The Ecology, Cosmos & Consciousness salon, The October Gallery, London, 29th September, 2015
Dennis McKenna has pursued interdisciplinary research in the study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens for over 30 years. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brazilian Amazon, recently completing a four-year project investigating Amazonian ethnomedicines as potential treatments for cognitive deficits. His doctoral research (University of British Columbia, 1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon.
Dr. McKenna completed post-doctoral research fellowships in neurosciences in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health (1986-88), and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine (1988-90). He joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology in 1990, and subsequently joined Aveda Corporation as Senior Reseach Pharmacognosist. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches courses in Ethnopharmacology, Botanical Medicines, and Plants in Human Affairs. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit research organization focused on the development of therapeutic applications for psychedelic medicines. He was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used sacramentally by the UDV, a Brazilian religious sect. Dr. McKenna is author or co-author of 4 books and over 50 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.