Head of the Research Center
The center is primarily devoted to research into the neurobiology of the effect and therapeutic use of psychedelics and other psychoactive substances. The research activities bring together the preclinical and clinical team in one unit with the aim of covering the issue of psychedelics from the molecular level, analytical methods, experiments with tissue cultures, behavioral experiments on animals, neuroimaging approaches to classic clinical evaluations with a clear therapeutic focus. In preclinical experiments, great emphasis is placed on the translational validity of the data.
In addition to the study of psychedelics as such, we also study the phenomenon of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and cannabinoids. In preclinical experiments, the topics of neuroplasticity as a basis for the antidepressant effects of psychedelics, electrophysiological correlates of the effects of psychedelics and studies of acute effects and toxicity of NPS are currently being addressed. In clinical experiments, we are completing a clinical trial studying the effects and their neurobiology after the administration of psilocybin in healthy volunteers, and we are currently conducting a clinical trial comparing the antidepressant effect of psilocybin with ketamine in patients with treatment-resistant depression. The center's clinical staff is also actively involved in solving contracted research with psychedelics.
The research team is closely connected to other NIMH research centers and programs, especially the Clinical Research Program, the Center for Advanced Studies of the Brain and Consciousness, and the Preclinical Research Program. The center closely cooperates with the Laboratory of Forensic Analysis of Biologically Active Substances (BAFA) at University of Chemical Technology and has also established cooperation with a number of foreign workplaces, e.g. University of Maastricht, Neurobiology Research Unit in Copenhagen, University of Lisbon, in Portugal and a number of other partners. In addition to classic grant projects, the center's research activities are also supported through the psychedelic research foundation PSYRES.