Dr. Chris Witowski is a natural products chemist and the Co-founder and CEO of Psilera Bioscience.
He possesses a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of South Florida (which he attended with his Psilera co-founder Dr. Jackie von Salm) and a BS in Chemistry from Florida State University.
Prior to launching Psilera in 2019 with Dr. von Salm, Dr. Witowski developed business acumen in leadership positions over five years at AltMed, a multistate cannabis corporation. He spent his first two years as Director of Laboratory and Processing and the next two as Senior Director of Research and Development. Dr. Witowski became the Chief Scientific Officer in December of 2018, wherein he oversaw the development of an award-winning product line of cannabinoid formulations boasting a variety of delivery systems. During the latter half of 2019, he also served as Vice President of Operations at MÜV CBD, the brand behind these products.
Dr. Witowski’s contributions at AltMed supported the company’s eventual merger with Verano Holdings at a $7 billion IPO valuation.
As a Research Assistant at the Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation from 2013 to 2015, Dr. Witowski screened for, isolated, and characterized medically relevant compounds from a library of microorganisms. Over the course of his Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida, he also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant, studying natural products through interdisciplinary approaches.
A profile of Dr. Witowski in Beyond Exclamation Magazine recounts his path into the field of psychedelic pharmaceuticals. Originally from stormy Florida, Dr. Witowski’s early interest in meteorology was deterred by a high school physics class, and he refocused his aptitude for the sciences toward chemistry. When asked about the prime motives behind his work, he stated, “We are shifting the paradigm of how we treat illness, addiction, and even cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. There’s a very personal motivation for me as well, as I’ve witnessed the devastation of these ailments first-hand within my family and friends.”
Dr. Witowski describes these personal motivations on an Isn’t Life Curious? podcast episode hosted by Jason Wilson, M.S. on which he appeared with Dr. von Salm, mentioning his brother’s lengthy and demoralizing search for effective antidepressants and his grandmother’s death after a 15 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sharing a key takeaway for listeners of the podcast, Dr. Witowski stated, “We have the potential to really change the way that we think about our relationships with other people, our relationships with ourselves. And this is really one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as a civilization is why [psychedelics] are here and how can we utilize them to better our own existence…From a scientific perspective, it’s really fascinating, [and] from a philosophical side as well.”
Other media appearances by Dr. Witowski include a keynote presentation at the 2021 Virtual Precision in Drug Discovery & Preclinical Summit hosted by Precision Evolution Global, a Tampa Bay Times profile of Psilera, and interviews on Microdose’s PsyFi podcast and on the Huxley Morton podcast, among others. According to his biography on Psilera’s website, Dr. Witowski “is co-Inventor on multiple patents including multiple drug delivery systems for increasing the bioavailability of cannabinoids and terpenes and the discovery of Antarctic sponge terpenoids with antibiotic and anti-viral activity.”1