Amy Emerson
Executive Director and Head of Clinical Development & Regulatory Affairs  

Amy earned her BS in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University in 1992. Prior to her work at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) she worked in clinical development and research beginning in 1993. Amy's previous experience is in the fields of immunology (Applied Immune Sciences), oncology (RPR), and vaccine development (Chiron and Novartis). Amy worked with MAPS as a volunteer starting in 2003 facilitating the development of the MDMA clinical program. In 2009 she began managing the Clinical Research group at MAPS. She is currently the Executive Director and Head of Clinical Development & Regulatory Affairs of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation.
 

 

Clinical Research Department 
Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D.
Director of Research Development and Regulatory Affairs
Berra earned her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010. She utilizes her scientific training and experience in for-profit pharmaceutical research to support MAPS' work to develop, design, and implement clinical psychedelic research in the U.S and beyond. She earned her B.S. in Biological Science from Stanford University in 2001, with an emphasis on the neurobiology of drugs. Prior to entering graduate school, Berra worked as a Research Associate with Geron Corporation screening for drugs that activate telomerase, and with Millennium Pharmaceuticals on Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Berra joined MAPS in 2009 in order to work with an organization where profit wouldn't dictate the agenda of scientific research.​ She has been actively involved in the Phase 1/2/3 clinical development of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, most recently as Director of Research Development and Regulatory Affairs.

 

Ritika Aggarwal, B.A.
Executive Support and Operations Coordinator
Ritika Aggarwal earned her B.A. in Feminist Studies and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. While in Santa Cruz, she founded and co-directed the local chapter of NORML/Students for Sensible Drug Policy and worked with the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. For the past ten years, she has been as a legal advocate for people incarcerated in California prisons, helping to secure the release of over 100 people with life sentences. She is currently the MPBC Executive Support & Operations Associate. ​

 

Meghan Brown, B.A.
Clinical Research Associate
Meghan became a Registered Nurse in 2004 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2010 from Liberty University. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), she worked as a Clinical Research Associate/Monitor at a large CRO where she worked on multiple pain and oncology studies. Meghan also worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on protocol development as a Study Coordinator and Project Manager. At MPBC, Meghan is currently serving as Clinical Research Associate, working on Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) studies. It is Meghan’s hope that her contributions to the MPBC team will help facilitate the research and subsequent FDA approval of psychedelics for patients who can truly benefit from them.​

 

Alia Lilienstein, M.D., M.P.H.
MAPS Clinical Research Associate - Physician
Alia is a board-certified Family Medicine physician. She earned her B.A. in American Studies from Georgetown University in 2002, where she studied social and cultural influences on health care. Prior to medical school, she earned her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2004 from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked in clinical research and development at Chiron (later Novartis). She received her M.D. in 2011 from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and completed residency training in Family Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Tufts- and Harvard-affiliated Accountable Care Organization. Before joining MAPS, Alia worked as a primary care doctor in Berkeley. Alia holds a certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from CIIS in San Francisco. As a family physician, Alia has borne witness to her patients’ struggles with the human condition and the effects these struggles have on their loved ones. She is passionate about helping develop better tools for psychological healing so that everyone may have the opportunity to approach themselves and others with empathy and love. ​

 

 
Julie Densmore, M.A.
Clinical Research Consultant
Julie transitioned from a MAPS volunteer to a clinical consultant in September 2017. She brings over 17 years of professional expertise in global, clinical development of oncology and infectious disease medicines gleaned in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.  Over her career she has managed the operations of Phase I - IV clinical trials, guided program strategy, developed scientific literature, and lead project teams. She has been a key contributor to four product submissions and subsequent approvals in the US and Europe. 

Julie is dedicated to pioneering novel, multi-disciplinary approaches to disease management through the intersection of public policy, personalized medicine, engineering, data science, and biology. Julie holds a M.A in Behavioral Research Methodology, a B.A. in Psychology, and a certificate in Data Science.

 

 
Maryann Böger
Clinical Data Scientist
Maryann brings 15 years of clinical research management experience in conducting international trials to MPBC. She is skilled in strategy development and execution of U.S. and E.U.-regulated trials, both pre- and post-market. Maryann gained strong background in requirements for analyses and reporting of safety and compliance worldwide through her work at Stanford University Hospital, Guidant, and Abbott Labs. In her spare time, Maryann is an avid cyclist and foodie.

 

 
Gabrielle Fortier, M.P.H.
Clinical Research Associate
Gabby is a Clinical Research Associate who joins the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) research team at an exciting time as their clinical trials program continues to grow. Gabby earned her B.A. in International Relations from Boston University in 2013. While an undergraduate at BU Gabby worked part-time as a research assistant at the Slone Epidemiology Center where she supported numerous birth-defect and post-market vaccine surveillance studies. After graduating, Gabby decided she wanted to continue her research career and became a full-time employee at Slone while pursuing her Master’s in Public Health in the evening hours. Gabby earned her M.P.H. from BU in 2015 after completing her research practicum evaluating the community health system in Kenya. More recently, Gabby worked at a major Contract Research Organization where she supported a number of high-profile Phase 1, 2, and 3 pharmaceutical trials. Gabby is excited to bring her experience and passion for clinical research and public health to MPBC!

 

 
Zac Goldberg, B.A.
Clinical Study Assistant
Zac earned a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science with a Specialization in Neuroscience in 2017 from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Zac worked as a Research Assistant at the Perception and Cognition Lab where he recruited participants for visual and auditory perception and memory experiments, in addition to cleaning and analyzing data from the studies.

At MPBC, Zac is currently serving as a Clinical Study Assistant, focusing on file management, system administration, regulatory document creation, and general organizational work. Zac oversees the electronic trial master file system and assists the Clinical Research Associates with their work. He is passionate about helping make MDMA and other psychedelics a viable option to treat mental illness. In Zac’s free time, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and playing ultimate frisbee and disc golf.

 

 
Connor Harada
Regulatory Data Specialist
Connor Harada earned a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science in 2017 from the University of California Santa Cruz. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Connor worked in an artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction lab where he assisted researching emotion and stress monitoring. He has also worked at MPBC as the Clinical Study Assistant and Clinical Intern in the past.

At MPBC, Connor is currently serving as a Regulatory Data Specialist, focusing on regulatory affairs and data sciences. He is involved in regulatory writing, submission processes, and data analysis and quality assurance. In Connor’s free time, he enjoys caring for his Australian Shepherd, Troy, and is interested in sound wave and music production.

 

 
Charlotte Harrison
Senior Clinical Research Associate
Charlotte Harrison is an experienced clinical research professional who is thrilled to be contributing to psychedelic research at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. Prior to joining MPBC, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin in 2012 from Tufts University while pursuing pre-medical studies. After an exciting internship working on oncology trials at Clinical Assistance Programs (CAP), she decided her skills were better suited to clinical research. She monitored and managed clinical trials in supportive cancer care, nephrology, dermatology, and cardiology at CAP, MedTrials, and Harvard Clinical Research Institute.

At MPBC, Charlotte is currently serving as a Senior Clinical Research Associate, supporting the management of MDMA and marijuana studies. She supports, trains, and monitors multiple sites, ensuring quality research and compliance. She is hopeful that her passion for improving the quality of life for those suffering with mental illness and determination to make scientific research more efficient will be beneficial to MAPS’ important and necessary work. In her free time, Charlotte can be found doing yoga, snuggling her cats, or playing board games late into the night.

 

 
Libby Heimler
Clinical Research Associate
Libby is a committed research professional with a background in Adult and Pediatric Oncology. Prior to beginning her career, she studied Psychological Science and Religious Studies at Albion College, where she received a rich and rigorous education in research design and ancient Jewish scripture. Prior positions included work on studies at Karmanos Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital Oakland, and Genentech. After working as the Study Coordinator for a MAPS study, she joined the MAPS staff as a Clinical Research Associate. Libby is passionate about research ethics and innovations in mental health treatment, and is delighted to be a part of this dynamic team working to improve both of those things. In her free time, she can be found sewing her own clothes and quilts, knitting more hats than anyone needs, cooking, hiking, and traveling.

 

L. (Ilsa) Jerome, Ph.D.
Research and Information Specialist
L. (Ilsa) Jerome earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Maryland in 1999, with an interest in social cognition. Inside and beyond formal education, Jerome immersed herself in literature on psychopharmacology and what would soon become affective and social neuroscience. Ilsa was a member of the team that developed the initial 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Investigator’s Brochure. Jerome was the Clinical Research and Information Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). At MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Jerome has retained the title, focusing on archiving, communicating and sharing information about studies into the effects, risks and benefits of MAPS’ primary study drugs, particularly MDMA and classic psychedelics. Seeking, understanding and communicating scientific information has been at the core of this role, while the details have changed. As clinical research and information specialist, Jerome has collected and summarized research as part of designing and developing the Investigator’s Brochure and Phase 2 studies. She has assisted in the revision and management of Psychedelic Bibliography scope and content, supported and communicated with medical monitors, and communicated with researchers within and outside of MAPS and sending findings into the world as published reports. She believes in the necessity of interpreting and sharing research knowledge that will best help MPBC produce transparent, thorough and honest documents and reports, and that spotting good questions is as important as knowing good answers. Ilsa is fascinated by sound and music, and fragrance and olfaction. She spent a couple of years as a DJ at a university radio station, but remains emphatically unhip.

 

Joselyn Lindgren, M.S.
Clinical Research Associate
Joselyn earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1990 from the University of California Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science in 1997 from San Jose State University. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Joselyn worked as a staff research associate in a neuroimaging lab at San Francisco Veterans Affairs. Here she supported large observational studies on Gulf War Illness, HIV, Alcohol, PTSD and Alzheimer’s. Next Joselyn worked at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institution where she managed all clinical related activities for several Phase II oncology trials. Joselyn most recently worked at Kaiser Permanente, supporting Phase 2-3 trials with expertise in regulatory documents. At MPBC, Joselyn is currently serving as a Clinical Research Associate supporting ongoing clinical trials using MDMA-assisted therapy to treat PTSD.

Joselyn is committed to helping find long-term permanent solutions for debilitating mental health disorders and is excited to be a part of this transformative movement that MAPS/MPBC has created with psychedelic research.

In Joselyn’s free time, she enjoys cooking, dancing, reading, and power walks.

 

Pierre Llorach, B.S.
Clinical Intern
Pierre earned his B.S. in Cognitive Science with an emphasis on Neuroscience from the University of California, Davis, in 2018. Before joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Pierre worked in a psycholinguistics lab where he assisted with moving participants through eye tracking research. Pierre also worked in a human memory lab where he assisted with research correlating stress and memory.

At MPBC, Pierre is currently serving as a Clinical Intern focusing on general administrative duties necessary to execute clinical research trials that include document tracking and filing, file migration, document development, and IT support duties. Pierre is passionate about the brain and its workings and is thrilled to be part of the MPBC team. During his free time, Pierre enjoys nature walks and spending time outdoors.

 

Rebecca Matthews
Associate Director of Clinical Operations
Rebecca earned her BA at UC Berkeley in 2000.  Prior to her work at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC) she worked in clinical research and development at Chiron/Novartis starting in 2001, working on sepsis and monitoring and managing vaccine trials.  In 2009, she joined MAPS as a part-time contractor and has since been working with them on MDMA/PTSD studies. In 2015, Rebecca joined MPBC full-time to work on marijuana/PTSD studies as well as continuing to support MDMA studies. ​

 

John Poncini
Video and Informatics Systems Associate
John earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering in 2018 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, John worked as a grader and tutor for the UCSC Biomolecular Engineering Department where he aided students in learning how to use and apply computational biological tools to their research. John also participated in The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, where he and his peers pursued the development of salt tolerant cellulolytic enzymes for second-generation biofuel production.

At MPBC, John is currently serving as a Video and Informatics Systems Associate, focusing on developing software applications and platforms for recording, processing, and delivering video of sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. He has played a role in maintaining the security and confidentiality of these sensitive data whilst providing access to authorized personnel in the MDMA Therapy Training Program. John is passionate about applying his knowledge in data sciences, technology, and engineering to clinical contexts with the hope of creating a general purpose platform to facilitate diagnostics and the administration of personalized medicines. In his free time, John can be found brewing beer or mead, playing guitar, or out enjoying the natural beauty of this world.

 

Colin Hennigan, M.A.
Clinical Data Manager
Colin brings a background in research design methodology and database management to MAPS. He earned his B.A. in Political Science at the University of Chicago, with an emphasis in social theory and philosophy of science, and his M.A. in Political Science at University of California, Davis, where his graduate work focused on state sovereignty and international systems theory. Prior to joining MAPS, he worked as a Research Analyst with the Genetic Disease Screening Program at the California Department of Public Health, as a freelance technical writer, and as a private mathematics instructor. He is currently working with the MAPS Clinical Team on the creation of an online clinical database and the implementation of the Therapist Adherence Program.
 
Michael Mithoefer, M.D.
Medical Monitor and Clinical Investigator
 
Michael is a psychiatrist practicing in Charleston, SC, where he divides his time between clinical research and outpatient clinical practice specializing in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy. He is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator and is trained in EMDR and Internal Family Systems Therapy. He and his wife, Annie Mithoefer, recently completed a MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trial testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. A paper about their study was published in July 2010 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. They are currently conducting a second trial with veterans who have PTSD resulting from service in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as psychotherapy training programs for MAPS researchers. Dr. Mithoefer is the medical monitor for MAPS-sponsored clinical trials in Europe, the Middle East, Canada, and Colorado. Before going into psychiatry in 1995 he practiced emergency medicine for ten years, served as medical director of the Charleston County and Georgetown County Emergency Departments, and has held clinical faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is currently board certified in Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Internal Medicine.
 
Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N.
Sub-Investigator
Annie is a Registered Nurse living in Charleston, SC, where she divides her time between clinical research and outpatient clinical practice specializing in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with an emphasis on experiential methods of psychotherapy. She is a Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner and is trained in Hakomi Therapy. Recently she and her husband, Michael Mithoefer, M.D., completed a MAPS-sponsored Phase II clinical trial testing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.  A paper about their study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. They are currently conducting a second trial with veterans who have PTSD resulting from service in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as psychotherapy training programs for MAPS researchers.
 
Shannon Clare Carlin, M.A.
Associate Director, Training and Supervision
Shannon Clare Carlin is passionate about life and growth. She cares deeply about humankind and the natural world. Shannon is dedicated to working with people through addiction, trauma, relationship, and the body. She received her Master’s Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2014, including a practicum working with youth on moderation management for drug and alcohol use. At MPBC Shannon serves as Associate Director, Training and Supervision, overseeing administration and program development to educate professionals and researchers to provide MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in approved settings. Shannon is also committed to psychedelic harm reduction, and continues to provide integration services through the Zendo Project. Shannon served as co-therapist on the MAPS-sponsored Phase 2 trial researching MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness, and will be a co-therapist at the Phase 3 site in Los Angeles, researching MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD. She is a dancer and California native. An adventurer at heart, Shannon can be found running in nature or swimming in a body of water.
 
Sarah Scheld, M.A.
MDMA Therapy Training Program Assistant
Sarah earned her M.A. from the California Institute of Integral Studies in their East-West Psychology program, focusing on psychedelic-assisted therapy and integration approaches. At MPBC Sarah assists in administration and program coordination for the MDMA Therapy Training Program, which educates health professionals and researchers to provide MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in approved settings. In addition to her role at MPBC, Sarah is dedicated to continuing her own education in somatic psychotherapy, trauma resolution, and working with expanded states of consciousness. She is trained in the Hakomi method and Somatic Experiencing and enjoys weaving ecotherapy into her counseling practice. She also brings a background in program coordination, developing ecopsychology trainings with Holos Institute and collaborating with Commonweal Institute to bring community-based healing circles to hospital settings.

Sarah is grateful to be immersed in permaculture and land-based healing at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, where her study and love of ecological systems and wild animal behavior continue to nourish her spirit and inform her belief in human resilience. She is passionate about the role of trauma awareness and the skillful use of psychedelic medicines in helping to heal people, communities, and environments. She is thrilled to join the MPBC team to support this movement.
 
Chris Shelley, Ph.D.
Training Systems Support Specialist
Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2005 from the University of Bristol, a master’s degree in mathematics in 2011 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a doctorate in mathematics in 2013 from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MPBC), Chris worked as an Assistant Professor, teaching mathematics and investigating the connections between arithmetic and geometry.

At MPBC, Chris is currently serving as Training Systems Support Specialist, focusing on the IT component of MPBC’s therapy training and supervision programs. He is passionate about computing and software development, and is excited to draw from his academic background to aid in the development of online training resources for MPBC. Chris hopes the work and research conducted by MPBC will help transform the lives of those suffering from PTSD.