Academic Advisory Committee

Additional advisory committee members will be announced soon.

Adam Levin's bio photo

Adam Levin

Adam Levin, M.D. is a Resident in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Ohio State University School of Medicine and an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Education at the Ohio State University College of Social Work. He received his M.D. from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. While completing his medical degree, he studied the anxiolytic and antidepressant properties of psilocybin and ketamine in animal models of depression in the lab of Charles Nichols, Ph.D. His current research and clinical interests include the therapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of addiction and in Veterans with PTSD, the implications of drug policy for medical education and practice, and the overlap between psychiatry and spirituality. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, he serves as a facilitator for the mindfulness-based stress reduction program, Mindfulness in Motion, which targets individuals in high stress work environments. Dr. Levin has been recognized for both his clinical work and his role in medical student education and was the recipient of the 2021 Arnold P. Gold Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award.

Alyssa Gurksy bio photo

Alyssa Gurksy

Alyssa (she/they) is a queer, Transpersonal Art Therapist practicing in Portland, Oregon. They’re the owner and operator of Psychedelic Art Therapy, a private practice focused on offering group and individual services at the intersection of non-ordinary states of consciousness, somatic awareness, and the creative process. Their background in research includes working as a night attendant on Phase II and III of MAPS’ MDMA for PTSD study. Currently, they work as a research assistant at the Sequoia Center in Portland, Oregon.

Amanda Alexander bio photo

Amanda Alexander

Dr. Amanda Alexander is an Associate Professor and Area Coordinator of Art Education as well as Assistant Chair in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas Arlington. Alexander’s research explores (inter)national and local community-based arts research and learning, sustainable social and culture development, and social justice that incorporates participatory action research, service-learning, and autoethnography that is grounded in critical theories. She uses these methodologies and theories in connection with sites of cultural and artistic (re)production including schools, museums, community arts organizations, and international cooperative groups. Dr. Alexander is centrally concerned with art education students’ ability to be more civically engaged, see art as a means to make meaning, and have an interdisciplinary, global perspective. Dr. Alexander graduated from The Ohio State University (OSU) with a Ph.D. in Art Education and a focus in Arts Administration, Education, and Policy in 2010. Prior to her Ph.D., she received a Master of Arts degree in Arts Policy and Administration in 2007 from OSU and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business in 2000 from Indiana University-Bloomington. Professionally, Dr. Alexander worked in Marketing for several years, completed Peace Corps service from 2002-2005, and worked for both the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission. Dr. Alexander serves on many interdisciplinary advisory boards at UTA and with statewide, national, and international arts/art education organizations.

Amanda Rose Pratt's bio photo

Amanda Rose Pratt

Amanda Rose Pratt is a PhD candidate in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric and a minor in Science and Technology Studies who researches psychedelic rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  As Data Archivist at the psychedelic prior art library Porta Sophia, she works to integrate archival research into their prior art library, in part by engaging with a network of archival researchers who study psychedelics. Amanda is also a founding member of an Interdisciplinary Psychedelic Activism and Environmental Research Working Group sponsored by the UW Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE); an advisory member of UW’s Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances; and a member of the Madison Psychedelic Society community group.

Brian Normand bio Photo

Brian Normand

Brian Normand is an editor, producer, and co-founder of Psymposia. Since 2014 he has collaborated with the most influential people working in psychedelics and drug policy to produce dozens of high impact events and conversations at universities and venues in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. His strategic bent and visual aptitude has helped shape both the direction and character of Psymposia through the years. He has also helped organize numerous events with MAPS, including Psychedelic Science 2017. Brian became interested in psychedelics as a teenager from listening to Bill Hicks and reading Aldous Huxley, and as a treatment for depression after losing his mother to suicide. After his arrest and prosecution for cannabis and mushroom cultivation, he completed a B.S. in Plant, Soil, and Insect Science from UMass Amherst, where he helped organize the first-ever psychedelics conference on campus. Brian’s work focuses on the effects of drug prohibition in Latin America, and the impact of corporations on psychedelia.

Bennet A. Zelner bio photo

Bennet A. Zelner

Bennet A. Zelner, Ph.D. researches, teaches, and advises on regenerative economics, psychedelic-assisted mental health treatment, and institutional change. He serves as Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. Bennet has published his work in top-tier academic journals and is a frequent presenter at major conferences. He advises organizations engaged in the development of regenerative approaches and the production of well-being, including Transformative Capital Institute, Usona Institute, the Synthesis Institute, Sage Integrative Health, Brooklyn Psychedelic Society, Nautilus Psychedelic Medicine Institute,, and MindLumen. Bennet received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Caitlin Brooks Bio Photo

Caitlin Brooks

Dr. Caitlin Brooks (she/her/hers) received her PhD in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with an emphasis on tourism and events. Caitlin’s research explores how people create meaning in their lives through participation in transformative tourism event spaces with a focus on how we can plan event experiences to help participants dismantle oppressive systems and make way for the co-creation of more just and equitable leisure experiences. Her recent work explores the creation of a culture of consent in the Burning Man community and the impact of event cancellation on existential authenticity of event (non)attendees.

David Nickles bio photo

David Nickles

David Nickles is Managing Editor of Psymposia, underground researcher, and harm reduction advocate. He has presented social critiques and commentary on psychedelic culture and radical politics, as well as novel phytochemical data from the DMT-Nexus, at venues around the world. David’s work focuses on the social and cultural implications of psychoactive substances, utilizing critical theory and structural analysis to examine the intersections of drugs and society. He is a vocal opponent of the mainstreaming and commodification of psychedelic compounds and rituals, believing that such approaches inherently obscure the liberatory potential of psychedelic experiences.

Dawn Davis bio photo

Dawn Davis

Dawn D. Davis is a mother, a wife, CEO of NativeSci LLC, co-editor of the Journal of Native Sciences, a founding member of Source Research Foundation, a Newe and a citizen of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Dawn is an Indigenous Researcher and educator with a PhD in Natural Resources and Water Resources. Her research has focused on Peyote [Lophophora williamsii] decline and conservation efforts since 2006. Dawn has shared her research among Indigenous, academic, ethnobotanical, and psychedelic audiences nationally and internationally.

Djinn Thompson bio photo

Djinn Thompson

Djinn (They/Them) has over 20 years’ experience with psychedelic plants and has done harm reduction in a professional capacity for over a decade. Djinn specializes in working with survivors of childhood trauma, those with treatment-resistant depression, issues related to LGBTQ identities, and those with neurodivergence. Djinn came out as a nonbinary trans person in 2017. They are currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work at Michigan State University with a focus on couple’s and family therapy. Djinn was previously the host of the Psychedelic Parenting Podcast under their birth name, and has been a speaker on psychedelics and family life at multiple conferences, both in the US and abroad. They are currently the Patient Intake Coordinator at Michigan Progressive Health, one of the nation’s oldest ketamine assisted therapy clinics.

Graham Pechenik's bio photo

Graham Pechenik

Graham Pechenik is a registered patent attorney and the founder of Calyx Law. Graham has a BS from UC San Diego, where he chose his Cognitive Neuroscience and Biochemistry majors after his first psychedelic experiences inspired deep curiosity about the bases for changes in consciousness, and a JD from NYU, where he initially pursued interests in bioethics and cognitive liberty. After a decade at large law firms representing Fortune 500 companies across the agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, and technology industries, including working on several landmark patent cases both at trial and on appeal, Graham started Calyx Law to help cannabis and psychedelics ventures design and implement their IP strategies. Graham also contributes to Psilocybin Alpha as editor-at-large, writing about psychedelics IP, providing data for patent trackers, and maintaining a psychedelics legalization and decriminalization tracker, and he is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants. Graham was raised in Oakland, CA, and currently lives in San Francisco.

Ifetayo Harvey bio photo

Ifetayo Harvey

Ifetayo Harvey is the founder and board president at the People of Color Psychedelic Collective. Ifetayo’s experience of growing up with her father in prison brought her to drug policy reform work at the Drug Policy Alliance. In 2013, Ifetayo was the opening plenary speaker at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver, Colorado. Ifetayo briefly worked at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in 2015, where Kai Wingo’s Women and Entheogens Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, inspired her. Ifetayo worked at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) for five years because of her passion for ending the war on drugs. While at DPA, Ifetayo penned the piece Why the Psychedelic Community Is So White in 2016 and began organizing other folks of color and allies in psychedelic circles. Ifetayo comes from a family of seven children raised by her mother in Charleston, South Carolina. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Smith College in history and African studies.

Christian Greer's bio photo

Dr. J. Christian Greer

Dr. J. Christian Greer is a scholar of Religious Studies with a special focus on psychedelics. He received his MA and PhD in Western esotericism from the History of Hermetic Philosophy department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). His forthcoming book, Angelheaded Hipsters: Psychedelic Militancy in Cold War America (Oxford University Press), analyzes the growth, diversification, and expansion of psychedelic culture within fanzine networks in the late Cold War era. He currently occupies a postdoctoral position at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University.

Jacob Green bio photo

Jacob Green

Jacob is a PhD candidate in the history of science, medicine and technology, and American history at UCLA. His dissertation investigates the role that psychoactive drugs like nitrous oxide, cannabis, peyote and caffeine played in psychology, philosophy and religious experience in the United States and Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Kevin Boehnke bio photo

Kevin Boehnke

Kevin Boehnke is a Research Investigator in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. Kevin completed his BS in Biology at the University of Michigan, and received his doctorate from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences in 2017. He is also a yoga instructor. His current research focuses on therapeutic applications of illicit or semi-licit substances (cannabis, psychedelics). His goal is to rigorously assess appropriate use of these substances and to help address the public health harms caused by their criminalization.

Lily Kay Ross bio photo

Lily Kay Ross

Lily Kay Ross, PhD has been taking a feminist approach to theorizing ethics in psychedelic spaces since 2009, especially with regard to sexual misconduct, abuses of power, charlatans, and the dominance of traditional gender norms in psychedelic spaces. Her PhD research looks at how neoliberal discourses burden victim/survivors of sexual violence with the directive to individually overcome social problems, and the trouble with posttraumatic growth. Her other projects advance best practice and evidence based policies and responses to sexual harm. She is a feminist writer, educator, and violence prevention facilitator. After a five year hiatus from psychedelics, she’s happy to be home.

Logan Neitzke-Spuruill bio photo

Logan Neitzke-Spuruill

Logan Neitzke-Spruill is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Delaware. His research interests include the sociocultural dimensions of drug experiences, embodied cognition, neuro-ethics, as well as the science, culture, and policy of psychoactive drugs. His dissertation investigates the emergence of the scientific/intellectual movement centered on psychedelics and examines how this movement challenges existing knowledge about drugs. Additionally, by critically engaging psychedelic research, he explores how psychedelics can advance our understanding of the interrelationship of culture, cognition, and the brain.
Logan’s past work focuses on how sociocultural phenomena shape drug experiences. Specifically, his previous research examines social determinants of overdose deaths, as well as how “set and setting” shape the interpretation of psychedelic experiences. His solo and co-authored work has appeared in Sociological Forum, Journal for Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Journal of Psychedelic Studies, and Journal of Psychoactive Substances”

Lynnette A. Averill bio photo

Lynnette A. Averill

Dr. Lynnette A. Averill is a leading expert in the psychoneurobiology of chronic stress pathology – namely posttraumatic stress, suicidality and rapid-acting interventions. Her research focuses on the fine-grained understanding of mechanisms underlying psychedelic medicines, the effects of chronic stress and trauma, and treatment response. She co-authored a recent manuscript reporting very positive outcomes of ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT treatment among Special Operations Forces Veterans. She has received honors and funding for her work from premier organizations including the American College for Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), International Society for Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM), Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Brain and Behavior Foundation (BBRF) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Dr. Averill is an Associate Professor at Baylor College of Medicine’s Menninger Department of Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Research Psychologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, maintains a faculty appointment at Yale School of Medicine and the National Center for PTSD and is a clinician and innovation expert advisor at NPSYT, PLLC. She is a founding board member for Source Research Foundation and Reason for Hope ~ Hope for Reason, two psychedelic-focused non-profit organizations. She served as subject matter expert for TX House Bill 1802 that passed with near unanimous bipartisan support and funds a clinical trial of psilocybin for Veterans with PTSD, which Dr. Averill will lead. She has served as a subject matter expert for Connecticut’s Psilocybin Work Group as well as testifying in special briefings in other states on matters relating to thoughtful legislation around psychedelic medicine and assisted therapies.

Maddie Pantoni bio photo

Maddie Pantoni

Dr. Maddie Pantoni (she/her/hers) is a Weill Neurohub Postdoctoral Fellow working with the Translational Psychedelic Research (TrPR) Program at UC San Francisco. She received her B.S. in Neurobiology and Psychology from UT Austin and her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from UC San Diego. Maddie’s research is focused on elucidating the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms of psychedelic therapies. Her ultimate goal as a psychopharmacologist is to advance to the development of novel, life-changing therapeutics for people with neuropsychiatric conditions. In her spare time, Maddie enjoys making music, woodworking, and horseback riding.

Marcelo Mattar bio photo

Marcelo Mattar

Marcelo Mattar is an Assistant Professor in the department of Cognitive Science at University of California, San Diego. His lab studies the neural computations that generate intelligent, goal-directed behavior, focusing primarily on: (i) how our memory systems build internal models of the world, and (ii) how we can use these representations to simulate the future when making a decision. His lab addresses these questions using behavioral experiments, neural recordings, and computational models formalized in the language of reinforcement learning. He is recruiting PhD students and postdocs, and is eager to develop new collaborations with both theorists and experimentalists.

Olivia Marcus

Olivia Marcus (she/her) completed her Phd in Medical Anthropology from the University of Connecticut and an MPH in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (5T32 DA007233), where she is conducting mixed-methods research on the design and evaluation of complex interventions to address addiction recovery and mental health issues in Indigenous/First Nations communities in Mexico and Canada. She is also working to co-develop a survey on integration practices among people who drink ayahuasca in the US and Canada. For the past few years, she has led the qualitative component of the mixed-methods Ayahuasca Treatment Outcome Project to assess outcomes for addiction recovery in an all-male therapeutic community in Peru. Olivia conducted her doctoral fieldwork in the upper Peruvian Amazon, where she investigated perceptions of mental wellness and healing among mestizo curanderos (i.e., vegetalistas) and their clientele.

Patti Zettler bio photo

Patti Zettler

Patti Zettler, JD is an associate professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a faculty member of Ohio State’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center and its Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research and teaching focus on FDA law and policy, torts, and legislation and regulation. Her scholarship has appeared in leading legal and health sciences journals such as the Food and Drug Law Journal, Indiana Law Journal, the Boston College Law Review, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Science, and has covered various topics including expanded access, stem cell interventions, opioids, cannabis products, tobacco and nicotine products, and COVID-19 countermeasures. Zettler also is a co-author of the forthcoming 5th edition of Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (with Peter Barton Hutt, Richard A. Merrill, Lewis A. Grossman, Nathan Cortez, and Erika Lietzan). She currently serves on the Food and Drug Law Institute’s (FDLI) Board of Directors and on the International Society of Cell & Gene Therapy’s Committee on the Ethics of Cell and Gene Therapy. Previously she served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Reviewing the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE), on FDLI’s Black Lives Matter Advisory Committee, on the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s Task Force to Revise Guidelines, on the Food and Drug Law Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board, and as a consultant to the NASEM Committee on Pain Management and Regulatory Strategies to Address Prescription Opioid Abuse. Before entering academics, Zettler served as an associate chief counsel in the Office of the Chief Counsel at FDA. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University, both with distinction.

Pearl Meyerson bio photo

Pearl Meyerson

Pearl Meyerson is a third-year medical student at the Florida State University College of Medicine (FSU COM). She is a first-generation college student and is interested in trauma-based care. She hopes to work alongside medication-assisted psychotherapy to help heal adults battling trauma that stems from childhood, and to serve in populations where a paucity of resources continues to delay equitable care. She has an interest in psychopharmacology and how these tools can be utilized to maximize healing alongside a supportive environment and lifestyle modifications. In 2021, Pearl served as Chair of the planning committee for Mental Health Awareness Week at the FSU COM. She is a mother to a three-year old rottweiler named Bear and a nine-year old cat named Callie. For balance, she likes to swim laps, bake, and spend time with her pets.

Robert A. Villa bio photo

Robert A. Villa

Robert A. Villa (36) is a Research Associate at the Desert Laboratory, University of Arizona, and president of Tucson Herpetological Society. He has been a bio-cultural scholar of the Sonoran Desert region from an early age, writing about it, and being consulted by media outlets for several years now. He has advocated for the conservation of the Sonoran Desert Toad in light of its growing and misguided demand as a source of 5-MeO-DMT.

Russell Hausfeld's bio photo

Russell Hausfeld

Russell Hausfeld is an investigative journalist and illustrator living in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been covering developments in the psychedelic space for the last five years with Psymposia, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Religious Studies from the University of Cincinnati. His work with Psymposia has been cited in Vice, The Nation, Frontiers in Psychology, New York Magazine’s “Cover Story: Power Trip” podcast, the Daily Beast, the Outlaw Report, Harm Reduction Journal, and more.

Ryan Natan bio photo

Ryan Natan

Ryan Natan is a neuroscientist whose research centers on understanding how neuronal circuits integrate sensory information, and more recently on how those processes are impacted by psychedelics, anesthetics and other psychoactive compounds. He earned his PhD in Maria Geffen’s Laboratory of Auditory Coding at the University of Pennsylvania,using emerging techniques like optogenetics to investigate how cortical circuits adapt to ongoing sound patterns. As a postdoctoral scientist in Na Ji’s laboratory at UC Berkeley, Ryan is helping to develop advanced 2-photon microscope imaging and apply the technology towards investigating sensory circuits, plasticity and neurotransmission in the visual cortex. Beyond his research, he developed and instructed the graduate-level course ‘The Neuroscience of Psychedelics’ with Professor David Presti. Ryan recently became a Nucleate Fellow with the Life Science Entrepreneurship Center focused on understanding neurotechnologies emerging from UC Berkeley. While organizing the first Psychedemia Conference poster session in 2012, Ryan was inspired to pursue basic research on the neuroscience of psychedelics, so he is stoked to get involved again! Since then he has stayed involved in the psychedelic research community, helped MAPS update the MDMA Investigator’s Brochure, volunteered with the Zendo project, and serves on the scientific advisory board of

Seth Crouser bio photo

Seth Crouser

Seth Crouser, M.D. is a Resident in his final year of training at the Summa Health Psychiatry Residency in Akron, Ohio. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from Ohio State University in 2018. As an undergraduate at Ohio University, he earned degrees in sociology and biology, with additional studies in botany and ecology. Throughout his medical training, he has specialized in the study and treatment of trauma, substance use disorders, and mood disorders, with an emphasis on psychotherapy, community mental health, and the emerging field of psychedelic therapies. He has also participated in numerous workshops and conferences focusing on the topics of holistic and integrative medicine including mind-body therapies, traditional Chinese medicine, shamanism, herbal medicine, and nutrition, as well as psychedelic therapies including ketamine psychotherapy. An avid practitioner of yoga and meditation, Seth also studied global health, psychiatry, and ayurvedic medicine at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India.

Yarelix Estrada bio photo

Yarelix Estrada

Yarelix Estrada is a first-generation Central American, drug policy and harm reduction researcher, and community outreach worker. Yarelix works as a City Research Scientist with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducting community-based harm reduction outreach and research. Her work is currently largely focused on implementation of the first drug checking research study in New York City with local syringe service programs. She is also the director of the New York City Psychedelic Society, is on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Recovery Alliance, the Board of Directors for the Source Research Foundation, on the Advisory Board of the psychedelic media group Psymposia and is an organizer with the Urban Survivors Union and the Alliance for Collaborative Drug Checking. She received her Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.