Welcome to PsychedelX

PsychedelX is a student talk competition where passionate students discuss their visions of an integrated psychedelic future.

The competition features future leaders in psychiatry, neuroscience, and the humanities. These are the ideas that can change the world.

Psychedelx 2021 Programme

February 22 - 27, 2021

▶️ Monday, February 22nd

1.1: PsychedelX-wide Happenings 🎉

All presentations go live on YouTube at 12:00 PM EST
People's choice voting begins (like your favorite videos to vote!)

1.2: Opening Act: "I am a Psychedelic Student"

Elin Ahlstrand
11:00 - 11:20 AM EST

EVENT OVER -- Watch Elin's Talk!

1.3: Graduate Student Panel

Ari Brouwer, Maria Bălăeț, Haley Dourron, Victor Acero
12:00 - 1:00 PM EST

Learn moreEVENT OVER -- Watch the panel here!

▶️ Tuesday, February 23th

2.1: PsychedelX-wide Happenings 🎉

Vote for your favorites 😇

2.2: Psychotherapy Panel

Hannah McLane, Ben Sessa, Jahan Khamsehzadeh, Friederike Meckel Fischer
1:00 - 2:00 PM EST

Learn moreEVENT OVER -- Watch the panel here!

▶️ Wednesday, February 24th

3.1: PsychedelX-wide Happenings 🎉

Vote for your favorites 😇

3.2: Policy Panel

Hadas Alterman, Hannah Procell, Scott Cecil, Robert Hofmann
5:00 - 6:00 PM EST

Learn moreEVENT OVER -- Watch the panel here!

▶️ Thursday, February 25th

4.1: PsychedelX-wide Happenings 🎉

Vote for your favorites 😇

4.2: Academic Panel

Robin Carhart-Harris, Manoj Doss, Peter Hendricks
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST

Learn moreEVENT OVER -- Watch the panel here!

▶️ Friday, February 26th

5.1: PsychedelX-wide Happenings 🎉

Vote for your favorites 😇

5.2: Industry Panel

Eesmyal Santos-Braut, Ronan Levy, Marik Hazan
12:00 - 1:30 PM EST

Learn more

5.3: Yoga Nidra Workshop

Facilitated by Tate Ankenbrandt
4:30 - 5:30 PM EST

Learn moreEVENT OVER

▶️ Saturday, February 27th

6.1: PsychedelX-wide Happenings 🎉

People's choice voting comes to an end!
Vote for your favorites before noon EST!

6.2: Finale Event!🎉

Watch the top 6 speakers present live to our panel of judges
12:00 - 3:00 PM EST

Register for the Finale

this year's speakers

LINKS to their talks: coming soon

Katherine Lyman

Psychosis and Spiritual Experiences: A Comparative Study

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Katherine Lyman is a 5th-year student at the Stanford School of Medicine, and plans to begin a psychiatry residency starting June 2021, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in academic psychiatry. Katherine was born in Indiana but grew up moving throughout the Midwest and southeastern US, spending most of her childhood in South Carolina and North Carolina. She is the daughter of professional musicians and grew up playing classical piano, which led her to major in music as an undergraduate before shifting course towards medicine. Katherine has been studying people’s experiences of psychosis and spiritual experiences for the past several years. When she learned about PsychedelX, she decided this would be the perfect forum for sharing some of her findings, as well as being able to think more profoundly about the role of psychedelics in psychiatry today. When she’s not at the hospital or interviewing people about their spiritual experiences, Katherine enjoys hiking, yoga, running, foraging wild fruits, and playing classical chamber music.

Yana Lazarova-Weng

The Neural Mechanisms of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

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Yana is a sophomore at Harvard University, studying Neuroscience with a secondary in Metaphysics and Epistemology. When she isn’t busy debating dualism vs. monism in her own head, she enjoys playing violin, painting and practicing martial arts. She is currently involved in cognitive neuropsychology research and plans to continue research throughout college, although she ultimately hopes to get involved in anti-human trafficking efforts. Raised by immigrant parents in a household that thrived upon the mix of Bulgarian and Chinese culture, she came to understand the importance of exploring the intersection between parts of her identity that, at first glance, seemed to be in contrast. She applies this notion to all other parts of her life, which led to her interest in psychedelic therapy - an intersection between very different topics. She hopes to challenge the stigma surrounding “illicit” drugs and begin a dialogue that allows others to consider psychedelics in an unbiased way. She is driven by her personal experiences with mental illness, interest in neuroscience and passion for helping others.

Sofia Schlozman

How To Characterize Psilocybin Therapy and Why This Question Matters

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Sofia is a current junior at Stanford University studying Human Biology with a concentration in neuroscience. She first became interested in psychedelic science through her position as an undergraduate researcher with the Heifets Lab at Stanford, a research group focused on better understanding and improving ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA-based therapies for the treatment of psychiatric illness. Exposure to this research allowed her to develop an interest in psychedelic medicine more generally and, specifically, how these novel compounds can be utilized to better understand psychiatric illness and explore the limitations of the healthcare system. After graduating, Sofia is planning to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician.

Nico Calderón-Hunt

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder with Psychedelics

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Born and raised in New Zealand / Aotearoa, Nico graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Anatomy and Physiology, and is currently studying Medicine at the University of Auckland. He is passionate about mental health and the emerging therapeutic applicability of psychedelics, with a particular interest in Psychiatry and the psychedelic-assisted treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. Furthermore, when not studying, Nico also enjoys playing music and experiencing what Nature has to offer. His interests have been further reinforced both professionally, in the context of academic research, as well as personally, having experienced firsthand the incredible improvement in wellbeing that can be inspired through the safe use of psychedelics. This has served as the driving force behind his involvement in PsychedelX, during which he hopes to share what he has learnt, and to learn more from what others hope to share.

Michelle Menkoff, Lake Lamb

Psychedelic Authenticity

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Lake and Michelle are fourth year students at the Ohio State University. Michelle studies Behavioral Systems Neuroscience with two minors in Spanish and Andean and Amazonian Studies. Lake is an International Relations and Diplomacy major with a minor in Integrative Approaches to Health and Wellness. They are co-leaders of the Psychedelic Association at OSU who are both interested about learning and integrating indigenous epistemologies into the modern psychedelic medicinal model. Michelle enjoys cooking and doing yoga in different places in her house or around the world. Lake is a self-proclaimed tea connoisseur who enjoys getting lost in the woods in his free time. They hope to inspire reciprocity and psychedelic authenticity through the natural lens in their presentation.

Mario Alonso Martínez Cordero - AKA "Oneiros"

Hermeneutics & Mediation

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Mario Alonso Martínez Cordero, AKA “Oneiros”, from Mexico, is director of Vía Synapsis, the group that organizes the Congresses on Psychoactive Substances at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He is the academic director of MINDSURF, (www.mindsurf.org), an educational platform that provides education on psychonautics and expanded states of consciousness. Master in Philosophy of Religion from UNAM, with a thesis project on the "Hermeneutics of Dreams and Visions: the links between the dreamlike and the sacred". He completed a training in Transpersonal Psychology, and a diploma in History and Anthropology of Religions. He works at the Nierika A.C. Multidisciplinary Association for the Preservation of Sacred Plants (www.nierika.info), and participates in a research project on "Dialogue of knowledges about psilocybin-containing mushrooms" in Mexico, where traditional indigenous medicine meets modern psychotherapy. He is the author of the book "Navigating the infinite sea of thought: an introduction to philosophy" and "Onirocosmos: manual for working and exploring the universe of dreams" and offers workshops on dreamwork, lucid dreaming and integration of psychedelic experiences.

Maria Bălăeț

Uncovering Psychedelic Cognition

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Maria Balaet is currently pursuing a PhD in Computational Neuroscience at Imperial College London. Alongside, she is leading a project that uses remote cognitive testing technology for exploring the effects of psychedelics on cognition: https://psychedelics.cognitron.co.uk. She is particularly interested in using empirically gathered evidence (specifically from large scale naturalistic studies) to drive the public discourse around psychedelics.

Lucas Grozdanovski

Voluntarily Entered States of Selflessness

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Lucas is from Melbourne, Australia and is currently completing my Honours in Philosophy at Monash University and working as a casual high school teacher. His greatest passion has always been philosophy and the pursuit of knowledge, which is eventually what led him to his interest and fascination with psychedelics. Lucas hopes to pursue a career in academia, or at least in something where he can further explore and understand the nature of the psychedelic experience and its implications on one's understanding of the self and our existence, in both a Western and Eastern context, and how this may help us to live a truly good life. PsychedelX has been an amazing opportunity to integrate his love for philosophy and academics, and his passion for psychedelics, all the while connecting with similarly driven people. Other than this, Lucas loves traveling, music, nature and martial arts!

Louis Belleau

The Psygaia Hypothesis: An Introduction

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Louis first experienced the transformative potential of psychedelics by overcoming depression with psilocybin mushrooms in late adolescence. In response to these experiences, he began studying and practicing Zen Buddhism and Ashtanga yoga. Subsequently, he studied at McGill University, earning a bachelor’s degree in December 2020 with majors in Psychology, Philosophy and Religious Studies. While studying at McGill over the last few years Louis has been teaching yoga, continuing his Buddhist practice, and building www.howtousepsychedelics.com in aim of democratizing education for safe and effective healing and growth with psychedelics. Louis joined PsychedelX as an opportunity to refine his Psygaia hypothesis through peer collaboration and the development of a presentation. Louis believes that used effectively through a harmonious combination of Western scientific knowledge and traditional Indigenous knowledge, the wholesome integration of psychedelics into society and culture will lay foundations for a multigenerational process of healing, social transformation, and ecological regeneration.

Katie Stone

Psychedelic Midwifery: Conceiving a Post-Renaissance Paradigm

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Katie Stone is a PhD Candidate at CIIS where she explores the intersections of altered states, wom(b)en's health, and ecospiritual ritual practices. She is a student organizer and drug policy reform activist, grounding my spiritually focused research in critical theories that support the collective liberation of our planet from the systems of domination my generation inherited. She holds an integrated view of psychedelic healthcare, and post-grad is creating an ecohospice research center to support families moving through the transitions of life and death in a more naturally aesthetic, non-clinical environment. She is a book worm, permaculture nerd, and vocal advocate of community based participatory research models as a means of preserving the integrity of psychedelic research amidst unscrupulous investment in folk medicines. Katie envisions (and works toward) a society living in homeostasis with its environment, a future where true bodily autonomy, personal sovereignty, and sacred reciprocity are valued and restored in the cultural psyche.

Isaac Olushola Ogunkola

A Christian Perspective to Harm Reduction: Is God the first harm reductionist?

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Isaac Olushola Ogunkola is an Ambassador of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in the UK, an Ambassador of Tobacco Harm Reduction in Nigeria, and the Pioneer President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at the University of Calabar in Nigeria. He is an accomplished graphic designer also, and recently won the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) poster competition for International Drug User Day. In 2020 he was shortlisted among 5 global finalists for the “Student of the Year” award by Antibiotic Guardian Shared Learning Awards developed by Public Health England (PHE) for his project on antimicrobial resistance. He is an early career researcher at Global Health Focus Africa, with a number of publications in reputable international peer-reviewed journals. Isaac is passionate about unifying harm reduction, public health and human rights harmoniously. He is looking forward to a master's degree in health equity after completing his undergraduate studies. Isaac loves communicating ideas especially complex ideas to people in its simplest form. This drive made him joined the PsychedelX talk program.

Elizabeth Gleyzer

How the Beats and Nature Sparked the West Coast Psychedelic Movement

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Elizabeth, a proud Pacific Northwest native from Tacoma, WA, recently graduated from Georgetown University with degrees in American Musical Culture and Government. She loves making music, spending time in nature, ecstatic dance, travel/adventure by backpack or van, and writing poetry! Her dream is to start a nature-based creative intentional community, and to work with the natural world through an environmental non-profit or the National Park Service. PsychedelX excites her because storytelling and idea-sharing hold immense power for inspiring both personal and societal change!

Dustin Garner

Yarning Psychedelics: Embracing Indigenous Voices

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Dustin Garner is a soon-to-be graduating senior at UC Santa Barbara studying Biochemistry. He is fascinated by all aspects of the natural world, and is becoming a scientist as a result. His interests in psychedelics have bloomed over the past two years upon hearing stories about the life-changing experiences they bring as well as the neuroscientific implications of reliable alterations in consciousness. He sees psychedelics not only as medicines for mental health, but as tools for people to become closer to nature and build communities. Studying psychedelics led him to become a technician in a neuroscience lab and the secretary of the Psychedelic Club chapter at his school. Through PsychedelX, he hopes to promote the importance of bridging the gap between Western science and indigenous wisdom resulting from millennia of psychedelic use. In his free time, he plays piano and cello, spends time in nature, and practices learning Spanish.

Connor Flanigan

The Embodied Model Hypothesis: Mimetic Theory Meets Psychedelics

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Born in Chicago, raised in Canton, MI. Connor is a Junior studying engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. He is nterested in anything that can make lives better - technology, psychology, business, product, health and nutrition. Connor's past experiences have been tech/pm and consulting roles, but right now he has been building a clothing startup focused on building global empathy through a novel buying process. The chance someone can utilize the ideas he has put together is powerful motivation for Connor to participate in PsychedelX, but he is also excited to learn in public and have a platform to interact with the Psychedelic community at scale. Feel free to reach out at cflanig@umich.edu to connect!

Caitlin Thompson

The Psychedelic Microbiome

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During her healing process from Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, PTSD, pain, and a plethora of other autoimmune symptoms, neurobiologist Caitlin Thompson became fascinated with the microbiome and the gut-brain connection. As a chronic illness survivor and psychedelic enthusiast, Caitlin started to marry these two passions by exploring the connection between the microbiome, autoimmunity and psychedelics. Caitlin is an independent scientific researcher and is conducting research on the potential of psychedelic compounds as a novel approach to autoimmune conditions, as well as the first human kambo studies. She is also an active Kambo practitioner and advocate. Her greatest passion is sharing her healing journey and using it to inspire and empower others with the knowledge that everyone has the innate ability to heal themselves.

Andrew Zuckerman

Collecting Qualia Souvenirs With QRI's Tracer Tool

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Andrew is currently the executive director of Qualia Research Institute (QRI) where he builds QRI’s core multi-year strategy, organization infrastructure, management and publishing standards, and develops their research program. Before this role, he studied computer science at Harvard and was the co-founder of the Harvard Undergraduate Science of Psychedelics Club. He is interested in working on problems that make the world a better place and believes that cultivating the emerging field of consciousness research is the best way to make progress toward that future. On the side, Andrew enjoys hiking, meditation, film, and photography (you can view his creative work at andzuck.com). Andrew is participating in PsychedelX because he thinks it is important to normalize psychedelic substances in our culture and promote high-quality science communication.

Alberto Cantizani López

The Case for Ethnography of Psychedelic Efficacies

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Alberto is a student of medical anthropology and sociology at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests focus on the intersection of mental health, drug use and harm reduction from the perspectives of anthropology and science studies (STS). He has collaborated in several psychedelic organizations and conferences with the goal of fostering interdisciplinary dialogue within the field of psychedelic science. Currently he is conducting multisited ethnographic fieldwork in clinical research contexts in the Netherlands as part of his master thesis about the medicalization of psilocybin mushrooms.

Mackenzie Amara

Up from the Depths: Psychedelics, Dreams, & The Underworld

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By trade Mackenzie is a writer, researcher, & 5Rhythms® teacher. By vocation she is a Jungian analyst-in-training & Clinical Psychology doctoral student. By design she is a collection of fractal, holographic cells dancing around some strange attractor for the sake of who knows what to live an insignificant, mythic life reflective of the mysterious vital spark within her. She identifies as a series of memories & unverifiable subjective experiences of self-hood to which she is rather fondly attached. She has a penchant for scholarship, the occult, pedantic erudition, morbid humor, grandiosity, nihilism, & semi-responsible hedonism. Born in the shadow of New Age culture into a fractured family system & the subjective experiencer of (arguably) extreme early childhood trauma, her life’s work is to heal psychic wounds—her’s & other’s—that she & others become strong enough to contend with the unconscious quicksands & transpersonal abysses which lap at the periphery of developing consciousness. She is an emergent property of Being playing at becoming sovereign. She really, really loves butter.

Alex Sielaff

On The Role of Death Anxiety in Psychedelic Therapy

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Alex is a 2nd year Social Psychology PhD student at the University of Arizona conducting research at the intersection of experimental existential psychology and the psychedelic sciences. Through his research he aims to answer questions like "Why do people report less fear of death after their psychedelic experiences?" Alex earned his BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. He served 9 years active duty in the US Air Force as a computer network engineer prior to his academic pursuits. He has enjoyed teaching snowboarding, skydiving, yoga, and meditation at various times in his life. After grad school, he will continue conducting research in an academic setting, bringing the unique theoretical and experimental skillset of a social psychologist to the interdisciplinary psychedelic science scene. Alex is also always striving to be a better science communicator because he believes everyone benefits in a scientifically literate society.

Alice Sitar

Embodiment in Psychedelics: The Role of Our Body and Sensuality

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Alice Sitar is an Israeli graduate of the B.SC program of Management Information Systems and a current student for a Couple's Therapy internship. She loves to explore Femininity and Sensuality through the body, how to heal our emotional and physical wellbeing, and how to help cultivate better relationships with ourselves, our own bodies, other people, and nature itself. Alice has 10 years of experience as a Customer Experience Associate for both B2B and B2C startups with passion towards Wellness, Startups and the Psychedelic Movement, followed by a 5 year career as a Health, Emotions & Sexuality Coach. Nowadays beautifully combining the two worlds of Business and Spirituality working for Breethe (a meditation app) and on her own ventures. She is a graduate of the International School of the Temple Arts, a yoga and movement teacher and workshop facilitator, a Shaman and Fire Keeper, and a manifestor of love temples, sacred spaces, and harmony.

Sheer Karny

Where Do You Start and I End?

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I'm an undergrad studying Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley and have been interested in the nature of the psychedelic experience ever since my first encounter with it. My research interests in psychedelia are currently focused on understanding if psychedelics modulate the developmental process of pro-sociality. I hypothesize that the Theory of Mind can be used as an index for my research pursuit. So, using a cognitive neuroscientific approach to the Theory of Mind, I will attempt elucidate a relationship between commonly reported pro-social psychedelic phenomena — like the experience of oneness— and the human condition in general. My talk will follow the developmental stages of the Theory of Mind starting at infancy and through a seventeen year-old's right of passage ceremony with a psychedelic medicine.Beyond this, I love activities that complement and integrate the lessons I've learned from psychedelic medicines — surfing, reading, backpacking, rock-climbing, and laughing with my friends.

This year's judges

Bryan McCarthy, PhD

Thomas Roberts, PhD

Taylor Lyons, PhD

Manoj Doss, PhD

Eesmyal Santos-Braut

This year's Panelists

policy panel

This panel will explore the past and future of drug policy reform. We will discuss major events of 2020, how to change policy (from coalition building to policy memos), obstacles to affecting policy change, what drug policy work might look like in the coming year, and much more.

Robert Hoffman

Hannah Procell

Hadas Alterman

Scott Cecil

Industry panel

Do you want to create technologies that will help better our psychedelic future? Are you passionate about creating novel healthcare spaces, models, and business practices? This panel features leading industry experts in the psychedelics ecosystem, focused on venture capital, social entrepreneurship, and psychedelic therapy. We'll learn their stories, what they believe is the future for psychedelic business, and how we can use psychedelics to inspire better economics, governance, and social dynamics.

Marik Hazan

Eesmyal Santos-Braut

Ronan Levy


Do you dream of running a clinical trial? What about scanning people’s brains under the acute effects of psychoactive substances? This panel will feature leading experts in psychedelic research in neuroscience, psychology, and public health. We will learn about their stories of how they started psychedelics-focused research, the challenges they faced, as well as their advice for students hoping to do similar research one day.

Robin Carhart-Harris, PhD

Manoj Doss, PhD

Peter Hendricks, PhD

psychotherapy PANEL

Do you picture yourself running a psychedelic-assisted therapy clinic one day? Do you want to help hold space for what may be one of the most meaningful experiences of someone's life? If so, tune into this panel, where we discuss how becoming either a psychiatrist or psychologist can offer a path to serving patients directly. Hear the stories of leading clinicians and their advice on how to best prepare for a career as a clinician or psychiatrist.

Friederike Meckel-Fisher, MD

Hannah McLane, MD

Ben Sessa, MD

Jahan Khamsehzadeh, PhD


Are you serious about studying psychedelics? For many people, this means attending a graduate program is their next step. Find out more about current graduate students' experience applying to programs, what their recommendations are for research experience and extracurricular are for undergraduates, as well as their experiences in graduate school. (In the UK, “graduate school” is postgraduate school).

Haley Dourron

Ari Brouwer

Maria Bălăeț

Victor Acero

yoga nidra workshop

Are you interested in exploring voluntarily entered altered states of consciousness? Yoga Nidra is a practice by which one can enter a state in between sleeping and waking, or hypnagogia. Tate Ankenbrandt will be leading us into these states with a guided meditation.

Tate Ankenbrandt