These are the lead researchers conducting experiments at the Riosbo Research & Retreat Center in the Allpahuayo-Mishana national reserve, near Iquitos, Peru:
Hailing from Hong Kong, WaiFung is a Psychology MSc and DClinPsych candidate with years of clinical experience primarily in the field of addiction, exhibiting an interest in empirical research of psychoactive substances. Currently based at the Maudsley Hospital, Kings College London, he has undertaken the role of researcher statistician and psychologist in projects exploring adapted traditional ceremonial use of Ayahuasca for the treatment of trauma related conditions, working alongside Simon and Nige. WaiFung is also an avid musician who enjoys honing sound-healing techniques as well as psychedelic harm reduction work at music festivals.
In 2015, whilst investigating transcultural psychiatry, Dr. Simon Ruffell travelled down through central America where he came into contact with one of the lead facilitators at the Ayahuasca Foundation; Keyo. Both around the age of 30 and with similar experience in their representative professions, they began discussing the overlaps, parallels and contrasts between modern Western treatments and traditional Amazonian plant medicines.
Accompanied by Nige Netzband – a psychopharmacologist, the pair set off to the Ayahuasca Foundation and self-funded the first experiment at the Riosbo research center. This study looked at the effects of ayahuasca on personality, in which they observed profound shifts in the vast majority of their participants. Blown away by first-hand observations and the data they recorded, they knew they were on to something with great potential.
Over the following years they attended many scientific conferences in hope of sharing their findings. This led to the duo being supported by the British Medical Research Council (MRC UK), as they were appointed to design and conduct a study looking at potential clinical applications; with a particular focus on how ayahuasca may aid in the reprocessing of traumatic events. At this point they were joined by WaiFung Tsang to aid with the analyses, who became another key member of the team – forming Onaya Science.
As things continue to progress, the research team developed more studies and are constantly expanding the number of projects (see projects page). Publications appear in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry and the Psychopharmacology journal, with several others currently in press.
We are currently increasing the amount of collaborators in hope that the full potential of ayahuasca can be explored using scientific methods.
All researchers and collaborators involved are independent of any pharmaceutical company and are selected only if the core ethos is progressing the understanding of medicine.
If you would like to be involved or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the team.