6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

9:00 am – 6:00 pm

9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Alicia Danforth, Ph.D.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 3:50 pm - 4:25 pm

Researcher | Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute | Harbor- UCLA Medical Center

Alicia Danforth, Ph.D., is a researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Her work as a study coordinator and co-facilitator on Dr. Charles Grob's clinical trial with psilocybin for existential anxiety related to advanced cancer inspired her to become a licensed clinical psychologist. She attended the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where she co-developed and taught the first graduate-level course on psychedelic theory, research, and clinical considerations for therapists and researchers in training. Her dissertation research was on the MDMA (Ecstasy) experiences of adults on the autism spectrum. She also specializes in mindfulness-based psychotherapy, trauma treatment, and psychedelic harm reduction at festivals and events. 

Exploring MDMA-Assisted Therapy as a Social Adaptability Catalyst for Autistic Adults

This talk will focus on pioneering research into MDMA-assisted therapy’s potential for treating social anxiety in autistic adults.  Learn how the investigators for a current clinical study have applied both qualitative and quantitative research approaches to exploring whether MDMA’s prosocial effects can result in sustained improvements in various domains of social adaptability. Looking ahead to future research design, Dr. Danforth will share insights on how working with diverse populations and neurodivergent individuals in clinical research has challenged best practice standards for set and setting in psychedelic research in general. 

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Jag Davies

Speaking on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 10:20 am - 11:05 am

Director of Communications Strategy | Drug Policy Alliance

Jag is director of communications strategy at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA),  the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.  DPA has played a pivotal role in most of the major drug policy reforms in the U.S. on issues such as medical marijuana and marijuana legalization, criminal justice and sentencing reform, and health-based approaches to reduce the death, disease, crime and suffering associated with both drug use and drug prohibition.

Jag oversees the organization’s messaging and visual identity, and manages the development and production of publications, donor communications, advocacy materials, reports, multimedia and digital communications, and messaging research.  He is regularly quoted in a wide range of media outlets and his writings have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post,,, and dozens of regional and online publications.

Before joining DPA in 2009, Jag served as director of communications for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and as policy researcher for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Drug Law Reform Project, where he coordinated local, state, federal and international efforts to end punitive drug policies that cause the widespread violation of constitutional and human rights.

Envisioning Success: What Does The End Of Psychedelic Criminalization Look Like? 

Imagine this: It’s 2026 and Horizons is celebrating its 20th year – and psychedelic-assisted therapy has finally been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration!    

Even as people begin to engage in legal psychedelic therapy, most people who use psychedelics will certainly continue to do so outside of government-sanctioned, medically-supervised settings.  This means that thousands of people would still get handcuffed, arrested, branded as criminals, and even locked up every year simply for using or possessing a psychedelic substance.  

Polling currently indicates little support for legalizing over-the-counter sale of psychedelics or any other currently-illegal substances apart from cannabis.  Yet the drug policy reform movement is increasingly focused on ending the criminalization of possession and use of such substances, and investigating options for enabling legal access in ways that advance rather than undercut public health and safety.  

How can we accelerate the process of ending criminal punishment for possession and use of psychedelics?  Apart from psychedelic-assisted therapy, what are the options for allowing safe and legal access to these substances?  These questions need to be responsibly addressed. 

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Rick Doblin, Ph.D.

Speaking Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 11:05 am - 11:50 am 

Founder and Executive Director | Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and three children. 

Rescheduling MDMA: History, Present, and Future

Natalie Ginsberg, MAPS Policy and Advocacy Manager will interview Rick Doblin, MAPS Founder and Executive Director, about his experiences when MDMA was legal, his battle against its subsequent criminalization, and his current efforts to secure MDMA’s legal access by transforming it into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. Rick will interview Natalie about her work  advocating for psychedelic harm reduction, healing justice and legal access which moves beyond medicine to access for personal and spiritual growth, celebration, and other intentional use.

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Natalie Lyla Ginsberg

Speaking Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 11:05 am - 11:50 am 

Policy and Advocacy Manager | Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

Natalie earned her Master's in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014, and her Bachelor's in History from Yale University in 2011. At Columbia, Natalie served as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical marijuana in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York's racist marijuana arrests. Natalie has also worked as a court-mandated therapist for individuals arrested for prostitution and drug-related offenses, and as a middle school guidance counselor at an NYC public school. Natalie's clinical work with trauma survivors spurred her interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, which she believes can ease a wide variety of both mental and physical ailments by addressing the root cause of individuals' difficulties, rather than their symptoms. Through her work at MAPS, Natalie advocates for research to provide evidence-based alternatives to both the war on drugs and the current mental health paradigm.

Rescheduling MDMA: History, Present, and Future

Natalie Ginsberg, MAPS Policy and Advocacy Manager will interview Rick Doblin, Ph.D., MAPS Founder and Executive Director, about his experiences when MDMA was legal, his battle against its subsequent criminalization, and his current efforts to secure MDMA’s legal access by transforming it into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. Rick will interview Natalie about her work  advocating for psychedelic harm reduction, healing justice and legal access which moves beyond medicine to access for personal and spiritual growth, celebration, and other intentional use.

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Ingmar Gorman, M.A.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm

Doctoral Student of the Department of Psychology | New School for Social Research

Ingmar Gorman, M.A. is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the New School for Social Research. After receiving his B.A. from the New College of Florida, Ingmar served as a research assistant at the Prague Psychiatric Center and later at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He received clinical training at Mount Sinai/Beth Israel Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, and at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is currently at Bellevue Hospital for his clinical internship. Ingmar conducts psychotherapy research in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He is also the Administrative Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program at the Center for Optimal Living, a setting where clients may speak about their psychedelic experiences and gain psychotherapeutic support. Clinicians can also turn to this program to learn how to best work with patients who have a history of psychedelic use, to understand what are the potential benefits and risks associated with these substances, and how to provide optimal care. Ingmar’s primary interests include psychotherapy variables in drug-assisted psychotherapy, therapist training, psychoanalysis, and Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy for substance misuse.

Presenting with Katherine Maclean, Ph.D.

Psychedelic Integration: From the Individual to the Community

Read the abstract by Katherine Maclean, Ph.D.

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Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 1:50 pm- 2:35 pm

Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences
School of Medicine | Johns Hopkins University

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. His research has been largely supported by grants from the National Institute on Health and he is author of over 360 journal articles and book chapters.

He has been a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, and to numerous pharmaceutical companies in the development of new psychotropic drugs. He is also currently a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence for the World Health Organization.

He has conducted extensive research with sedative-hypnotics, caffeine, and novel mood-altering drugs. In 1999 he initiated a research program at Johns Hopkins investigating the effects of the classic hallucinogen psilocybin that includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, psilocybin effects in beginning and long-term meditators, and psilocybin effects in religious leaders.

The Hopkins laboratory has also conducted a recent series of internet survey studies characterizing the effects hallucinogen-occasioned mystical experiences, challenging experiences, and effects on substance abuse.

The Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Research Project: Psilocybin-Occasioned Mystical-Type Experiences: Implications for Spirituality, Altruism, and Therapeutics

This presentation will provide a summary of psilocybin research conducted at Johns Hopkins over the past 15 years. Studies conducted at Johns Hopkins have investigated the effects of psilocybin administered to carefully screened and psychologically prepared volunteers who were supported during and after psilocybin sessions.

Under such conditions, psilocybin occasioned profound personally and spiritually meaningful mystical-type experiences in the majority of healthy participants. Analysis suggests that mystical-type experiences mediate sustained positive changes in attitudes, mood, and behavior.

Other studies are exploring the effects of psilocybin in novice and long-term meditators and religious professionals. Therapeutic studies will be described which are investigating psilocybin-facilitated treatment of anxiety and depression in cancer patients and psilocybin-facilitated cigarette smoking cessation using a cognitive-behavioral treatment approach.

The results of an internet survey affirmed concerns that psilocybin ingestion in uncontrolled circumstances potentially may lead to acute psychological distress, risky behavior, or enduring psychological symptoms. Importantly, the incidence of risky behavior or enduring psychological distress is extremely low when psilocybin is given in laboratory studies to screened, prepared, and supported participants.

The finding that psilocybin can occasion, in most people studied, mystical-type experiences similar to those that occur naturally, suggests that such experiences are biologically normal, and that such experiences are now amenable to prospective scientific study.

Further research with psilocybin can be expected to provide unique insights into the biology and psychology of mystical experience, and may hold promise as a paradigm-shifting treatment approach. 

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Jesse Jarnow

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 10:15 am - 11:00 am

Author of Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America

Jesse Jarnow is the author of Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America (Da Capo, 2016). His writing on psychedelics, music, technology, and more appear in, Pitchfork,, The Influence, and elsewhere. He hosts The Frow Show on WFMU, the long-running non-commercial freeform New Jersey radio station, and is the author of Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock. He posts on psychedelic news and history via @HeadsNews on Twitter and via the Heads News email.

An Alternate and Ongoing History of Psychedelics

While the first part of the 21st century has yielded a massive resurgence in psychedelic research and cultural integration, it has likewise seen an equally dramatic transformation in the half-century long continuum of underground practices in the United States. Playing a major role in ongoing shifts in American spirituality, creativity, and mental health from the 1950s onward, as well as a documented influence on the ethos of the American technology industry, the history of post-colonial American psychedelic use goes largely unexamined. Owing in large part to the legal status of LSD and other substances, it is a history shrouded in confusion and stigma. With each new development owing to the half-century that came before, the past decade has seen seemingly massive shifts in psychedelics' availability, variety, demographics, dangers, economics, distribution, vocabulary, and relationship to the mainstream of American culture and the world at large. Considered an imminent threat to American society until at least the late '90s, the new wave of research and acceptance poses numerous questions and possibilities. Answers might lie somewhere between conflicted past and the ever-changing now.

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Robert Jesse

Speaking on Sunday, October 9th at 3:55 pm - 4:40 pm

Convenor of the Council on Spiritual Practices

Robert Jesse is convenor of the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP). Through CSP, he was instrumental in forming the psilocybin research team at Johns Hopkins, he is a co-author of its first paper (2006), “Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance,” and he is one of the team’s co-investigators. Bob now serves on the board of Usona Institute and is an advisor to the California Institute of Integral Studies. In 2005, he led the writing of an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court in a key religious liberty case that was decided 8-0, favoring the U.S. branch of the Brazilian church, the União do Vegetal. Prior to CSP, Bob worked as a consultant in information technology for AT&T Bell Labs and others, then in several capacities for Oracle Corporation, lastly as a vice president of business development. His university training is in computer science and electrical engineering.

Psychedelics: The Uncertain Paths from Re-emergence to Renaissance

Robert Jesse will offer a view, spanning the decade from the birth of Horizons to the present day, of the significant developments that have occurred in several areas of our field. Surely they amount to a re-emergence of psychedelics. People speak of a renaissance. In the highest meaning of that term, it is yet to come. Looking ahead, what are our aspirations? What setbacks could occur, what challenges may ask to be met, and how might our awareness of them lead to better outcomes?

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Bia Labate, Ph.D.

Speaking on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 2:45 pm - 3:30 pm

Visiting Professor | Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), in Guadalajara, Mexico
Co-founder for and web editor | Nucleus for Interdisciplinary studies of Psychoactives (NEIP)

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of psychoactive substances, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Visiting Professor at the Center for Research and Post Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is also co-founder of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and editor of NEIP’s website ( She is author, co-author, and co-editor of fifteen books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles. For more information, see 

The Field of Ayahuasca Research: A Retrospective

In this special context of the 10-year retrospective of Horizons, I will review my own research and efforts to help build an interdisciplinary field of ayahuasca research. I will focus on some of the main topics that I have written about and are addressed on several collections that I have edited, such as: traditional drug use, urban uses, health, public debate, regulation, human rights, internationalization and cultural reinvention. I will also revisit the main controversies with which I have engaged in this field, and reflect on the role of science and researchers in the public debate. Next, I will provide a general overview of the main characteristics, tendencies, and perspectives of the field of ayahuasca studies, point out the gaps in this discussion, and speculate on future directions. In the second part of this presentation, the filmmaker Ellen Spiro and I will show a sample of the film The Sacred Plant Chronicles, a work in progress that explores current stories about ayahuasca, peyote and mushrooms. We will conclude with a dialogue with the public about the future direction of this project. 

Presenting with Ellen Spiro. 

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Katherine Maclean, Ph.D.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 4:30 pm- 5:15 pm

Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program
The Center for Optimal Living

Katherine MacLean, PhD. is the Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program and a trained research scientist with a long-standing interest in the brain and the science of well-being. At the University of California, Davis, Katherine was supported by a NSF research fellowship to study the effects of mindfulness on well-being and brain function. As a postdoctoral research fellow and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she worked with Dr. Roland Griffiths and his team. Her research on psilocybin and personality change suggests that this class of medicines may play an important role in enhancing mental health, promoting emotional well-being, and creativity throughout the lifespan. Her current focus is the role of psychedelics and meditation in preparing individuals for end-of-life and healing trauma related to grief.

Psychedelic Integration: From the Individual to the Community

During the Horizons conference in 2014, Katherine MacLean, Ingmar Gorman and Andrew Tatarsky had a conversation during which they shared their mutual inspiration to offer individual therapy, group discussions, and educational workshops on the safe use of psychedelics. The Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program at the Center for Optimal Living (NYC) was born out of that conversation. The program is designed to assist people who have had psychedelic experiences and are seeking support in connection with those experiences, as well as people who would like to learn more about psychedelics, but may not have had personal experiences with them. The overarching intention of the program is to increase awareness and reduce the risks of psychedelic use. Since November 2015, the Psychedelic Program team has hit the ground running, working with individual clients in psychotherapy sessions, facilitating monthly psychedelic education and integration groups for the public, and preparing a first-of-its-kind training workshop on psychedelic harm reduction and integration in collaboration with the MAPS Zendo Project. In their presentation at Horizons 2016, Katherine and Ingmar will invite the audience to take a deeper dive into the important questions that motivate their current work and are shaping their vision for the next 10 years of psychedelic education, therapy and integration. This presentation will also include an experiential component to help the audience get a taste of the psychedelic integration process. For more information about the program, please visit

Presenting with Ingmar Gorman, M.A.

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Sarah Elaine Mennenga, Ph.D.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 2:40 pm - 3:25 pm

Postdoctoral Fellow | Department of Psychiatry | NYU Langone School of Medicine

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Arizona State University in 2010, and I also received my Master’s degree and PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Arizona State University in 2012 and 2015. My graduate research utilized rodent models to study how changes to the female reproductive cycle, such as those seen with hormonal contraceptives, menopause, and hormone therapy, impact learning and memory across aging. In January of this year I started a postdoctoral position with the NYU Experimental Therapeutics research group and have had the opportunity to help on a number of projects; my specific interest is in the involvement of learning, memory, and associated brain mechanisms in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs.

Presenting with Stephen Ross, M.D. and Samantha Podrebarac, M.Sc.

The NYU Psilocybin Project: Insights from Basic Neuroscience

For my portion of the talk, I will briefly discuss how insights from basic neuroscience on the neural processes of learning and memory can inform psychedelic research in humans, and my role as a postdoctoral researcher within the NYU Experimental Therapeutics Research Group.

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Michael Mithoefer, M.D.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 11:55 am - 12:40 pm

Lead Clinical Investigator and Medical Monitor | MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD

Michael Mithoefer, M.D., is a psychiatrist practicing in Charleston, SC, where he divides his time between clinical research and outpatient clinical practice specializing in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy. He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator and is trained in EMDR and Internal Family Systems Therapy. He and his wife, Annie Mithoefer, recently completed a MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trial testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. A paper about their study was published in July 2010 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. They are currently conducting a second trial with veterans who have PTSD resulting from service in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as psychotherapy training programs for MAPS researchers. Dr. Mithoefer is the medical monitor for MAPS-sponsored clinical trials in Europe, the Middle East, Canada, and Colorado. Before going into psychiatry in 1995 he practiced emergency medicine for ten years, served as medical director of the Charleston County and Georgetown County Emergency Departments, and has held clinical faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is currently board certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Internal Medicine.

MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy Research – An Update on 12 years of Successful Clinical Trials

Michael Mithoefer will discuss the nature of the therapeutic process in our approach to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, including a short video of a segment of an MDMA research session,  and will present the promising results of MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trials.  These studies have demonstrated safety and strong therapeutic effects across study sites and in both veteran and non-veteran populations, and are the basis for larger, multicenter Phase 3 studies planned to begin across in the US, and in Canada and Israel in 2017.

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Jessica Nielson, Ph.D.

Speaking on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 1:55 pm - 2:40 pm

Assistant Professional Researcher | Department of Neurosurgery
Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) | University of California, San Francisco

Jessica L. Nielson, Ph.D., is a research faculty at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) specializing in neurotrauma basic and clinical research. Dr. Nielson received her PhD from UC Irvine in 2010 in anatomy and neurobiology, and her postdoctoral training in bioinformatics and multivariate statistics at UCSF. Dr. Nielson’s current research involves working with animal and human data repositories for archived and ongoing trials aimed at precision diagnosis and treatment of several neurological disorders, including spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia. Dr. Nielson has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, conference abstracts, book chapters, and newsletters over the past 10 years, and is currently gathering preliminary data through an anonymous online survey to assess user-reported risks and benefits of the ayahuasca experience in various ceremonial and alternative contexts, specifically related to the treatment of PTSD in trauma survivors.

Ayahuasca for PTSD: Assessing Benefits and Risks Through Multiple Perspectives

With the increased notoriety of Ayahuasca in the western world to treat a variety of disorders, including addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is important to gather evidence regarding potential risks and benefits that this powerful traditional medicine may offer for such conditions.  Although the majority of the scientific literature on Ayahuasca suggests it to be safe and potentially therapeutic, a handful of deaths and controversies at healing centers in both North and South America have been associated with the use of ayahuasca.  This presentation will discuss the current state of the scientific literature on ayahuasca, the rationale for its therapeutic application to treat PTSD, and preliminary results from an anonymous online survey from participants (N=152) who have previously taken ayahuasca in various contexts for healing and transformation.

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Podrebarac Samantha

Samantha Kristen Podrebarac, M.Sc.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 2:40 pm - 3:25 pm

Clinical Research Coordinator | Department of Psychiatry | NYU Langone School of Medicine
Masters Student | Spirituality Mind-Body Institute | Teachers College | Columbia University

Samantha Podrebarac, M.Sc., is a Clinical Research Coordinator with the NYU Experimental Therapeutics Research Group. Samantha is currently involved with a longitudinal clinical trial examining the therapeutic potential of Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in treating alcohol addiction & a neuroimaging project probing the neural correlates of Psychedelic treatment. Samantha is currently a clinical psychology graduate student at the Spirituality Mind-Body Institute at Columbia University. She completed a graduate degree in visual cognitive neuroscience and an undergraduate degree in psychology, both at the University of Western Ontario. Samantha is interested in the therapeutic utility of altered states of consciousness, the integration of spirituality in health – particularly at the end of life, and the role of psychedelics in studying the nature of consciousness, perceived reality, and the unconscious mind.

Presenting with Stephen Ross, M.D. and Sarah Mennenga, Ph.D.

The NYU Psilocybin Project: Neuroimaging & Spiritual Health

My talk will discuss the neuroimaging project that our group is currently conducting, the role of psychedelics in facilitating spiritual insights in patients, and future projects on the NYU horizon.

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Stephen Ross, M.D.

Speaking on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 at 2:40 pm - 3:25 pm

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine
Director, Division of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, Department of Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital
Director, Bellevue Hospital Opioid Overdose Prevention Program
Director, Addiction Psyciatry, NYU Tisch Hospital
Director, NYU Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship
Director, NYU Psychedelic Research Group
Principal Investigator, NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project
NYU Langone Medical Center
NYU School of Medicine
NYU College of Dentistry
NYU-HHC Clinical & Translational Science Institute

Stephen Ross, M.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and Associate Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine at the NYU College of Dentistry. He is the Director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in the Psychiatry Department at Bellevue Hospital Center, Director of Addiction Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center/Tisch Hospital, and the Director of the NYU Addiction Fellowship. Dr. Ross directs an NIH funded Addictive Disorders Laboratory at Bellevue Hospital Center and is the Director of the NYU Psychedelic Research Group. Dr Ross researches the therapeutic application of psychedelic treatment models to treat psychiatric and addictive disorders. He is an expert in psycho-oncology and is studying novel pharmacologic-psychosocial approaches to treating psychological distress associated with advanced or terminal cancer. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project (a recently completed FDA phase II RCT studying the efficacy of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in patients with life-threatening cancer and psychological/existential distress), PI of a controlled trial administering psilocybin to religious professionals, and co-PI of a controlled trial assessing psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in patients with alcoholism. Dr. Ross receives his research funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the NYU School of Medicine and the Heffter Research Institute.

Presenting with Sarah Mennenga, Ph.D. and Samantha Podrebarac, M.Sc.

NYU Psychedelic Research Group: Past, Present, Future

In this talk, I will review the 10 year history of the NYU Psychedelic Research Group with a focus on the group's formation and evolution over time. A review of our history will emphasize 3 completed projects: 1) The NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project (a recently completed FDA phase II randomized controlled trial (RCT) assessing the efficacy of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to treat cancer-related psychological and existential distress; 2) Completed qualitative study associated with the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project; 3) The NYU Psychedelic Psychotherapy Training Program. Regarding the present, I will describe the current composition of our multi-disciplinary research team, housed at Bellevue Hospital, that includes over a dozen members including: research scientists, post-doctoral research fellows, psychedelic therapists, project managers, research coordinators, research assistants, and volunteers. I will focus on our 3 active research projects: 1) phase III Psilocybin Caner Project;  2) phase II RCT exploring the efficacy of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for alcoholism; 3) RCT examining the administration of psilocybin to religious professionals (a collaboration with Johns Hopkins). Regarding the future, I will discuss the formation of the first academic based psychedelic research center and will review its mission and objectives. I will focus on 3 main areas: 1) Exploring psychedelic treatment models to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders including: alcoholism, opioid addiction, stimulant addiction, tobacco addiction, major depression, anorexia, bulimia, OCD, PTSD, narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, criminal recidivism, and suicidality; 2) Exploring basic mechanisms of psychedelics with a focus on neuro-biological, psychological and psycho-spiritual (e.g. mystical experience) domains; 3) Exploring  models to use psychedelics to enhance spirituality, meditation, creativity, altruism, and conflict resolution.

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Ellen Spiro

Speaking on Sunday October 9th, 2016 at 2:45 pm - 3:30 pm

Professor of Radio, TV, Film | University of Texas in Austin

Ellen Spiro is a Professor of Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas in Austin and a boundary-pushing documentary filmmaker. Her work champions mavericks and renegades with wit, delight, and emotional depth. Her documentaries include Diana's Hair Ego, Greetings From Out Here, Roam Sweet Home, Atomic Ed & the Black Hole, Are the Kids Alright?, Troop 15OO, Fixing the Future and, co-directed with Phil Donahue,  Body of War, shortlisted for an Academy Award. Emerging as a visual artist during post graduate work within the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, Spiro’s films are today found in permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Peabody Collection of The Paley Center for Media, and the New York Public Library. She has been awarded fellowships from Guggenheim, Rockefeller and National Endowment for the Arts. She also has won two Gracie Awards for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Documentary for Troop 1500, from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. Spiro studied at the University of Virginia, and earned her Master’s Degree in Media Studies at S.U.N.Y Buffalo. Her films have been broadcast and premiered in prestigious film festivals around the world. Spiro is presenting with Bia Labate, Ph.D..

The Field of Ayahuasca Research: A Retrospective

Read the abstract by Bia Labate, Ph.D..

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Fred Tomaselli

Speaking on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 11:10 am - 11:55 am

American Artist Focusing on Psychedelic and Visionary Art

In his exquisitely detailed paintings and collages, Fred Tomaselli renders abstract patterns, human figures, and natural forms in a range of unorthodox materials—such as medicinal herbs, prescription drugs, hallucinogenic plants, and cuttings from printed material—which he arranges on wood panels in a thick layer of clear resin. His meticulous compositions swirl across the picture plane like psychedelic visions or Medieval tapestry patterns. Tomaselli sees his works as surreal and hallucinatory universes, in which viewers are apt to lose themselves to a vortex of imagery and ornament. He is particularly interested in the notion of utopia and its various iterations in creative movements, from the Transcendentalists to the Beatniks, describing his work as a sort of “search for transcendence.”

Fred Tomaselli (born 1956, Santa Monica, CA) has had numerous solo exhibitions including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2014) and the University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014); a survey exhibition at Aspen Art Museum (2009) that toured to Tang and Brooklyn Museums (2010); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2004) toured to four venues in Europe and the US; Albright-Knox Gallery of Art (2003); Site Santa Fe (2001); Palm Beach ICA (2001), and Whitney Museum of American Art (1999). His works have been included in international biennial exhibitions including Sydney (2010); Prospect 1 (2008); Site Santa Fe (2004); Whitney (2004) and others. Tomaselli’s work can be found in the public collections of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; Albright Knox Gallery; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, LA.

My Chemical Sublime

Fred Tomaselli is an artist whose work explores perception, reality dislocation and the broken dreams of utopianism in colorful, complex works that utilize painting, photo collage, newsprint, drugs and psychoactive plants materials.  When viewed as paintings, these chemical cocktails can no longer reach the brain through the bloodstream and must take a different route to altering perception. In these works, they travel to the brain through the eyes. He will talk about how this work developed out of a long discourse between psychedelics, sociology, art history and conceptualism.

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Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D.

Speaking on Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm

Adjunct Professor | School of Population and Public Health | University of Britich Columbia

Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. His scholarly interests include: psychedelic studies; the cross-cultural and historical uses of psychoactive substances; public, professional and school-based drug education; and creating healthy public policy for currently illegal drugs. Kenneth’s doctoral research developed the concept of “entheogenic education,” a theoretical frame for understanding how psychedelic plants and substances can function as cognitive tools for learning.

Beyond Healing: Psychedelics as Cognitive Tools for Learning

Evidence of the therapeutic value of psychedelic plants and substances is gradually re-emerging in the findings of cutting-edge medical research. Yet it may be that these kinds of substances have as much or more importance for individuals and cultures in their capacity to serve as catalysts for cognitive enhancement and learning. This talk explores the concept of “plant teachers” in traditional indigenous representations of substances such as psilocybe mushrooms, peyote and ayahuasca, as well as recent neuroscientific findings on psychedelic substances and their effects on human cognition. It then develops some ways of understanding these plants and substances as cognitive tools with potential educational applications. It concludes with some reflections on further potential avenues for psychedelic research and its social impacts in the domains of cognitive enhancement, education and learning.

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