Reconnect

OUR RESEARCH

Our science team at the University of Zurich from the domains of medicine, pharmacology, neuroscience and psychology is working towards innovative evidence-based and paradigm-changing treatment approaches for mental health.

ITERATIVE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM TOWARDS
PROCESS-ORIENTED TRANSFORMATIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY

As an alternative to widely used symptom- and substitution-oriented treatments in psychiatry, we develop novel process-oriented paradigms that are less focused on specific symptoms and their substitution by means of psychotropic drugs, but rather aim at directly resolving underlying maladaptive processes.

 

Our iterative research and development program is based on clinical evidence that psychedelic compounds in supportive settings facilitate transformative experiences that are followed by rapid and sustainable decreases in anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress and addictive behaviors.

MULTIMODAL BRAIN IMAGING STUDIES OF AYAHUASCA-ANALOGUE
PSYCHOINTEGRATIVE COMPOUNDS

While ketamine and psilocybin have been researched extensively in the past decades, the indigenous plant medicine ayahuasca currently stimulates a tremendous public and scientific interest due to its antidepressant, anxiolytic and anti-addictive properties.

 

We study the biomechanisms and efficacy of standardized ayahuasca compounds for stress-related mood disorders. Using state-of-the-art multimodal neuroimaging and biomarkers, we investigate how pharmacological modulation of cerebral circuits predict behavioral change, adaptive neuroplasticity, and psychotherapeutic treatment outcomes.

 

Methodologically, we develop novel approaches to brain imaging such as topological data analysis and graph theory to get insight into the overall spatiotemporal organization of brain dynamics following transformative treatment interventions.

 

CLINICAL STUDIES ON THE EFFICACY OF AYAHUASCA-BASED
PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR AFFECTIVE DISORDERS

For clinical trials with ayahuasca, we develop a specifically tailored process-based treatment manual to investigate the temporal dynamics of changeable transdiagnostic processes using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) technologies.

 

This manual will allow the comparative empirical assessment of the potential of psychedelic compounds to specifically enhance the therapeutic efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions in different patient populations.

 

In collaboration with Reconnect Labs we are currently developing treatment guidelines and psychotherapeutic frameworks to improve the safety and tolerability of ayahuasca-assisted therapy.

MINDFULNESS AND PSYCHEDELICS: A COMBINED
NEUROPHENOMENOLOGICAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL APPROACH TO
THE CHARACTERIZATION OF ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Through their profound modulatory effects on neurobiological and psychological processes, both psychedelics and meditation have become indispensable research tools for the study of altered states of consciousness.

 

The present project applies an innovative triple-fold approach to obtaining highly precise first-person accounts of DMT-enhanced-mindfulness in experienced meditators and assessing their impact on reorganization of brain activity and connectivity with multimodal EEG/fMRI recordings before and after a group meditation retreat.

 

We explore the experiential diversity of psychedelic states using neurophenomenological approaches with a particular focus on transformative experiences.

COLLABORATION WITH INTERNATIONAL NATURALISTIC STUDY:
GLOBAL AYAHUASCA PROJECT

In collaboration with the Global Ayahuasca Project we aim to deepen our understanding of traditional psychedelic therapy approaches in a naturalistic setting. With the help from a large epidemiological dataset, we aim to optimize contextual factors of psychotropic drug effects.

 

The investigation of subjective experiences and it’s interplay with a variety of setting variables can provide insights into the causal network of factors contributing to the uniqueness of each psychedelic experience. This enables drawing inferences on outcomes including individual relationships and mental health in everyday life.

academic funding partners and organisations

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