Barrett’s current research focuses on ethnopharmacology and comparative genomics. Specifically how phylogenetic studies and ethnobotany may provide context for phytochemical analysis and drug discovery. His current doctoral project expands on his master’s thesis research at University College London, where he used an ethnobotanical drug discovery approach to look for antimicrobial constituents in two important Amazonian psychedelics. Conservation of medicinal plants and respect for the people and places that have carried their knowledge is also a central emphasis of this research.
The Ayahuasca Phytochemistry Project
This presentation outlines a proposal for an upcoming PhD project. Recent years have seen the global expansion of ayahuasca. Its popularity has the potential to be of great benefit to the collective human condition. However, with the rapid increase of consumption, questions have been raised about the sustainability of the plants as well as the composition and quality of the brews. In response this project proposes to document the current state of ayahuasca. The project’s objective is to conduct a phytochemical and ethnobotanical survey of ayahuasca to document the various preparations and admixture plants. The project will examine the collected ayahuasca samples to determine the identity of their known ingredients and chemical composition. The overall aim is to create a robust database that informs the future of ayahuasca conservation and pharmacology.