Beckley Foundation Team


Amanda Feilding

Founder and Executive Director

Since its inception Amanda has led the Scientific and Policy Programmes. By establishing key research collaborations with some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, she has propelled the field forwards over the last 20 years, conducting several landmark studies, such as the world’s first LSD brain imaging study. Read more about Amanda and the history of the Beckley Foundation here.


Valerie Bonnelle PhD

Scientific Assistant to the Director

Fascinated by the way the human brain works and how normal functions can be either impaired or enhanced, Valerie studied the neural underpinnings of cognitive changes observed following brain injury during her PhD at the Imperial College London. She then moved to the University of Oxford to investigate how differences in the structure and function of specific networks of brain regions may manifest as inter-individual personality traits, with a particular focus on motivation.

For the last decade, she has been following with the greatest interest the progresses and breakthroughs made towards restoring the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purpose and understanding their way of action. Convinced of the huge potential benefit psychedelics may have on our society, she joined the Beckley Foundation to contribute actively to this exciting field of research. She is now helping Amanda with the initiation and coordination of research programmes on psychedelics and other mind-altering substances.


Sam Gandy PhD

Scientific Assistant to the Director

Sam has a PhD in ecological science from the University of Aberdeen and an MRes in entomology from Imperial College London. He has a lifelong interest in nature and wildlife and has been fortunate enough to conduct field research in various parts of the world including the UK, Kefalonia, Almeria, Texas, the Peruvian Amazon, Vietnam and Ethiopia, both solo and as part of a team, in a variety of conditions and environments. In more recent years he has grown a passionate interest in consciousness, altered states and psychedelics. Over the years he has written papers, book chapters, articles and spoken at conferences on these topics, and he is fascinated by the potentials of psychedelics and how they can be used for the betterment of humanity. He is very happy to have had the opportunity of working in this role at the Beckley Foundation assisting Amanda with this very important work.


Vivian Kear

PA/Office Manager

An English graduate from the University of Playa Ancha in Valparaiso, Chile, Vivian is instrumental to the day-to-day running of the Foundation in areas such as recruitment, planning and office management. She works closely with Amanda Feilding in the organisation of the prestigious Beckley seminars and conferences. Vivian has been part of the Foundation since its beginnings in 1998.


Hattie Wells

Policy Project Coordinator

Hattie Wells has a degree in anthropology from the London School of Economics and an MSc in ethnobotany from the University of Kent. She has worked for a number of NGOs, on human rights issues, conservation, sustainable livelihoods and drug policy reform, and has carried out long-term ethnobotanical research with the San bushmen in Namibia that she is in the process of publishing. She comes to the Beckley Foundation having spent many years researching both the ethnobotanical and therapeutic aspects of psychedelic drugs. She specialised in the administration of ibogaine as an addiction interrupter.


Sasha Frost

Communications and Content Manager

Sasha studied English and Hispanic Literature at King’s College, London, where his interest in contemporary consciousness research took him from Don Quixote and Defoe to gaining an MSc in Psychology from the University of Essex. Sasha has previously worked in the press office of the Science Museum in Seville and as a non-fiction book reviewer. As Content Manager, he handles the Beckley Foundation Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, and is keen to promote evidence-based drug policies and the therapeutic uses of psychedelics. 


James Bunn

Science and Social Media Intern

James recently graduated from the University of East Anglia with a Law degree. However, he soon  became disillusioned with the way in which the criminal justice system demonises drug users. Turning his attention to advocacy, he worked for NGOs such as the RAND Corporation, Release and Talking Drugs, in an attempt to destigmatise this sub-culture. As a Communications Officer, James aims to promote the expansion of consciousness through greater scientific research of psychedelic substances.