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.


Matias Lopez-Portillo

Development Officer

Matias joined the Beckley Foundation to help navigate the next stage of its development, and harness the opportunities brought about by the ‘Psychedelic Renaissance’. An Oxford University graduate, he has a background in public policy, business and consulting. Prior to working at the Foundation, he was a founder and director of a technology and public policy think tank focused on Latin America, and the VP of Business Strategy for a legaltech startup.


Valerie Bonnelle PhD

Scientific Officer

Convinced of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, Valerie joined the Beckley Foundation in 2017 to contribute actively to this exciting and much-needed field of research, through the coordination of the Beckley Foundation’s many research programmes.

During her PhD at Imperial College, Valerie studied the neural underpinnings of cognitive changes observed following brain injury using neuroimaging. She then moved to the University of Oxford to investigate how differences in brain function and structure may underlie inter-individual differences in motivation.

With a keen interest in spiritual practices, she is hoping psychedelic research may contribute to bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and modern medicine.


Vivian Kear

Office Manager/EA

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.


Sasha Frost

Content Manager

As the Content Manager for the Beckley Foundation, Sasha explores effective ways to tell stories about psychedelic science and drug policy reform. With a background in literature and psychology, he is keen to make use of emerging forms of communication to inform the dialogue around drug prohibition and the place of psychedelics in modern society. Most recently Sasha has been creating videos and animations to disseminate the work of the Foundation. He has presented on reframing psychedelics and about psychedelics in film, TV and the media.


Jon Sharp

Science and Communications Officer

Jon came to be interested in psychedelic research while studying Neuroscience at Kings College London, seeing substances like LSD as potential tools to better understand the nature of conscious experience. He currently manages the Beckley Foundation’s social media pages and assists the Scientific Officer with her work. He has previously worked as an English language teacher in China and, outside of work, enjoys countryside walks and real ale.


Matilda Lucas

Researcher and Assistant to the Director

Matilda is a Team Assistant at the Beckley Foundation with a degree in Neuroscience from the University of St Andrews. Fascinated by the pharmacology and therapeutic potential of psychedelics, she has continued to assist the Foundation with research in order to further explore and contribute to valuable work in this field.


Will Smith

Scientific Assistant to the Director

Will has a keen interest in using science to inform public opinion, and shape how we think about ourselves and our place in the world. He is currently completing a PhD in Psychology, having previously completed a degree in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex and a Masters in Psychological Research at the University of Nottingham. In his role as Scientific Assistant to the Director, he advises Amanda on a variety of topics in neuroscience, pharmacology and psychology.

Beckley Collaborators

Farhan Ahmed

Proofreader and Copy Editor

A former journalist with a knack for concise articulation and a Masters in Public Policy from NUS in Singapore, Farhan’s interest in the future of psychedelics in society has led him to volunteer for the Beckley Foundation as an editor and proofreader, a role he has also carried out for MAPS.