Dennis McKenna’s professional and personal interests are focused on the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he. He joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology in 1990, and relocated to Minnesota in 1993 to join the Aveda Corporation as Senior Research Pharmacognosist.
Dr. McKenna taught courses in Ethnopharmacology, Botanica Medicines and Plants in Human Affiairs at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota from 2001 to 2017. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute and serves on the advisory board of non-profit organizations in the fields of ethnobotany and botanical medicines. He was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, an international biomedical study of ayahuasca used by indigenous people and syncretic religious groups in Brasil. From 2004 to 2008, he was the Principal Investigator on a project funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute to investigate Amazonian ethnomedicines for the treatment of schizophrenia and cognitive deficits. In 2017, with the collaboration of many colleague, he organized and presented a landmark conference, the Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs: 50 years of Research. The conference commemorated the 50th anniversary of the original conference held in San Franscisco in 1967. The two-volume Proceedings of both conferences were published in 2018 in a limited edition by Synergetic Press. (See ESPD50.com)
Dr. McKenna is one of our strongest advocates on behalf of the entheogenic plant medicines and is often called upon to speak at related conferences and symposia. He also has a recent memoir The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence McKenna
Dennis McKenna Ph.D.
CEO & President
Symbio Life Sciences
Here is an interview with Dennis on the topic of the Future of Psychedelics. Enjoy!