Dr Rick Strassman is a biological psychiatrist who has spent over a decade researching the effects of DMT, psilocybin, and the pineal hormone melatonin. He first began looking into the functions of the pineal gland due to its curious status of being considered the ‘spirit gland’ — the place where the spiritual interacted with the physical. As he mentions at the beginning of the third chapter, Strassman was quite literally searching for a “biological basis for spiritual experience”. It was while studying melatonin that Strassman began wondering about the possibility that DMT, a chemical produced by the human body as well as many plants, might also be present and able to prompt mystical experiences. This hypothesis led him to endure the agonising process of gaining approval for clinical research with an illicit drug. Happily, the end result was that Strassman was able to conduct the first new US-government approved and funded research with a psychedelic drug in more than twenty years.