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Psychedelics and neural plasticity

Guest Editors:
Kacper Łukasiewicz: Psychiatry Clinic, Medical University of Białystok, Poland
Rachael Sumner: School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland, New Zealand

BMC Neuroscience welcomed submissions to an article Collection focused on the study of psychedelics and their effects on neural plasticity in animal models and human patients. We hope to bring together new research that builds upon our understanding of this field and assists practitioners in devising novel treatment methods incorporating psychoactive substances.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Kacper Łukasiewicz, PhD: Psychiatry Clinic, Medical University of Białystok, Poland

Dr Kacper Łukasiewicz received his BSc and MSc from the University of Warsaw and PhD from the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences. In 2019 he joined Dr Yi Zou’s Laboratory at University of California Santa Cruz to conduct his postdoctoral research. In 2022 he moved back to Poland where he currently works at Psychiatry Clinic at Medical University of Bialystok as the Head of Laboratory. In his research he uses rodent models of neurologic and psychiatric disorders together with modern machine learning tools to advance understanding of underlying mechanisms. 

Rachael Sumner, PhD: School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Rachael's work focuses on mechanism-informed rational drug selection and human clinical trials. She has worked with LSD, ketamine, and scopolamine in the context of understanding novel treatments for depression and is excited by the potential for microdosing as well as macrodosing psychedelics in this space. She also has a particular passion for women’s health and menstrual cycle related disorders.

Her work primarily involves using electroencephalography (EEG) with computational modelling, and blood analyte measurements to provide a mechanistic understanding of how drugs and disorder affect the brain. The aim is to turn these into predictive models for treatment efficacy.

About the collection

BMC Neuroscience announced a new article Collection focused on psychedelics and neural plasticity. Recent research has revealed that certain psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) have the potential to induce lasting changes in the structure and function of neural circuits in the treatment of a wide range of neuropsychiatric conditions – including in treatment-resistant populations – opening exciting new avenues for investigating the mechanisms underlying neural plasticity.

This Collection aimed to bring together new research on the effects of psychedelics on neural plasticity from diverse fields, including neuroscience, psychology, and pharmacology. We welcomed original research articles that explore the relationship between psychedelics and neural plasticity, both in human patients and animal models, and that build upon our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of psychoactive substances.

Potential topics for submission included, but were not limited to:
  •  The effects of psychedelic substances on synaptic plasticity and neuronal connectivity
  •  The impact of psychedelics on the biological neural networks involved in cognition, perception, and emotion
  •  Potential therapeutic applications of psychedelic-assisted therapy for neuropsychiatric conditions
  •  Genetic and epigenetic factors in mediating the effects of psychedelics on neural plasticity
  •  Long-term effects of psychedelic use on brain structure and function

We encouraged submissions that utilize a range of experimental techniques, including neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and behavioral assays, to investigate the effects of psychedelics on neural plasticity. Furthermore, given the still somewhat controversial public perception of psychedelics and their use in clinical contexts, submissions that include discussion of the ethical, social, and political implications of psychedelic research may also be considered for inclusion. 

We hope that this Collection will provide a valuable platform for advancing our understanding of the relationship between psychedelics and neural plasticity.

Image credit: BPawesome /

  1. Microdosing psychedelics is a phenomenon with claimed cognitive benefits that are relatively untested clinically. Pre-clinically, psychedelics have demonstrated enhancing effects on neuroplasticity, which cann...

    Authors: Robin J. Murphy, Kate Godfrey, Alexander D. Shaw, Suresh Muthukumaraswamy and Rachael L. Sumner
    Citation: BMC Neuroscience 2024 25:7
  2. When it comes to studying neural plasticity and psychedelics, the numerous and diverse neuroscientific fields converging on the topic provide unique insight into a complex picture. This editorial will describe...

    Authors: Rachael Sumner and Kacper Lukasiewicz
    Citation: BMC Neuroscience 2023 24:35

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of original Research Articles. Should you wish to submit a different article type, please read our submission guidelines to confirm that type is accepted by the journal. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Psychedelics and neural plasticity" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.