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Dennis McKenna


“There is still more – much more – to be discovered. I hope that the quest represented in this symposium – The Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs – will be carried on by a new generation, who one day will report their discoveries to the world at regular future held ESPD gatherings.”

May 26, 2022 12:00 am

Dennis McKenna’s research has focused on the interdisciplinary study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He has conducted ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon. His doctoral research (University of British Columbia,1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group. He is the younger brother of Terence McKenna. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. He is the president and founder of the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy.


BioGnosis: Bridges to Ancestral Wisdom

The McKenna Academy will be releasing its premier short documentary film at ESPD55, “BioGnosis: Bridges to Ancestral Wisdom.” This pilot documentary brings awareness to the critical need for humans to live in greater symbiosis with the natural world, and showcases a project to digitize 160K Amazonian plant specimens in the collection of the Herbarium Amazonense at UNAP, Peru. Dennis will give a talk on his and others’ involvement in the preservation of this treasure trove of indigenous plant knowledge.