Innovation happens when diverse disciplines converge. That is why our dedicated multi-disciplinary team has expertise spanning research, policy, technology, management, finance and growth.
Drug Science Team
David BadcockCHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
David Badcock is the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Science, the leading independent scientific body on drugs in the UK, working to provide clear, evidence-based information without political or commercial interference. Previously David held strategic positions in the substance misuse treatment sector for over 15 years. During this time, he has met and worked with thousands of individuals who have turned their lives around to lead healthy, successful lives free from the burden of drug addiction. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Mainliners, a national drug treatment organisation focusing on harm reduction and blood borne viruses. David has been a committee member for the Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, Chair of The Alliance (supporting people who receive prescribed medication for drug dependency), and Scientific Committee member for the influential London Joint Working Group for Substance Misuse and Hepatitis C. David specialises in creating unique partnerships with organisations and companies who share a joint vision to help the most marginalised and vulnerable members of our communities.
Prof David Nutt FOUNDER & CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
David Nutt is currently the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences.
After 11+ entry to Bristol Grammar School David was awarded an Open Scholarship to Downing College Cambridge and then completed his medical training at Guy’s Hospital London, continuing in neurology to MRCP. After completing his psychiatric training in Oxford, he continued there as a lecturer and then later as a Wellcome Senior Fellow in psychiatry. He then spent two years as Chief of the Section of Clinical Science in the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in NIH, Bethesda, USA. On returning to England in 1988 he set up the Psychopharmacology Unit in Bristol University, an interdisciplinary research grouping spanning the departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology before moving to Imperial College London in December 2008 where he leads a similar group with a particular focus on brain imaging especially PET.
David is currently Chair of DrugScience (formally the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and President of the European Brain Council. previously he has been President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) and the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP). In addition he is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Psychiatrists and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is also the UK Director of the European Certificate and Masters in Affective Disorders Courses and a member of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. He has edited the Journal of Psychopharmacology for over two decades and acts as the psychiatry drugs advisor to the British National Formulary. He has published over 400 original research papers, a similar number of reviews and books chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 27 books.
Previously he has been a member and then Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD – 1998-2009), a member of the HEFCE/NHS Senior Lecturer Selection Panel and of the MRC Neuroscience Board. Other previous national contributions include serving as the medical expert on the Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act (2000 Runciman report), and membership of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, the Committee on NHS drugs and the Ministry of Defence Science Advisory Board. He was the clinical scientific lead on the 2004/5 UK Government Foresight initiative “Brain science, addiction and drugs” that provided a 25-year vision for this area of science and public policy.
David broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television including BBC science and public affairs programmes on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their harms and their classification. He also lecturers widely to the public as well as to the scientific and medical communities; for instance has presented three time at the Cheltenham Science Festival and several times for Café Scientifiques. In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine included him in the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist.
Prof Michael Lynskey CHIEF RESEARCH OFFICER
Prof. Michael Lynskey is an epidemiologist and addiction researcher who has held academic appointments in New Zealand, where he’s from, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. His research largely focuses on the onset and escalation of drug use during adolescence and he has worked on multiple longitudinal studies examining the assessment of drug related problems and their associations with mental health. Given rapid changes occurring in the regulation of cannabis use and supply, he is increasingly interested in studying policy approaches to cannabis.
Prof Mike Barnes CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
Consultant neurologist and medical cannabis expert, Professor Mike Barnes has dedicated his career to the development of neurological rehabilitation and medical cannabis awareness, education and clinical excellence. Professor Barnes brings his expertise to global medical cannabis and CBD wellness organisations, educates clinicians and patients and advocates for a sensible and robust approach to medical cannabis prescribing and industry growth in the UK. .
David HornCHIEF REGULATORY & COMPLIANCE OFFICER
Originally trained as a surgeon in the NHS, then 20 years’ senior experience in medical business consultancy spanning medical devices, health services commissioning, clinical transformation, and clinical process redesign. Recent cannabis related appointments include: CMO of the Centre for Medical Cannabis (2018/19) and advisor to many Licensed Producers worldwide.
Dr Anne SchlagHEAD OF RESEARCH
Dr Anne Katrin Schlag is a Chartered Psychologist and Head of Research at Drug Science. She completed her PhD in Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, before working as Lecturer at King’s College London where she developed her expertise across the spectrum of science and policy making, risk perception, risk management and risk communication. She holds Honorary Fellowships at both Imperial College London and King’s College London.
Within her role at Drug Science, she leads the research for the Medical Cannabis Working Group, focusing on controversies surrounding medical cannabis, the improvement of patient access, and the continued development of education and stakeholder communication about medical cannabis. Dr Schlag is currently working on progressing the scientific evidence base of medical cannabis to include Patient-Reported Outcomes, observational studies (such as T21) and the application of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to assess the benefits and safety of medical cannabis.
Mags HoustonHEAD OF T21
As Head of Project Twenty21, Mags is the operational lead for Drug Science’s medical cannabis observational study, helping to raise awareness amongst patients and prescribers, build more evidence by attracting more patients and prescribers to actively join the project, and educate the public about the growing evidence surrounding medical cannabis for treating a range of conditions. Alongside her role on T21, she volunteers for Heroic Hearts Project UK, a not-for-profit that helps veterans suffering with PTSD by providing retreats and education in psychedelic therapy. She also curates and hosts events for The Psychedelic Society (UK) around drug policy, psychedelic science and mental health treatment. Mags’ mission is to shift the mainstream narrative around drugs by helping to provide education and challenging UK drug policy, so that therapies and medicines that are currently not accessible to patients might be made available on the NHS and prescribed to the people who desperately need them.
James Bunn HEAD OF OPERATIONS
James Bunn is the Head of Operations for Drug Science. After studying Law at university, he became aware of the injustice and inadequacy of the laws that govern drug policy in the UK. He has worked for multiple charities and Not-for-profit organisations in this field, including Release, The Beckley Foundation, The Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Talking Drugs. He is interested in the therapeutic use of psychedelics, harm reduction, and the dissemination of accurate information relating to psychoactive substances.
HEAD OF PRESS
Elliot Elam is Drug Science’s Head of Press. He has almost two decades’ experience of working within the treatment, social care and scientific sectors, and of ensuring that drug and alcohol issues are more widely understood by the media, public, government and decision-makers.
A respected figure within the world of drug policy, Elliot has collaborated with MPs, film-makers and journalists to ensure that factual evidence and lived experiences are always at the forefront of news reporting. Alongside his work with Drug Science, he also holds advisory roles with charitable organisations in the UK and the US.
Alkyoni Athanasiou-FragkouliRESEARCH OFFICER
Alkyoni Athanasiou-Fragkouli is the Research Officer for Project Twenty21. After completing a master’s degree in Clinical Neuroscience at University College London, she worked in research for 3 years investigating rare neuromuscular disorders and dementia. She has developed an interest in drug research, particularly the therapeutic use of psychedelics and benefits of medical cannabis. Alkyoni is committed to fighting the battle to overcome barriers to medical cannabis in the UK and ensure patients get the access they need.
Dr. Hannah Thurgur
SENIOR RESEARCH OFFICER
Dr Hannah Thurgur completed a Neuroscience PhD at the University of Manchester, which investigated the role of inflammation and the extracellular matrix in repair after stroke. After her PhD, Hannah was an Executive Officer at the British Neuroscience Association, where she helped promote neuroscience research and represent neuroscientists across the UK. During her PhD, she became involved with drug policy reform advocacy. Hannah now applies her research skills within the areas of medical cannabis and medical psychedelics. She is the study coordinator for the Long COVID clinical trial, oversees the Medical Psychedelics Working Group and works alongside organisational partners to assist with research priorities. She is passionate about harm reduction and improved drug education for young people.
Rayyan ZafarSTUDY CO-ORDINATOR
Rayyan Zafar is an Medical Research Council PhD student studying at Imperial College London in the centre for Neuropsychopharmacology under the supervision of Professor David Nutt. His PhD focuses on the application of multi-modal neuroimaging to understand addictions such as gambling and alcoholism. He has a keen interest in psychopharmacology and particularly how addictions could be treated with psychedelics. Additionally, Rayyan’s current research with Drug science focuses on medical cannabis to treat epilepsy, together with Dr Anne Schlag and Prof David Nutt.
Honorary Research Team
Dr. Anna RossHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Dr. Anna Ross is an Honorary Research Assistant at Drug Science, and a Senior Teaching Fellow in Health and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Anna completed her graduate studies in Law at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a Masters in Alcohol and Drugs Studies, and a PhD in Sociology and drug policy at the University of Edinburgh. Anna has worked for the Scottish Government on developing safeguarding protocol for charities, and the UK Government as the Special Advisor to the Scottish Affairs Committees Inquiry into Problem Drug Use in Scotland. In addition she has been on a range of advisory committees in Scotland, and set up the Scottish Drug Policy Conversations: a multi-stakeholder deliberative group exploring drug policy issues in Scotland.
Anya AggarwalHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Anya is a BSc Psychology graduate from the University of Bristol and is currently doing an MSc in Addiction Studies at King’s College, London. She has a keen interest in harm reduction, drug policy, addiction comorbidities and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and hopes to further these interests by pursuing a career in research related to these topics. She currently works to bridge the gap between scientific research and the public, particularly in the case of communicating harm reduction, as well as disseminating academic papers into more digestible forms using social platforms such as Instagram. Anya’s past work experience includes working for various mental health charities including the National Autistic Society and Hullo, involving both research and policy analyst roles.
Anna HogarthHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Anna Hogarth is a 4th year medical student at Barts & the London with a BSc in Neuroscience from Bristol University. Through her work with Small Pharma, she created educational slides for DrugScience on the history, policy, and therapeutic use of cannabis. She then helped to found the Drug Science Student Society and enjoys hosting society events and writing a monthly newsletter. She also directed the first Student Psychedelic Conference in January 2021. Through these events she hopes to promote harm reduction and education, particularly of medical students, on the therapeutic applications of ‘recreational’ drugs. She intends to become a psychiatrist and is very interested in MDMA- and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
Jacob AdayHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Jacob Aday is a graduate student in the Experimental Psychology program at Central Michigan University. He is in the final year of his Ph.D. and intends to join a laboratory studying classic psychedelic drugs for his postdoctoral training. Within psychedelic science, Jake is primarily interested in delineating the prosocial effects of psychedelics (e.g., increased connectedness, gratitude, nature relatedness, etc.) and studying how these prosocial effects may be beneficial for clinical populations. He also has experience working in cognitive neuroscience laboratories that examine interactions among emotion, attention, and embodiment—as well as the neural correlates of these processes. He is passionate about contributing to the scientific study of psychedelics and the implications findings from psychedelic research can have for drug policy.
Jemima LoweHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Tom CooneyHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Plinio FerreiraHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Plinio graduated with a BSc in Pharmacy and Biochemistry at the University of Sao Paulo and pursued a PhD in Pharmacology also at the University of Sao Paulo. Currently, he works as a Research Associate at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. His main research activities are in the field of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. Since his undergraduate years, he has nurtured a great interest on the field of psychoactive drugs and their relation to the human brain and their impact on society.
Karolina WilgusHONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
HONORARY RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Alejandro is a BSc Sport & Exercise Psychology graduate from Loughborough University. Currently, he is completing an MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences at University College London. Alejandro is particularly interested in qualitative research methods. He is interested in service user and clinician experiences of consuming and prescribing medication and psychedelic drugs for medical use, psychotropic medication and drug withdrawal, social epidemiology and global mental health. These interests originated from Alejandro’s lived experience of mental health problems and psychotropic medication consumption. Alejandro hopes to pursue a career in mental health research, keen to complete a PhD after his Masters. He is also working as an Honorary Research Assistant at UCL in the pharmaco-epidemiology data collaborative and disseminates mental health research writing blogs for the Mental Elf.