TEAM

Davor Kosanic

Davor Kosanic

Social Entrepreneurship Director, PhD
Davor

… is a healthcare entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about helping people to reach the state of flow in life through reconnection to their true self, other people (community) and our natural world (ecology).

After successfully building from scratch the medical technology venture SamanTree as founder and CEO and launching an innovative medical product in the domain of Oncology, Davor has developed the unique entrepreneurial skill set to make “something out of nothing” in the complex healthcare industry. As leader behind SamanTree’s vision, Davor has raised over 6M CHF in private venture capital and public research funds, won several prestigious entrepreneurship awards, established and executed the strategic marketing and product development plan and recruited the required talent and medical key-opinion-leaders to turn the vision into clinical reality.

Physicist by training with a PhD in life sciences, he believes that the objective scientific method is the best way to create evidence-based progress of humankind. Yet most importantly, as a parent, Davor is convinced that sustainability on all levels is our inherent obligation towards future generations, and that in current times of global crisis ecological sustainability should become the top priority on all political, economic and societal agendas.

Milan Scheidegger

Milan Scheidegger

Clinical Research Director, MD/PhD/MA
Milan...

… is a visionary and integrative thinker with an academic background in medicine, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychiatry. He is driven by the passion to understand the nature of human existence from its molecular basis up to the level of phenomenal consciousness. As a resident physician at the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics (University of Zurich), he aims at developing „Transformational Psychotherapy“ as a novel and paradigm-changing treatment approach that advocates a shift from pharmacological substitution towards integrative transformational healthcare.

After successful completion of his MD-PhD training in functional and molecular neuroimaging at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (ETH Zurich) he continues to research the neurobiology and pharmacology of altered states of consciousness and their potential to facilitate psychological well-being. Beyond empirical research, he earned an M.A. degree in History and Philosophy of Knowledge (ETH Zurich). Being deeply knowledgeable about biosemiotics, philosophy of mind, epistemology and phenomenology of consciousness, mindfulness and deep ecology, he developed a broader perspective on life. On his ethnobotanical expeditions to Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, he explored the traditional use of psychoactive plants in indigenous rituals.

He is current member of the Swiss Society for Psycholytic Therapy (SÄPT) and former scholar of the Swiss Study Foundation and received the Young Investigators Award from the Swiss Society of Biological Psychiatry (2013).

Alexis Kaiser

Alexis Kaiser

Lawyer, MSc
Alexis

… is a Swiss lawyer who graduated from the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1998 with a master’s in international business law. After passing the Paris bar exam, he pursued his studies in economics at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. He then worked for different financial institutions and advised clients on the structuring of assets, before starting to assist his clients in criminal complaints involving complex cross-borders litigation. In 2012, after obtaining the recognition of Ayahuasca as a legal substance by the Swiss regulatory authorities, he defended a few criminal cases related to illegal confiscation of ayahuasca. He’s working at defending its legal status, supporting different Swiss initiatives interested in a change of perspective on the use of psychedelics in alternative therapies.

Heiner Dörfler

Heiner Dörfler

Cross cultural investigator, MD / PhD
Heiner

… is a physician who works with scientists, artists, and indigenous peoples to seek avenues on how to address and deal with social conflicts, environmental issues, and mental dispositions. Heiner believes that the future should be about living more sustainable and respectful lives. For this, he states that every person is an essentially unique member of the social community. A mindful mindset, being in contact with inner motivational sources and a sensitivity for interpersonal relationships are crucial for personal growth and for the society as a whole.

After writing an MD thesis about how Colombian medical doctors collaborate with traditional indigenous healers using natural medicines, such as Ayahuasca, Heiner started his residency at the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich. He is studying Jungian Psychology, and is interested in connecting knowledge of different eras and habitats. At the moment he is researching different therapeutic settings and methods to develop concepts for an integrative psychotherapy. In 2015, he was part of a film crew that produced a documentary about traditional tribes and their view on the globalization of ayahuasca.

Valentina Manini

Valentina Manini

Marketing and Innovation specialist, MA
Valentina...

… has been seeking for meaning and purpose since she can remember. She studied Environmental Sciences as a natural consequence of her wonder and love for living beings and this diverse and unique planet. She then followed her fascination for technology and spent more than 13 years in the Software Development and User Experience IT field, becoming an International Manager in the IT/mobile technology industry and achieving an MA in Leading Innovation and Change. She earned extensive experience in leadership, project management, and business coaching.

Since the unsettling realization into the dynamics of toxic thoughts, keeping people in a place of inadequacy and unworthiness, she embarked on the daunting search for purpose and meaning, and ultimately happiness.In a quest for understanding thought processing, biases, and cognition, Valentina completed a course on Positive Psychology. She became passionate of the ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) model which led to life-changing awareness, and a growing passion towards meditation, mindfulness, and altered states of consciousness (as a way to overcome the mindset rigidity induced by decades of strongly held beliefs and to access the transformative feelings of self-acceptance and self-compassion).

Valentina’s purpose in life has become to help other people rediscover who they are, and who they can become, by overcoming (social?) conditioning and self-limiting beliefs. She is undertaking a certification as a Life Coach, and is the happy and sleep-deprived mother of twins.

David Andel

David Andel

Science and Consciousness expert
David

… is – above anything else – a curious human being.
One cold winter night, observing the stars, he understood the fundamental fact that everything we know, we do via our consciousness. He, therefore, realized that we need to understand consciousness first.

He then embarked on a journey through philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, psychology, biology, chemistry, and physics. He graduated in medicine from the University of Basel and went to the University of Zurich for postgraduate studies in mathematics, neuroscience, and computer science. At the Institute of Zoology and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich, he investigated the orientation behavior of desert ants and the application of its underlying mechanisms in robotics. David has both clinical and research experience in the psychiatric field, has worked for several years in human brain research, and in the last decade mostly in information technology, both in private companies and at universities. With his broad experience in artificial intelligence and machine learning, he co-founded Neuronomics GmbH together with Michael Kometer.

It is becoming more and more evident that the survival of the human race is dependent on the ability of a majority of its individuals to see past their own survival and reproduction: which means past their egos. Among other techniques (e.g. meditation), psychedelics enable people to let go of their ego and feel their complete inclusion in the whole of existence, which can be a profoundly transformative experience. To understand how these experiences arise in the brain and how to make them most useful for humanity is part of David’s purpose.

So far the biggest challenge in David’s efforts to include his ego into a larger life process proves to be fatherhood of twins.

Dipika Wishart

Dipika Wishart

Integrative Medicine Practitioner, BSc Hons
Dipika

… is an exceptionally skilled body and natural medicine therapist who is passionate about assisting individuals and groups to find peace within by reconnecting them with their true Self. Since childhood it has been her mission to assist in reducing human  suffering and create awareness and respect for the environment we live in. As an experienced facilitator in Chinese and Natural Medicine, as well as Psychointegrative Therapy, she has successfully worked with most debilitating conditions of the mind and body to restore health through optimum changes in dietary, lifestyle and thought patterns.  Through her (own Self healing and ) 17 years of experience as a professional Acupuncturist, Naturopath and Energy Bodyworker, she has created successful practices and offered therapy to thousands of individuals from different cultural backgrounds all over the world.

Dipika has experienced the many ways that cultures practice spirituality in connection with their homelands and the stars above. Her lineage includes the three ancient civilisations of Egypt, India and China and through this wisdom and world experience she has an overview of what is important for happiness and good health of all life.

After obtaining a BSc Honours degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine she has worked in private practice in the UK, Thailand, Switzerland and Spain, as well as multidisciplinary complementary practices and private hospitals in the UK, public hospitals in China, and the luxury health resort Kamalaya in Thailand.

Dipika enjoys variety and adventure in life and now resides in the Balearic Islands with her 6 year old son where joy, celebration, relaxation and time in nature is the general priority with a focus on community, sharing and the nature of One.


​Scientific ​Committee

Ansgar Rougemont-Bücking

Ansgar Rougemont-Bücking

Scientific senior resident, FMH Psychiatry
Ansgar

… is a board approved psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He relocated to Switzerland from Germany in 1999 wishing to live his life close to the mountains. Professionally he is most interested in the psychiatric problems that are “acquired” throughout life and which represent major challenges for our communities: post-traumatic (stress) disorders and addictive disorders. Ansgar works in private practice in Vevey, as well as in research and teaching at the University of Fribourg.

As a doctor and nature enthusiast, he would like to raise patients’ greater awareness towards the stress reducing capabilities that nature and physical activity can provide. For himself, both have been immeasurable sources of stress release and comfort.

He joined the Reconnect program since he believes that it is crucial for our well-being to enhance our awareness of the life-sustaining power of social bonding and of living in contact with nature. As part of Reconnect’s aim is to stimulate this awareness, it’s an honor for Ansgar to contribute to its efforts.

Robin von Rotz

Robin von Rotz

Neuroscientist, MSc
Robin

… is a psychologist by training with main expertise in the field of Psychopharmacology. Since early on he envisioned the clinical potential of the psychedelic state and developed a deeply rooted passion for this topic. Following his passion, he happily decided to contribute to the creation and thriving of the reconnect Foundation.

He believes in the capacity of empirical research and especially computational modeling to reach a better understanding of human consciousness and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms. During the last decade he worked in four different research groups and thus, accumulated expertise and knowledge from the fields of clinical pathology (schizophrenia and depression), different neuroimaging modalities (EEG, fMRI), neurobiology and sleep research, as well as mathematical model predictions using machine-learning algorithms. Lately, he investigates the clinical potential of psilocybin carrying out his PhD in the renowned research group of Prof. Franz X. Vollenweider.

Robin engages at the intersection between scientific knowledge creation and knowledge transfer from the lab in order to improve the life of people in modern societies. By learning about altered states of consciousness and using this information to develop practical implications, he hopes to fulfil his personal duty in service of the best possible future.

Benjamin Stucky

Benjamin Stucky

Data Scientist, PhD
Benjamin
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… is a data scientist with an affinity for creative work. He values all the multi-faceted manifestations of life and seeks deeper levels of understanding. In doing so, he enjoys integrating pieces of information into novel explanatory frameworks, finally aiming at transforming old views into more adapted ones.

Benjamin finished his PhD in 2017 at the ETH Zürich in the field of statistics with a focus on extracting meaningful information from high-dimensional data sets. Statistical approaches are particularly useful to understand how the human brain recognizes patterns and filters a potentially infinite amount of information. Most of this automatic information selection is very useful in guiding everyday action, but it can be impaired by traumatic imprints or genetic heredity. As a Post-Doc in the Human Sleep Psychopharmacology Laboratory at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Zürich (Prof. Hans-Peter Landolt), he therefore aims at combining statistical modeling with neuroscience.

Among his future goals are to investigate how innovative therapies with pharmacological support (including assisted lucid dream therapy) facilitate therapeutic transformation by resetting dysfunctional patterns of information processing in the brain. Letting go of rigid thought structures supports psychological evolution towards a more integrative and sustainable perspective of life. This is also reflected in Benjamin’s artistic endeavors including the music project (oscilence) and his digital art flourb.</font>

Helena Aicher

Helena Aicher

Psychologist, MSc
Helena

After having studied sports science at ETH Zurich, Helena Aicher finished a BSc in Psychology and business economics and is doing her MSc in Psychology at the University of Zurich with focus on clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience. She is currently engaged in a research project on meditation and psilocybin in the group around Prof. F. X. Vollenweider at the Heffter Research Center Zurich. Working also at the department of psychology in the field of personality and assessment, she developed a strong interest in integrating the perspective of Positive Psychology to increase psychological well-being and mental health.

With a critical mind, exploring why and how things work, trying to look behind phenomena to gain a broader understanding of consciousness, disease and any other concept, Helena developed a passion in both, the subjective, qualitative research as well as the objective, quantitative research, structure, and statistics.

Helena finds herself also at the intersection between science and practice, building bridges, translating and changing perspectives: Being aware of the body’s nonverbal expression as a certified massage therapist, including movement, breath, music and explorative techniques into her therapeutic work with clients. An essential aim of her is to provide a safe space for creative exploration, supporting people to explore themselves, integrating experiences and insights into everyday life, regaining self-responsibility and experiencing themselves as individuals, connected and embedded in a broader context.

Grown up in Switzerland with Swiss and German roots, Helena lived in Mexico, travelled through Latin and South America and Africa, worked for permaculture-projects, and loves outdoor activities in the forest, mountains or in and on the water. She has a daughter.

Michael Kometer

Michael Kometer

Science and Business Advisor, PhD
Michael

… seeks to understand the relationship between “internal” experiences (e.g. emotions, visual percepts, values, thoughts) and the “external” environment. This relationship strongly influences psychological well-being and impacts our social and economic behavior. Therefore, his goal has been to find new techniques to transform this relationship and thereby promote psychological well-being and financial wealth.
He obtained his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Zurich and subsequently worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zurich. During this time he investigated phenomena, such as cognitive delusions or visual hallucinations that are commonly characterized by an altered relationship between “internal” experiences and the environment. Moreover, using serotonergic agonists, such as psilocybin, he identified neuropharmacological mechanisms that modulate the emotional orientation of humans towards its environment.
More recently, he investigates our valuation systems (e.g. emotions) within the economic environment. Together with David Andel he co-founded Neuronomics GmbH to quantify those valuation processes in real-time using AI-based analysis of news, blogs and tweets. Currently, he works at the Finance Research Institute of the University of Geneva to investigate the systemic events (e.g. market bubbles/crashes) and personal traits/states (e.g. overconfidence) that lead to a dissociation between “internal”  values (e.g. valuation of a product) and the economic constitutions of the environment (e.g. economic growth). In addition, he works at a swiss asset management company to test the practical implication of this knowledge for endowment management.

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