$6M to UC Berkeley for Dr. Gül Dölen The Renee & U.S. Marine LCpl Bob Parsons Endowed Chair
One of the most unique and exciting relationships we built through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation in 2023 was with The University of California Berkeley, an institution built by academic pioneers with the mission of bringing together the brightest minds from across the globe to ask questions, explore, and improve the world. I wouldn’t say it is typical to our philanthropy to partner with large academic institutions, particularly those outside of our home state of Arizona – but the opportunity brought about by this specific circumstance felt like one of such potentially momentous significance in the field of psychedelics, academia, and beyond that Bob and I knew we wanted to be part of it becoming a reality.
The gift made through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation establishes The Renee & U.S. Marine LCpl Bob Parsons Endowed Chair – a tenured professor position focused on the intersection of psychedelic science, psychology, and neuroscience. Behind the title and the prestige that comes with it is world-renown neuroscientist, Dr. Gül Dölen, whose career has already been transformative to the fields of psychedelics and neuroscience. Dr. Dölen’s research has made her a pioneer in these fields because of her passion to look beyond current inquiry and explore what she terms ‘the next next thing.’ She’s studied how the psychedelic chemical MDMA activates a critical period for brain plasticity in mice, how doses of the same chemical cause changes in antisocial versus playful behavior in an octopus, and more. There is no doubt that her work moving forward will continue to be groundbreaking.
Bob and I had the privilege to sit down to dinner with Dr. Dölen this past year to learn more about her work and how a position at Berkeley might help further her efforts to better understand how the brain engages with psychedelics and why these substances might have healing potential for so many people who are suffering from PTSD and the like. I must say we are so proud to support Gül’s journey and work – she is as down to earth, funny, and warm as she is brilliant in her field of study.
We cannot wait to see what this partnership reveals in support of a more informed, healed, and open-minded world. If you’re looking for a starting point in your own journey to learn about psychedelics, I highly recommend accessing the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP) free educational resources built by some of the world’s most notable experts in the field. I’d also suggest getting started the way Bob and I did by checking out Michael Pollan’s bestselling book How to Change Your Mind – it is truly eye-opening!
Happy reading and cheers to learning something new!