UC Berkeley launches center for psychedelic science and public education

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Neuroscientist Michael Silver, inaugural director of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Photo: 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.”

Michael Pollan, a journalist and bestselling author, is one of the center’s founding members. Photo: UC Berkeley/Bonnie Azab Powell

Other acclaimed co-founders of the center include psychologist Dacher Keltner, who studies the mental and physiological …

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