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Research Matters Podcast

Sep 27, 2019

Dr. Alan Kooi Davis is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Psychedelic Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University. He’s a researcher in the area of psychedelics, especially psilocybin, and how psychedelics can be used in treatment. He has also done research on harm reduction and drug use more generally, but in this episode we decided to focus on how he got into research on psychedelics for people who are interested in doing work in that area.

Dr. Davis was ahead of the curve in his interest in exploring the use of psychedelics as a component of treatment. As a graduate student, he felt alone in his research interests, and so he sought opportunities to connect with others who were passionate about this potentially viable treatment option. He harnessed opportunities at conferences and online connections to build collaborations in the field of psychedelics. Seeing the need for an organized space in which to bring together researchers and resources, and wanting to build the structure that he wished had been available to him, he also formed the Source Research Foundation, which provides grants to and facilitates collaboration among students and researchers interested in psychedelics.

Dr. Davis writes...a lot. Check out his published works and you’ll see what I mean. Tune in to hear his tips and tricks for staying motivated and disciplined in your writing.

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • How to get involved in psychedelic science
  • About the scenarios in which you’re most likely to get support for research in the psychedelics realm
  • How to foster collaboration
  • About Source Research Foundation
  • Why he decided to pursue a second postdoctoral position
  • His advice to graduate students who are studying or have an interest in psychedelics
  • His tips for structuring the writing process and staying motivated 

Tips from the episode

On how to find support for research in psychedelics (or other areas of interest)…

  • Try to find a supportive graduate advisor/mentor
  • Publish and present as much as possible.
  • If you are a clinical psychologist, get trained in the latest evidence-based methods for the disorders that you might want to work with using psychedelics
  • Develop the skills you need to be a good scientist in general. You’ll never know what will make you competitive for a job in the future.
  • Publish studies on psychedelics to build your vitae
  • Connect with people at psychedelic science conferences (e.g., psychedelic science, Breaking Convention)
  • Look for opportunities online to help out researchers, particularly the MAPS graduate student listerv/Facebook

On building collaborations and connections...

  • Proactively look for others with similar interests
  • Look for remote opportunities within your area of interest
  • Connect with other students in master and PhD programs with similar interests
  • Attend conferences and make connections, and don’t overlook connecting with other grad students

Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: You download the podcast through iTunesStitcher, or Spotify