTunes charts after its release (May 2019). With ten years of active research and development of his methodology through guiding hundreds of individuals through therapeutic psilocybin ceremonies, East Forest offers an unprecedented musical tool to help support the emerging field of psychedelic therapy for which music plays a central and fundamental role.

Title - Music for Mushrooms: A Discussion and Guided Meditation with East Forest

January 25, 2021 - Brian C. Muraresku graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University in 2002 with a degree in Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. As an alumnus of Georgetown Law and a member of the New York Bar, he has been practicing law internationally for fifteen years. The Immortality Key was published by St. Martin’s Press in September 2020. Muraresku launched his instant bestseller on The Joe Rogan Experience and has now appeared on CNN, NPR, Sirius XM, goop and The Weekly Dish with Andrew Sullivan. He has been featured in Forbes, The Daily Beast, Big Think and VICE. All media to date is available here. Muraresku lives outside Washington D.C. with his wife and two daughters.

Title - Brian Muraresku: The Immortality Key

January 11, 2021 - Claudia Costa is a Colombian/Italian musician visiting the Ukumari Kankhe indigenous reservation of the Cofanes in Colombia. The Cofán communities are the original wisdom keepers of the yagé traditions and have a rich tradition using medicinal plants and performing cleansing rituals. Claudia has been honored to play music for yagé ceremonies, along with fellow Colombian musician Juan Carlos Heredia, led by the spiritual leaders of the Queta family. Taita Querubín Queta is the cacique and spiritual head of the A’i-Cofan communities of Ecuador and Colombia, as well as governor of the Ukumari Kankhe village. He carries 107-years of Cofán wisdom, and many of his family members have followed his path of traditional healing. Claudia speaks with his nephew, Taita Reinerio, about the history and role of music in Cofán ceremonies. Juan Carlos also shares his knowledge and experience as a ceremonial musician.

Title - Sound Healing and the Role of Music in Ceremony in the Cofán Tradition

Elective Course

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 Medicine Course Syllabus

Yale Psychedelic Science Group Leadership

Psychiatry Residents

Medical Students

  • Halsey Niles
  • Robert Palmer

Faculty Advisors

Affiliates

  • Robert Krause, DNP, APRN-BC
  • Colleen Fogg, PharmD

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