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Psychedelics Research

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    Queen's co-releases rapid review
    of the evidence on psychedelics as
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    Psychedelics Research

Psychedelic-assisted therapies have resulted in transformative experiences for many individuals, as well as the practitioners who have worked with them. However, despite the wealth of anecdotal evidence gathered to date, the scientific basis for the use of psychedelics is insufficient. In addition to the need for more basic science about how psychedelics work on the brain, psychedelic-assisted therapies require the development of best practice standards, modernized regulatory policy, practitioner training, and public education.

Since 2021, the Dimensions Health Research Collaborative has taken a multi-pronged approach to supporting research and knowledge translation in the area of psychedelic-assisted therapy. The collaborative serves as an interdisciplinary space for research, innovation and knowledge translation in the field of psychedelics, and as a platform to connect experts across campus and stakeholders and partners in the broader community.

Our goals are: 

  • Furthering existing research and broadening the scope of psychedelic-assisted therapies and the psychedelics sector 
  • Building awareness of the healing potential of psychedelics, and supporting early entry into the scientific and regulatory landscape; 
  • Laying a foundation for the development of policy that is ethical and evidence-informed;
  • Supporting training, education, and knowledge translation for healthcare providers;
  • Aiding the development of best practice standards to ensure the safety, quality, and effectiveness of therapies, helping to ensure the sector’s long-term growth and sustainability

 The collaborative is aligned with Faculty of Health Sciences' commitment to supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) learners, staff and faculty, and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative, launched in fall 2020. 

The Dimensions Health Research Collaborative was founded with support from the Dimensions Health Fund in support of the Study of Psychedelics, established by Dimensions Health Centres (“Dimensions”). For further information on the collaborative, including opportunities to partner, please contact David Clements, executive director, at dmc14@queensu.ca.

News & Announcements

Queen’s appoints 3 new members to Psychedelic Science Advisory Committee

April 20, 2023

Queen’s Health Sciences is pleased to welcome three new members to the university’s Psychedelic Science Advisory Committee.

The committee provides advice on science matters related to the field of psychedelics and human health to the Dimensions Health Research Collaborative, including timely scientific, technical, and methodological advice related to the conduct of research in psychedelics. This includes vetting and advice related to the pursuit of pre-clinical and clinical research opportunities, as well as support for translational research, implementation science, and health services and policy research.

“In the evolving and interdisciplinary field of psychedelics research, it is vital to be guided by the best scientific expertise, and I am grateful for the ongoing contributions of this advisory committee,” said David Clements, executive director for the Dimensions Health Research Collaborative.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as the chair of the committee and to help lead the emergence of psychedelics research in Canada,” said Dr. Claudio Soares, chair of the collaborative’s Psychedelic Science Advisory Committee. “It is my pleasure to welcome the new members and I look forward to working with them.”

New members of the committee are:

Fernanda De Felice

Fernanda De Felice is an Associate Professor at the Center for Neurosciences Studies & Departments of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and Psychiatry at Queen’s. Dr. De Felice obtained her B.Sc. Degree in Biology at UFRJ in 1994. She obtained her M.Sc. (1997) and her Ph.D. (2002) degrees in Biological Chemistry in the Institute of Medical Biochemistry at UFRJ. Dr. De Felice performed her postdoctoral training on Neurobiology of Alzheimer’s Disease under the supervision of Prof. William Klein at the Department of neurobiology & Physiology at Northwestern University, USA, from 2005 to 2008. Dr. De Felice’s research sits at the interface between AD and metabolism and her group made pioneering contributions on the links between AD, diabetes, and inflammation. Dr. De Felice led innovative studies on the actions of hormones in Alzheimer’s disease. She conducted seminal work on the mechanisms leading to defective insulin signaling in Alzheimer’s disease. Her recent study showing that irisin, an exercise-linked hormone, has protective actions in AD has received widespread interest from the scientific community and media all over the World. Her studies, along with clinical observations, have contribute to understand how neuronal dysfunction occurs in the brains of AD patients and are contributing to comprehend how lifestyle interventions, in particular physical exercise, have the potential to preserve brain health and prevent or delay AD.

Erika Dyck

Erika Dyck is a Professor and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the History of Health & Social Justice at the University of Saskatchewan. She is the author or co-author of several books, including: Psychedelic Psychiatry (2008); A Culture’s Catalyst: Historical Encounters with Peyote and the Native American Church in Canada (2016); Psychedelic Prophets: The Letters of Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond (2018); and co-author of The Acid Room: the psychedelic trials and tribulations of Hollywood Hospital (2022); and Expanding Mindscapes: a global history of psychedelics (2023). She is a board member of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.  

Tracy J. Trothen

Tracy J. Trothen is a Professor of Ethics at Queen’s University (jointly appointed to the School of Religion and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy), specializing in enhancement ethics, sport, spirituality, theology, and aging adults. She is the author or editor of numerous articles, chapters, and ten books, including the award-winning co-authored 2021 book, Religion and the Technological Future: An Introduction to Biohacking, A.I., and Transhumanism. She co-chairs the American Academy of Religion's (AAR) Artificial Intelligence Seminar and is a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR). She is also a certified Supervisor-Educator in Clinical Spiritual Care (Canadian Association for Spiritual Care), with experience as a clinical spiritual care professional. She participates in the Transforming Chaplaincy Psychedelic Care Network, which "convenes professional spiritual care professionals, researchers and educators engaged in or pursuing opportunities to begin psychedelic-assisted therapies … to support safe and ethical practices rooted in principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion [and] to discuss current research and emerging best practices in psychedelic-assisted care, to contribute to this emerging field."

The three new members began their two-year terms on April 1, 2023. They join six continuing members who began their terms on April 1, 2022:

  • Claudio Soares (chair) is a medical doctor and psychiatrist and Executive Lead for the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND). He is also a clinical researcher with large experience in clinical trials. His clinical and research work has been focused on the management of mood and anxiety disorders across the life span, including: (1) Women’s mental health and the role of hormones as precipitating factors or treatment options for depression. (2) Signature markers of treatment response to new interventions in Psychiatry (e.g., antidepressants, ketamine, rTMS, and emerging treatments such as psychedelics) mobile health technologies and wearables for real-time symptom monitoring and relapse prevention, and (3) The management of depression, anxiety, pain and other psychological symptoms in Oncology and Palliative Medicine settings.
  • Jean Mathews is a palliative care physician and assistant professor in the School of Medicine at Queen’s. His areas of interest are global oncology palliative care, advanced pain management, and telehealth palliative care. He has been published in several peer-reviewed oncology and palliative care journals and he is working on research projects in Canada and in India, to improve access to early palliative care. He completed a clinical and research fellowship in palliative care at University of Toronto, and prior to that, was working in palliative care in India. His interest in psychedelic research is specifically focused on their applications for existential distress and other physical and psychosocial suffering in patients with life-limiting illnesses. While in Toronto, he assisted with recruitment for a study investigating the role of intranasal ketamine for existential distress for patients admitted to the palliative care unit and requesting Medical Assistance in Dying
  • Keith Williams is Director of Research and Social Innovation for the First Nations Technical Institute, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. He currently sits on the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board – Products Subcommittee. Keith has a master’s degree in mycology and a Ph.D. in higher education looking at the potential for food systems transformation in an Indigenous-run and community-based Indigenous institute. Keith believes that psychedelics hold significant promise for reconnecting humanity with our more-than-human kin (all our relations). He is also interested in ensuring that the psychedelic renaissance does not exclude Indigenous Peoples and wants to build bridges with Indigenous communities for research and treatment.
  • Don Husereau is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at The University of Ottawa. He does freelance health care research and works with private and public sector life sciences organizations to help them understand the value of health technology and its implications for health and innovation policy.
  • Bob Nakagawa B.Sc.(Pharm.), FCSHP, ACPR, has had an extensive career in government, professional regulation, health administration and pharmacy. Most recently, he served as Registrar/ CEO of the College of Pharmacists of BC. Prior to that he was Assistant Deputy Minister for Pharmaceutical Services in the BC Ministry of Health. He has served in numerous leadership positions, including President of the College of Pharmacists of BC, President of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Chair of the Medical Services Commission of BC, the Federal Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and BC’s Drug Benefits Council. He is currently a member of the Oversight Committee for the Therapeutics Initiative at UBC.
  • Elena Koning is a PhD Student in Clinical Neuroscience at Queen’s University. She has investigated the use of psilocybin as a novel treatment for dysfunctional eating behavior in psychiatric illness and has investigated the concept of “metabolic jet lag” in bipolar disorder; designed and planned a feasibility study focused on the investigation of eating rhythm disruption and clinical outcomes in bipolar disorder and identified and characterized eating behavioral phenotypes in the mood disorder population as well as implications for clinical care.

The next scheduled round of appointments to the committee will take place in spring 2024, and potential candidates should continue to submit their applications here. Future appointments will continue to be aligned with QHS’s commitment to supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) learners, staff and faculty, and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative, launched in fall 2020. 

The Dimensions Health Research Collaborative was launched in summer 2021 and is enabled by a generous donation from Dimensions Health Centres

Queen's co-releases rapid review of the evidence on psychedelics as medicine

Oct 13, 2022

Psychedelic research is rapidly expanding, and the potential therapeutic benefits of various psychedelic compounds have caught the attention of clinicians, scientists, policy makers and the general public. This one-of-a-kind publication, produced in collaboration with the Homewood Research Institute, is a rapid review of published literature on psychedelics as medicines and serves to bring together and explore a vast body of varied literature. As an ambtious act of knowledge synthesis and translation, it aims to inform the next generation of research and influence emerging practices of clinical care.

Call for Future Members: Psychedelic Science Advisory Committee

20 April 2022

The Dimensions Health Research collaborative continues to seek volunteer members for its inaugural Psychedelic Science Advisory Committee, which will provide advice to the Collaborative on science matters related to the field of psychedelics and human health. This includes the pursuit of pre-clinical and clinical research, as well as translational research, implementation science, and health services and policy research.

Members are chosen based on a broad array of factors including academic background, membership in scientific and health professional societies, and track record in fields related to the area of psychedelic research, and/or treatment. In addition, membership of the Committee will reflect the value of various areas of expertise, knowledge, and perspectives, including health professionals, scientists, entrepreneurs, patients, and community members. The next round of appointments is planned for Fall 2022.

The committee’s collective expertise will include, but not be limited to:

  • Clinical trial design
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Medicine
  • Health services and policy research
  • Regulatory science
  • Palliative medicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Public health

The committee currently has six members, and will not exceed ten. Members are appointed for an initial two-year term, which may be extended for an additional two years. Membership may be periodically adjusted to ensure the appropriate representation of expertise and experience.

Please note that, in alignmnent with Faculty commitments in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion and the current membership of the committee, priority will be given to applicants from equity-seeking groups, including women and those who identify as women.

Potential members should provide a brief CV and cover letter to the Executive Director, Psychedelics Research. Terms of Reference for the committee can be found here



Ron Shore appointed as research scientist with the Dimensions Health Research Collaborative

David Clements

December 15, 2021

Queen’s Health Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Ron Shore as research scientist with the Dimensions Health Research Collaborative, effective December 6, 2021.

Ron Shore (he/him) is a doctoral candidate in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, where he has taught as an adjunct, continuing adjunct and teaching fellow for 15 years. Ron is also a part-time Professor at the University of Ottawa, where he teaches Psychedelics, Politics and Harm reduction to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Ron's PhD research is on the clinical application of psilocybin. He has several forthcoming papers from his doctoral research including: Mapping Psilocybin Therapy, a Scoping Review, Behavioural Investigations of Psilocybin in Animals: A Scoping Review, and Psychedelics, Safety and Clinical Trial Design.

Ron has a B.A. in philosophy and Masters in Public Administration (concentration in health policy) both from Queen's, and is the founder of Kingston's Street Health Centre. Ron spent 23 years in front-line harm reduction, community and public health prior to returning to school for his PhD, which he defends in early 2022.

David Clements appointed Executive Director for the Dimensions Health Research Collaborative

David Clements

June 1, 2021

Dr. Jane Philpott, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University, has appointed David Clements as Executive Director, Dimensions Health Research Collaborative, effective June 1, 2021. In this part-time role, he will work closely with scientists and stakeholders at Queen’s, in the Kingston community, and beyond. Mr. Clements will serve concurrently as senior advisor, innovation strategy and policy, for Queen's Health Sciences. 

The Collaborative is enabled by the Dimensions Health Fund in support of the Study of Psychedelics, established by Dimensions Health Centres (“Dimensions”). The collaborative will serve as a space to connect expertise across campus and stakeholders and partners in the broader community. 

Mr. Clements has more than two decades experience working in health policy, planning, strategy, communications and stakeholder engagement. He has held senior management roles in organizations including Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. In 2014 and 2015, he served as executive director of the federal advisory panel on healthcare innovation, and he has also served as a senior advisor and communications director for Canada’s minister of health. 

Mr. Clements holds a BA at the University of Victoria, as well as an MPA from the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s, with a concentration in health policy. He also pursued doctoral studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.