NEW YORK and BERLIN, Dec. 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — atai Impact, the philanthropic arm of atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) (“atai”), today announced the first cohort of the atai Fellowship Fund in Psychedelic Neuroscience (the “Fellowship Fund”) at Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”) Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics. The $2 million Fellowship Fund was announced in December 2021 to facilitate research into the potential of psychedelics to address unmet patient needs in mental health and support promising graduate students and other trainees in furthering their professional careers in this emerging field.
Over the five-year program, fellows will have access to MGH’s innovative resources and expertise in neuroimaging technologies, cognitive neuroscience, cellular and molecular neurobiology, and clinical trial design, enabling them to pursue the discovery, optimization, and translation of novel experimental psychedelic neurotherapeutics.
The first cohort is comprised of five graduate students whose research projects will focus primarily on mechanistic studies of psychedelics and associated therapeutic interventions, including:
- chemical biology approaches to investigate endogenous psychedelic compounds, such as N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), as well as enzymatic machinery required for biosynthesis in an array of both human and rodent cell types
- the ethnopharmacology of a Central and South American psychedelic plant
- a systems neuroscience approach to the modeling of the brain after the administration of a psychedelic compound
- using epidemiological and observational data to explore the potential of psychedelic treatments for addressing suicidal tendencies and behaviors
- the effects of psilocybin assisted psychotherapy on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
“Being awarded this fellowship has given me the flexibility to do unprecedented research with a cutting-edge intervention that has yet to be well-understood,” said graduate student, Clare Shaffer, upon being awarded the atai Fellowship.
The fellows, primarily sourced from M.D./Ph.D. programs at Greater Boston institutions, were selected through a competitive review process based on their proposed research project and their vision of the impact of psychedelic research on the field of mental health. It was also important to MGH and atai that Fellows be selected with a focus on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the psychedelic field, which was considered in the selection of Fellows and projects accepted.
“We’re pleased to welcome the first cohort of the atai Fellowship,” said Florian Brand, CEO and Co-founder of atai Life Sciences. “The core of atai’s vision is to heal mental health disorders and, to that end, we are committed to exploring novel treatments and to encouraging the best of the next generation of researchers to enter this transformative field.”
“We are extremely grateful for atai’s generosity and forward-looking contribution to help train aspiring researchers and expand our fundamental knowledge of how psychedelics impact brain plasticity,” said Stephen J. Haggarty, Ph.D., Director of Neurobiology for the Center of Neuroscience of Psychedelics and Principal Investigator in the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine and Co-director of the Fellowship Fund. “I have no doubt that our talented and diverse graduate students and Principal Investigators, coupled with our state-of-the-art research facilities, will help us uncover more of the mysteries and therapeutic benefits these potential medicines hold.”
About atai Impact
atai Impact was launched by atai Life Sciences, in October 2021, to harness the power of innovative mental health approaches for positive social change. The key pillars of atai Impact’s activities are: advancing education, expanding access, and supporting the wider ecosystem of mental health care. atai Impact has an initial focus on the psychedelics sector, given its emerging potential in tackling the growing mental health crisis. The establishment of atai Impact is based on atai Life Sciences’ position that harmonization across commercial and non-profit entities represents the best path forward to address all aspects of the escalating global mental crisis. For more information, please visit https://atai.life/atai-impact/.
About atai Life Sciences
atai Life Sciences is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company aiming to transform the treatment of mental health disorders. Founded in 2018 as a response to the significant unmet need and lack of innovation in the mental health treatment landscape, atai is dedicated to acquiring, incubating, and efficiently developing innovative therapeutics to treat depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health disorders. By pooling resources and best practices, atai aims to responsibly accelerate the development of new medicines across its companies to achieve clinically meaningful and sustained behavioral change in mental health patients. atai’s vision is to heal mental health disorders so that everyone, everywhere can live a more fulfilled life. For more information, please visit www.atai.life
About Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research operations of more than $1 billion and comprises more than 9,500 researchers working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. In July 2022, Mass General was named #8 in the U.S. News & World Report list of “America’s Best Hospitals.” MGH is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any express or implied statements contained in this press release (including without limitation, the atai Impact program, the Fellowship Fund and any other future philanthropic endeavors by atai) that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, including, without limitation, the important factors discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in atai’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as further updated in atai’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and subsequent filings with the SEC, from time to time. atai disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this press release, other than to the extent required by applicable law
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