I am a DPhil student working within the NEUROSEC team at the Department of Psychiatry, as well as the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.
I originally joined the team to undertake research that is best characterised as ‘empirical ethics’: using both normative theorising and psychological and sociological data to better understand the nature of morality. For example, as part of the BeGOOD project’s ‘digital diaries’ study, I supported the development of new methodologies to explore how adolescents experience morality on a day-to-day basis.
I found the framework of empirical ethics to be particularly valuable, and am now carrying it – and other approaches – into my DPhil, an interdisciplinary exploration of the Bioethical Dimensions of Psychedelic-assisted Psychotherapy. A broad overview of the motivation and rationale for my project is available here.
Before joining the department, I worked at The Beckley Foundation, supporting psychedelic science studies with university partners. I continue to research scientific, bioethical, and policy aspects of psychedelic therapy as a Visiting Associate at King’s College London’s Centre for Affective Disorders.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, before continuing to graduate study in Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience and Buddhist Studies.
The recent revivification of interest in the therapeutic use of psychedelics has had a particular focus on mood disorders and addiction, although there is reason to think these drugs may be effective more widely. After outlining pertinent aspects of psilocybin and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the current review summarizes the evidence indicating that there may be a role for psilocybin in the treatment of OCD, as well as highlighting a range of potential therapeutic mechanisms that reflect the action of psilocybin on brain function. Although the current evidence is limited, that multiple signals point in directions consistent with treatment potential, alongside the psychological and physiological safety of clinically administered psilocybin, support the expansion of research, both in animal models and in further randomized controlled trials, to properly investigate this potential.