Research Group Psychopharmacology

Prof. Dr. Matthias Liechti

Group members:
Denis Arikci, Anna Becker, Aaron Klaiber, Laura Ley, Dino Lüthi, Deborah Rudin, Yasmin Schmid, Kurt Stocker, Isabelle Straumann, Jan Thomann, Oliver Stöckmann

Research interests

  • Psychopharmacology
  • Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of psychoactive drugs
  • Neurobiology of addiction
  • Molecular and clinical pharmacology of psychostimulants Pharmacology and toxicology of MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Pharmacogenetics of MDMA and other psychoactive substances
  • CNS drug development
  • Novel psychoactive substances
  • Pharmacology of LSD
  • Neuroenhancement
  • Pharmaco-fMRI

Research projects

The group investigates the pharmacology of psychoactive substances both in vitro and in humans. The group is best known for the work on the acute effects psychoactive substances including MDMA (ecstasy), methylphenidate (Ritalin) and LSD in humans. In experimental clinical studies the group described the acute effects of psychoactive substances on social cognition (mood recognition, empathy, social behavior), endocrine responses, pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenetics. Pharmaco-fMRI studies are conducted in collaboration with the Psychiatric University Clinic. The team also characterizes the pharmacological profiles of the constantly emerging novel psychoactive substances (designer drugs) using in vitro methods in the laboratory at the Department of Biomedicine.

The group also conducts or supervises clinical trials using psychedelics in patients with anxiety disorder, major depression, and cluster headache.

Former group members

  • Cédric Hysek
  • Linda Simmler
  • Patrick Dolder
  • Anna Rickli


Publications Liechti group