VIRTUAL -"Psychedelics and Related Plasticity-Promoting Neurotherapeutics" Presented by David Olson, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Psychedelics & Neurotherapeutics; Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine, UC Davis

March 7, 2023
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Contact Information
Samantha Wagner
CPB Seminar: Dr. David Olson


Cortical atrophy underlies a wide variety of brain diseases including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder.  Recently, our group discovered that psychedelics and related molecules, such as DMT, LSD, and MDMA, rapidly promote the growth of cortical neurons, providing a potential explanation for their long-lasting therapeutic effects after a single dose.  However, these first-generation compounds suffer from one or more issues that limit their clinical scalability including hallucinogenic effects, cardiotoxicity, and psychostimulant properties.  I will discuss the development of chemical and molecular tools for studying the mechanism(s) of action of psychedelics as well as our efforts to engineer non-hallucinogenic analogs of these compounds that produce similar sustained therapeutic behavioral effects after a single administration.  Understanding the fundamental biochemical mechanisms that give rise to compound-induced neuroplasticity will be essential for developing safer and more effective neurotherapeutics for a variety of brain disorders.