Sheppard Pratt is pleased to announce that Matthew W. Johnson, PhD, will join the Institute for Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics at Sheppard Pratt as a senior researcher for its Center of Excellence for Psilocybin Research and Treatment in February 2024. Dr. Johnson is one of the world’s most accomplished scientists on the human effects of psychedelics and has conducted seminal research in the behavioral economics of drug use, addiction, and risk behavior.
The Center of Excellence for Psilocybin Research and Treatment is the first leading global site for the development of psychedelic therapeutics in the U.S. In his role as senior researcher, Dr. Johnson will join Sheppard Pratt in their efforts to integrate biological psychiatry with psychotherapy.
Dr. Johnson brings more than 25 years of expertise in behavioral pharmacology research and has been involved in the study of psychedelics for nearly 20 years. In his most recent role, he served as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Johnson’s research centers around the efficacy and safety of psychedelics in the treatment of various medical and mental health conditions.
In 2008, Dr. Johnson played a crucial role in revitalizing human psychedelic research by publishing psychedelic risk and safety guidelines, which are now widely recognized as field standards. His trials have explored the effects of psychedelics on mystical experience, personality change, cancer distress treatment, and depression treatment. Pioneering psychedelic treatment for tobacco addiction, he published the first research on the topic in 2014. In 2021, he received the first federal grant in nearly 50 years for treatment research with a psychedelic.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Johnson join us as we expand our cutting-edge psychedelic research to deliver innovative care and treatments,” says Harsh K. Trivedi, MD, president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt. “His unparalleled expertise and groundbreaking contributions to psychedelic research will help Sheppard Pratt continue to transform mental healthcare treatment on a global scale.”
“I am honored to be a part of Sheppard Pratt’s rich history and tradition of transforming the delivery of behavioral healthcare,” says Dr. Johnson. “Together, we will continue pushing the boundaries of science and improving lives by unlocking the potential of psilocybin and other psychedelics in mental health treatment.”
Dr. Johnson served as President of the International Society for Research on Psychedelics in 2020, where he advocated for the advancement of empirical science regarding classic psychedelics. In 2019, Dr. Johnson served as the president of the Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse Division of the American Psychological Association. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Oregon University and earned his PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Vermont.
Sheppard Pratt’s Center of Excellence for Psilocybin Research and Treatment brings together evidence-based innovation and the development of psychedelic therapeutics on a large scale. The center is studying illnesses in which psilocybin therapy may demonstrate efficacy such as severely treatment-resistant depression, bipolar depression, depression with chronic suicidal ideation, and anorexia. Other potential studies may investigate the potential for managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and addictions.
About Sheppard Pratt
Sheppard Pratt is the largest private, nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, developmental disability, special education, and social services in the country. A nationwide resource, Sheppard Pratt provides services across a comprehensive continuum of care, spanning both hospital- and community-based resources. Since its founding in 1853, Sheppard Pratt has been innovating the field through research, best practice implementation, and a focus on improving the quality of mental health care on a global level. Sheppard Pratt has been consistently recognized as a top national psychiatric hospital by U.S. News & World Report for more than 30 years.