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National Institutes of Health Psilocybin Research Speaker Series—June 10, 2021 Lecture

Date: June 10, 2021 - 12:30 p.m. ET to 3:45 p.m. ET

Virtual, Registration is required

Read a summary of this speaker series and about additional research on psilocybin and other psychedelics:

Overview and Objectives for NIH Psilocybin Research Speaker Series

Overview: Psilocybin is the natural, active compound found in more than 200 species of fungi, which are more commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms.” When ingested, psilocybin is converted by the body to psilocin, which has hallucinogenic mind-altering properties. These naturally occurring mushrooms have been used anthropologically worldwide by indigenous cultures for centuries in the context of religious or spiritual healing ceremonies. Psilocybin is currently a Schedule I substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I classification defines chemicals or substances that, currently, have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Advances in clinical trials, however, are researching psilocybin to treat cancer-related depression, for example, and moreover for its potential medicinal application in treating a range of severe psychiatric disorders, such as major depressive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder, and other substance use disorders, as well as anorexia. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted two breakthrough therapy designations for psilocybin, one for treatment-resistant depression in 2018, and a second for major depressive disorder in 2019.

The Trans-NIH Integrative Medicine Course Organizing Committee hosted the first-ever National Institutes of Health Psilocybin Research Speaker Series from April 22, 2021 to June 10, 2021. This time-sensitive, comprehensive speaker series brought together the world’s leading experts, including scientists, physician-scientists, clinical psychologists, and oncologists. Additionally, in order to provide a comprehensive discussion, there was representation from additional disciplines engaged in this rapidly growing field of research, including experts representing patient advocacy, law, government science policy, as well as regulatory policy.


  • Education: provide time-sensitive and evidence-based scientific information, utilizing expert speakers from academia, government, and the community.
  • Research: assess the current state of the science; identify research gaps and opportunities regarding future research needs for investigation among diverse research communities.

For further information or questions about the Psilocybin Research Speaker Series, contact: Dan Xi, Ph.D. (, Ann Berger, M.D. (, or David Shurtleff, Ph.D. (

Agenda for June 10, 2021 (NIH Psilocybin Research Speaker Series)

12:30–1:00 p.m.
Psychedelics in Headache Medicine: Historical, Neuropharmacological, Neuroanatomical, and Clinical Evidence
Emmanuelle Schindler, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine, Medical Director, Headache Center of Excellence, VA Connecticut Healthcare System

1:00–1:40 p.m. 
Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy for Advanced Cancer-Related Psychiatric and Existential Distress
Stephen Ross, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry at New York University Grossman School of Medicine

1:40–2:15 p.m.
Psychedelic Medicine and Ethics
Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Mason Marks, M.D., J.D., Assistant Professor of Law, Gonzaga University
William Smith, M.D., Ph.D., Psychiatry Resident, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

2:15–3:45 p.m.
Final Panel Discussion

  • All speakers
  • Event Planning Committee
  • Sharmin Ghaznavi, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics, and Director of Center’s Cognitive Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Michael Silver, Ph.D., Director, University of California Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics
  • Stephen Xenakis, M.D., Brigadier General (Ret), U.S. Army
  • Marta Sokolowska, Ph.D., Associate Director for Controlled Substances, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Frank Weichold, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor for the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Office of the Commissioner, FDA
  • Susan Weiss, Ph.D., Director, Division of Extramural Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Steve Zalcman, M.D., Chief, Adult Pathophysiology and Biological Interventions Branch, Division of Translational Research, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

Other Events in This Series