Psychedelic Research Group


Each circle represents the brain, with brain regions represented by dots on the circumference, and brain communities (e.g. representing different systems, such as the visual system) represented by different colours. The circle on the left represents communication between brain regions under placebo and you can see that this is mostly confined to particular communities with relatively little cross-talk between them. The picture under psilocybin ("magic mushrooms") is very different however, with much more between-community communication going on across the brain. We believe that this may relate to the unusual perceptual and consciousness altering affects of psilocybin.


The Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial focuses on two main research areas: 1) the action of psychedelic drugs in the brain, and 2) their clinical utility, e.g. as aides to psychotherapy, with a particular focus on depression. The group is lead by Dr Robin Carhart-Harris with oversight from Professor David Nutt, and includes PhD students - Mendel Kaelen, Leor Roseman, Christopher Timmermann and Taylor Lyons; PostDoc - Tobias Buchborn, and Clinical leads - Rosalind Watts (DClinPsy) and David Erritzoe (MRCPsych).


Upcoming trial - Psilocybin for major depression: A randomised control trial

Psilocybin for major depression: A randomised control trial - the design of this trial is a 2 arm DB-RCT in major depressive disorder. We will use fMRI to compare the treatment mechanisms of four weeks of daily escitalopram with one single dose of psilocybin. The trial will start early next year.

Research team