My name is Gaige Clark. Hi 🙂
I have a passion for keyboard-driven research and exploration in multiple domains of brain science. Through my childhood I have faced many hardships, through which I was given insights into the subjective nature of mental health issues. While I am currently a university student at UC Merced, most of my knowledge has come from relentlessly sifting through the research that is available online. Never before has research been so freely available to the public, something that shouldn’t be taken for granted!
Through much of my work there is a lean towards a strategy some have called patternism. What this means is I take research across various subfields of psychology and neuroscience and synthesize the information to make arguments that aim to help us rethink the nature of mental illness and disorder, which seem to be ubiquitously misunderstood in today’s world. Social psychology, neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, and pharmacology are intertwined to create theories and models of disorders such as schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and to understand the nature of consciousness, psychedelic intoxication, and what it means to be human. This blog places a special emphasis on combining social and neurochemical explanations of severe mental illness like schizophrenia. Another frequent topic is the nature and biology of perception as well as ethics, society and evolution.
I am currently studying psychology at UC Merced, focusing on neuroscience, pharmacology, and neuropsychology, especially in relation to psychedelic therapy.
I started this blog which rose up in popularity over the course of 1-2 years, peaking currently with around 4,000 and up to 15,000 views on new articles. It has been featured in other popular blogs such as SlateStarCodex (currently offline) and QualiaComputing. The blog views have creeped into the 6 figures range over the last year.
Why I Started This
My story began with a troubled upbringing from a chaotic single-mother household. My mother was schizophrenic and as her social problems escalated, she started using heroin and ended up passing away while I was just beginning college. Through all the stress and chaos I experienced my own schizophrenic symptoms. This set back my ‘official’ academic progress, but I remained persistent in researching neuroscience and psychology through academic journals in my own time, in an attempt to solve my own problems and sometimes sheer curiosity. The blog allowed me to network to PhDs and many intelligent people who helped me build skills in reading the literature.
I tried approximately 95 different substances in my journey to understand the subjective effects of receptor binding in the brain. Enter the psychedelic drugs: these essentially cured the mild psychotic symptoms I faced. I experimented countless times with psilocybin on myself, observing that I could recover from stressful social events nearly spontaneously. I’ve dosed while in the middle of symptoms such as paranoia and anhedonia, observing both rapidly leave my experience of life, often for many months at a time, until some other major stressful event occurred again.
I’ve looked into the biology and other various fields of psychedelic research and noticed that there is a great deal of support for the hypothesis that psychedelics may treat schizophrenia. So now I am set out to observe this effect on a wider scale, through human experiments.
In my free time, as a full-time student, I’ve begun compiling research projects and literature reviews that outline theories and hypotheses that I have about mental health disorders, particularly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but also a few others. This evolved into fully cited papers and even research proposals that I decided to put out as a way to draw attention and potentially collaboration that could bring these proposed study designs to reality. These research proposals have so far focused on psychedelics, aging, schizophrenia, perception and Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a proposal of novel non-invasive biomarkers that could be tested through human experiments.
Some of my most exciting projects are below:
Reversing mental age with psychedelics. (Anti-aging, cognitive enhancement, Alzheimer’s treatment).
The dynorphin hypothesis of schizophrenia and treating it with psychedelics.
The current list of research proposals:
The research proposals described above are also posted on the blog, although the blog generally contains multiple kinds of content and is more broad. The project aims to start discussions on philosophical and scientific topics. Each article has links at the bottom for all the places on the internet that the article is known to have facilitated discussion, mostly reddit boards. This helps me get public feedback and helps me shape my communications skills in a way that appeals to a wider audience.
You can find the link to the general blog below. There are also categories on the side bar to narrow down topics. The most popular posts tend to be about psychedelics, psychopharmacology, and sometimes relatable psychological content.
Other projects I’ve worked on include a science/philosophy podcast, music production, and photography. There are collaborations with interesting artists you can check out in the musiq section of the blog:
Since starting Mad.Science.Blog, I have met a wide variety of interesting individuals. Here are some of the most interesting people I’ve come across. Some of these were simply brief interactions, while some developed into something I would describe as friendships. Anyways, it would be nice to draw attention to these amazing people!
Berra Yazar-Klosininki, MAPS, Published MDMA Researcher
We met through a psychedelic science social group after I shared a project. She has been co-authored in MDMA research.
Thomas Roberts, MAPS, Creator of MindApps
I discovered Thomas when someone from his mailing list told me that he was circulating my project The Phoenix Effect. It is a small world.
I attend Zoom discussion sessions with the QRI network occasionally, usually discussing perception and sharing about new projects that are occurring. I’ve considered collaborating with the individuals who comprise the QRI network.
Andres Gomez Emilsson, Director of research at QRI, writer at qualiacomputing
Andres is someone I would consider a friend and occasional collaborator. We often discuss psychedelics, mechanisms, and perception. He has been a guest on my podcast.
Michael Edward Johnson, Executive director at QRI
Bar Lehman, Researcher at QRI, Practicing Psychotherapist
We’ve met after my presentation for a proposal of a new biomarker using light flickers. He is an EEG researcher. There is potential for a future collaboration.
David Pearce, Philosopher
David is interesting because he owns dynorphin.com and I heavily focus on dynorphin research. Someone told me this and I reached out to him on twitter and we began talking. He spends his time as a writer and philosopher of ethics, known most for ‘The Hedonistic Imperative’. He also has his own Wikipedia page.
Robin Carhart-Harris, Psychedelics Researcher at the Imperial College London
Robin has followed me on twitter (so excited even if its just a follow! lol), suggesting he may read my blog. I haven’t yet reached out but this is someone I cite in my projects often and would love to work with. We have a similar area of focus in our research. He is the head of the Centre For Psychedelics Research.
Parker Singleton, Cornell University Grad Student, Cocolaboratory
This individual has contacted me about collaboration to perform fMRI research described in The Phoenix Effect. Parker has worked with the brain connectome projects at Cornell University.
Melissa Bradley, Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins
Potential future collaborator (hopefully!) and close friend. She aids in helping the psychedelic researchers in their projects. We often talk about psychedelics.
AKC Network and PSYCHONET
This network is somewhat informal and very quiet, you won’t find it by googling it. There is a lot of activity in this network, many academics, investors, and innovators associate to the network. It is loose and exists across multiple mediums, mostly Facebook and email. AKC stands for Alex K. Chen, who is an ex-academic genius who set out to connect important people and under-represented intelligent and creative people together, operating himself as a ‘super connector’. I won’t talk about PSYCHONET, sorry. (Joking aside, it is essentially my version of the AKC Network, with many overlaps).
Alex K. Chen, Superconnector
AKC is known for traveling around the world to various high status universities in many countries, especially in the United States. He initially reached out to me through the contact page on my blog and invited me to meet other thinkers who are interested in the same topic. Once I entered his network space, I met hundreds of individuals over the course of a few years. He can help me find more collaborators.
Mycorhizo, Computer Code Artist
This artist is writing (soon) about psychopharmacology.
I’ve met Kettner through AKC. He has been very useful in discussing the nuances of biology, critical thinking in science, and advice for unusual career directions. He is an ex-Theil Fellow (Peter Theil) who now studies in the popular neuroscience lab run by Ed Boyden at MIT. I consider Kettner to be a close friend.
Genesis Lung, Senior Research Assistant at Beam Therapeutics
I’ve met Genesis in a similar manner to meeting Kettner. I’ve met up with Genesis in real life for parkour at a gym once before. I consider him a friend, although we are somewhat distant.
Nell Watson, Tech Ethicist, Machine Learning, Social Reformer
Nell has been featured on BBC, Wired, Forbes, The Guardian, CNBC, and FastCompany. Nell is a frequenter of my blog and we sometimes chat. She has been featured in TedTalk to discuss the state of the world as well. She is a member of the AKC Network.
Niklas Kokkola, PhD, Data Science at Sensyne
Niklas was one of the first people I’ve met through blogging. He has been featured in Nature, albeit over a controversial application. He is a risk-taker and creative individual, always changing up his lifestyle, trying new things, and pushing the edge.
Abhishaike Mahajan, Machine Learning at Anthem Medical
Abhishaike has become a personal friend of mine and has supported the project through patronage on my Patreon. He is funny and very intelligent, too humble for his own good.
Supreme Hinton, Artist and Entrepenuer
I met Supreme through PSYCHONET and met up with him in the Bay Area. We are friends! He is always trying to come up with new ideas to implement. Is a good thinker.
Morgan Catha, Electronics Engineer at Caltech
Morgan is a personal friend, quite clever, often challenging things that he wishes to understand. He asks many socratic-style questions. He has supported my project through patronage on my Patreon.
Lila Rieber, Computational Biologist at Elemental Genomics
Very intelligent sometimes odd. She is a good friend as well. Though she might not know, she has inadvertently changed some of my thinking over time.
I chat with Julia occasionally. She is interested in pharmacology, biology, and medicine.
Alexey Guzey, Writer, Independent Researcher
Alexey was put into contact with me by AKC himself, as a way to potentially help me get funded on early projects. He has been a great utility in my development of caution in research, as he is a strong critic of scientific methodologies and explores metascience. His blog is quite successful and he’s been featured on BBC
Mathew Baker, co-founder of NootropicsDepot
I’ve met Mathew fairly recently and we chatted a bit about pharmacology and nootropics. This is cool as NootropicsDepot is the top source for acquiring quality nootropics. It is the only site I will use, due to the long history and historical connections with Ceretropic.
Brian Bi, Software Engineer at Citadel Securities
Brian tends to be popular in the networks we share. He has been popular on Quora, with nearly 100,000 followers.
Lucas Aoun, Founder of Ergogenic Health
Lucas was amazing and invited me onto his podcast to talk about health and biology.
I could include more in this list, but these are the people who I find most interesting and also have some kind of established projects or ongoing purposes.