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Frederick Streeter Barrett

FREDERICK STREETER BARRETT, PH.D., is the director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in cognitive neuroscience and quantitative methods from the University of California, Davis in 2013. In 2015, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the behavioral psychopharmacology of classic and atypical psychedelic drugs under the mentorship of Dr. Roland Griffiths, at the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Barrett has been conducting psychedelic research at Johns Hopkins University since 2013, and his research in heathy participants and in patients with mood and substance use disorders focuses on the psychological and neurological mechanisms underlying the acute subjective and enduring therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs. In 2017, he received a grant to investigate biological mechanisms of psilocybin effects, the first federally funded research since the 1970s administering a classic psychedelic to people with psychedelic effects as the primary focus. He has contributed to the understanding of the neural bases of psychopathology, including studies of patients with schizophrenia and studies of patients with mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s Disease.

He has also contributed to our understanding of the neural basis of music perception, music-cognition, and music-evoked emotions and memories, as well as the interaction of personality and idiosyncratic experiences with music. He has brought this experience with emotion, memory, personality, and psychopathology to the study of psychedelic drugs. He developed the first comprehensive questionnaire to measure subjective aspects of challenging experiences encountered with psilocybin. He also published the first studies in humans characterizing the enduring effects of psilocybin on the brain (up to a month after psilocybin administration), the effects of psilocybin on a brain structure called the claustrum (which has been proposed to variously mediate consciousness and cognition), the effects of LSD on the brain’s response to music, and the effects of the atypical hallucinogen salvinorin A on human brain network function.

His program of research spans basic human clinical trials informed by preclinical studies of psychedelics, through to early-phase therapeutic trials in patients with mood and substance use disorders, with the ultimate goal of better understanding the psychological, biological, and neural mechanisms underlying both mental illness and mental health.