Usona Institute

The Usona Institute is researching consciousness-expanding medicines (mainly psilocybin) to relieve mental suffering.

Usona Institute

It was founded by Bill Linton and Malynn Utzinger. The motivation for founding the institute came from the positive experience a friend had in a Johns Hopkins trial with psilocybin and end-of-life anxiety related to cancer.

The latest success of Usona is that the FDA has granted breakthrough therapy designation to Usona’s psilocybin program for major depression.

“Usona embraces the challenge of finding a better way forward. We are a non‑profit, medical research organization looking beyond the traditional treatments for depression. Our aim is to enable and support research toward the goal of an FDA registration for psilocybin as an approved medicine.”

“Usona Institute conducts and supports pre-clinical and clinical research to further the understanding of the therapeutic effects of psilocybin and other consciousness-expanding medicines. Our focus is on alleviating depression and anxiety in people for whom current medical treatments fall short in offering relief and a better quality of life.”

Usona is committed to open science and collaborates with many organizations (see below).

You can find their clinical trial work on a separate website. They are currently working on the Phase II and III of a trial that uses psilocybin-assisted therapy for major depressive disorder (MDD).

You can find their news here.

Key Staff

(As per August 2020)

Board of Directors

  • Bill Linton – President
  • Carey Turnbull
  • Craig Christianson – Treasurer
  • Rick Langer – Emeritus Member
  • Robert Jesse – Secretary

Scientific Advisory Board

Clinical Advisory Board

Usona Leadership

  • Bill Linton – Executive Director & Co- Founder
  • Gary Tarpley, PhD – Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board
  • Laura McCormick – Director of Operations
  • Malynn Utzinger, MD – Director of Integrative Medicine & Co- Founder
  • Nicole Smialek – Compliance Program Manager
  • Rob Barrow – Director of Drug Discovery and Development
  • Penny Patterson – Director of Communications
  • Tura Patterson – Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Staff & Consultants

  • Alexander Sherwood, PhD – Medicinal Chemist
  • Brian Barrett – Controller
  • Janet Dawson – Administrative Assistant
  • Karlis Janelsins – Clinical Operations Manager
  • Kelsey O’Hern – Project Manager, Drug Development
  • Kristen Linton – Clinical Facilitator Program Manager
  • Kristi Kaylo – Lab Operations Manager
  • Liz Vanderwerff – Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives
  • Marie Cuccia – Communications Associate
  • Rassamee Kahrs – Communications Associate
  • Robert Kargbo, PhD – Medicinal Chemist
  • Tina Sauder – Clinical Trials Associate


Usona has worked together with many different organizations and researcher:

  • Heffter Research Institute
  • MAPS
  • Johns Hopkins
  • NYU
  • UCLA Health
  • Yale
  • University of Zurich
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Swiss Neuro Foundation
  • HKI
  • Instituto d’or Pesquisa e Ension
  • Swiss Medical Society for Psychedelic Therapy
  • UCSF


Company Information

Usona Institute Website

January, 2014


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