Education Health & Medicine News Psychedelics Research

UC Berkeley launches new center for psychedelic science and education

Neuroscientist Michael Silver, inaugural director of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. (Photo by Elena Zhukova)

Fifty years after political and cultural winds slammed shut the doors on psychedelic research, UC Berkeley is making up for lost time by launching the campus’s first center for psychedelic science and public education.

With $1.25 million in seed funding from an anonymous donor, the new UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will conduct research using psychedelics to investigate cognition, perception and emotion and their biological bases in the human brain.

The center is also developing a program for educating the public about this rapidly advancing field of research. Initial experimental studies will use psilocybin, the principal psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms.

“There’s never been a better time to start a center like this,” said UC Berkeley neuroscientist David Presti, one of the center’s founding members. “The renewal of basic and clinical science with psychedelics has catalyzed interest among many people.”

Portrait of UC Berkeley journalism professor and bestselling author.

Michael Pollan, a journalist and bestselling author, is one of the center’s founding members. (UC Berkeley photo by Bonnie Azab Powell)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other acclaimed co-founders of the center include psychologist Dacher Keltner, who studies the mental and physiological benefits of awe, and journalism professor Michael Pollan, whose 2018 bestseller, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence, was one of the inspirations for the center.

“We’re really interested in what psychedelics can teach us about consciousness, perception, creativity and learning,” said Pollan, who felt compelled to explore psychedelics in late middle age, instead of in his youth, and write about them.

“Psychedelics have a particular value later in life, because that is when you are most stuck in your patterns. They give you the ability to shake them loose,” he said.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Yasmin Anwar on UC Berkeley News

Published: September 15, 2020

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