Franz X. Vollenweider, MD

Chief Psychiatrist and Co-Director of the Centre for Psychiatric Research

Franz X. Vollenweider is currently Chief Psychiatrist and Co-Director of the Centre for Psychiatric Research in the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, at the University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich and Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, University of Zürich.

After obtaining a Diploma in Chemical Lab Technology in 1978 he studied Biochemistry and Medicine at the ETH and the University of Zürich and completed his medical training at the Institute of Toxicology at the University and ETH Zürich in 1987 with a doctorate in Experimental Medicine from the University of Zürich. Dr. Vollenweider received post-doctoral research fellowships in neurochemistry, electrophysiology, and neuroimaging techniques at the Brain Research Institute, University of Zürich, the PSI PET Centre of the ETH, and the PET Centre of the University of Zürich.

After clinical training in psychiatry, internal medicine, and Freudian analysis at the Psychiatric University Hospital, Zürich and other institutions, he received certification in psychiatry and psychotherapy (1996). He completed a guest residency at New York University, USA, and has been a visiting scientist at the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, USA.

Since his doctorate, Dr. Vollenweider has been interested in the foundations of altered states of consciousness as well as in psychotic and affective disorders using concepts from psychology, psychopathology, and cognitive neuroscience. In 1999, he founded the Heffter Research Centre at the Psychiatric University Hospital, Zürich and more recently at the Swiss Neuromatrix Foundation to support multidisciplinary studies in the mind-brain interface of pharmacological, (e.g. psychedelic) and non-pharmacological, (e.g. meditation-induced) altered mental states.

His current research focuses on the neuronal correlates of the sense of self, emotion regulation, and social interaction, relevant for human well-being and for the further understanding of mental disorders related to these psychological domains. Dr. Vollenweider has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, many of which address the neurobiology of psychostimulants, psychedelics, and entactogens in humans.

His research is supported by multiple grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Federal Health Office, the Heffter Research Institute, USA, and by multiple AWARDS from NARSAD, USA, and the Fetzer Research Institute, USA. He has received the Achievement Award of the Swiss Society of Psychiatry (1990), the Heffter Research Institute Award (1997), the Götz Prize of the University of Zürich (2000), the British Association of Psychopharmacology Prize (2002), and multiple Awards from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (1999, 2003, 2010, 2016), among others.