Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics to Launch At UC Davis

Earlier this month, the University of California (UC) Davis announced that they would establish a new laboratory dedicated to helping others by furthering research on psychedelics and neurotherapeutics. 

Specifically, this research hopes to assist in developing and producing safe drugs that can effectively treat several diseases, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. 

More and more organizations and groups are looking forward to more significant research and reform concerning the use of psychedelics. One such organization is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) which continues to advocate for veterans who benefit from psychedelic therapy to deal with mental health conditions and related symptoms. 

This announcement also comes when seven states are pushing for the legalization of psychedelics. Provisions for therapy programs and the legalization of Schedule I Substances are among the legislation being considered. This aligns with UC’s mission to take advantage of the many potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics

Ushering In A New Institute

UC’s Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine named David E. Olson as its founding director. Alongside Olson, John A. Gray, Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology, will serve as Associate Director. 

This new laboratory called “The Institute for Psychedelics and Neurotherapeutics” will help foster collaboration across the campus by bringing together scientists from different disciplines. Along with research on psychedelics, the lab will also focus on chemistry and the development of new neurotherapeutics, that is, the treatment of psychological, psychiatric, and nervous disorders.

Researchers will also work with partners in the pharmaceutical industry so that their findings, research, and any valuable discoveries will reach those responsible for developing and testing new drugs that can benefit patients. 

Drawing On A Wealth Of Experience 

Counting the Davis and Sacramento campuses, the UC Davis neuroscience community currently stands at approximately 300 faculty members across centers, laboratories, and departments. Given the combined years of experience and extensive knowledge, in-depth research into psychedelics on several levels and success is expected of the institute. 

Susan Murin, dean of the School of Medicine, stated that the knowledge of UC Davis’ pioneering basic research team, world-class neuroscientists, and our renowned medical center is a formula for success. She believes this formula will result in groundbreaking discoveries that will help patients regionally and worldwide. 

Funded By The University 

In the first instance, the university proudly stated that through partial funding from donations within the institution, financial support would be given to its latest initiative. Deans of the College of Letters and Science and the School of Medicine, as well as the vice chancellor for research, will present the roughly $5 million donation. 

In addition, the goal is to receive funds and donations from philanthropists, private foundations, and industry partners, as well as through grants and sponsored research agreements from the federal government. 

In 2021, Johns Hopkins Medicine received the first federal grant for psychedelic treatment research in 50 years. Thankfully there has been a shift in views in recent years regarding the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. The university will achieve more significant research and outcomes as more funding opportunities arise. 

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