Una D. McCann

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Una Deirde McCann
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CitizenshipUnited States Of America
Spouse(s)George A. Ricaurte
  • Princeton University (BS)
  • Duke University School of Medicine (MD)
TitleDirector Anxiety Disorders Program

Associate Program Director JHBMC GCRC Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professor of Neurology
AwardsPhi Beta Kappa Society (1980)

Sigma Xi Award in Psychology (1980)

U.S. Army Commissioned Officers Award (1995)
Scientific career
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Una D. McCann (Born 1958) is a board certified psychiatrist and researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry.[1] McCann is also the Director of the Anxiety Disorders Program, and Co-Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Sleep Medicine and Research, and Associate Program Director at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Dr. McCann is considered to be an expert in anxiety and Stress disorders, stress disorders and her primary areas research revolves around amphetamine-induced monoamine neurotoxicity[2] and neurobiology of anxiety disorders.[3][4]


McCann graduated from Princeton University in 1980 with a Bachelors of Science while on a four year academic scholarship. After graduating, McCann went on to attended Duke University school of Medicine in 1984 and completed residency at Stanford University School of Medicine and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1988. McCann became a board certified physician in 1985 in California and in 1990 in Maryland.


Prior to Working at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. McCann was a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Medical Center and was Chief of the Unit on Anxiety at the National Institute of Mental Health at the NIH.[4] McCann currently is a practicing physician, professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, and holds many executive roles within Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and at Johns Hopkins Bayview medical Center.

MDMA Research

McCann has written many research articles studying the affects of MDMA, including, adverse reactions of MDMA and how it leads to serotonin neuron damage.[5] McCann and her husband, fellow Johns Hopkins Professor and Physician George A. Ricaurte,[6] have also linked abnormalities such as altered sleep, neuroendocrine function, altered behavior to 5-HT receptor drugs, and increased impulsiveness with MDMA users.[7] McCann has also done research on neurotoxicity MDMA using functional magnetic resonance imaging comparing the neurocognitive capabilities of MDMA users and nonusers, as studies on animals using MDMA have shown negative effects.[8] McCann and her husband Ricaurte have had one study published in the The journal Science subject to Retractions in academic retraction. In 2002, Ricaurte's primate study of MDMA usage and brain damage did not use ecstasy and that ten squirrel monkeys and baboons were injected with overdoses of methamphetamine, instead of MDMA, resulting in two animals dying and the withdrawal of four other academic papers.[9][10] Ricaurte, McCann, and other scientist involved wrote a response to the retraction addressing the errors made in their research.[11]

Anxiety & Stress Research

McCann has been involved in a broad array of stress and anxiety research revolving around PTSD, depression, and traumatic brain injury. In regards to depression, McCann has worked on studying on the neuroanatomical markers of depression after traumatic brain injury through the use of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) which measures the translational motion of water molecules and on individuals with depression after suffering from myocardial infarction.[12][13] In relation to cardiac issues, McCann was involved in a study assessing depression symptoms among patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction, coming to the conclusion that depression screening should be utilized in order to prevent depression among patients.[14] She has also been involved with associating a link between heart hart and posttraumatic stress disorders with severe burn patients.[15] McCann has investigated the association between mild traumatic brain injury and sleep disturbances through the use of sleep polysomnograms (PSG) and sleep EEG power spectra (PS), which could become a possible diagnostic marker for brain injury.[16]

Psilocybin Research

McCann has been apart has been in apart of psilocybin research, a naturally occurring psychedelic drug, in partnership with other Johns Hopkins scientist, including working with Roland R. Griffiths [17][18], who was featured on 60 minutes regarding the studies done.[19][20] The psilocybin research has focused on the mystical experiences associated with individuals taking psilocybin for religious purpose and observing the psychological effects.[17] McCann has also contributed to studies regarding psilocybin's use among cancer patients and healthy volunteers in two sperate studies, investigating whether the use of this psychedelic increased psychological coping and decreased depression due to spirituality being associated with the two.[21]


McCann has published more than 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts and over 9,000 citations.[22]

Her awards include:

  • (1980) Phi Beta Kappa society;
  • (1980) Sigma Xi Society and Sigma Xi award in Psychology;
  • (1980) Howard Hughes Foundation Student Scholar;
  • (1995) U.S. Army Commissioned Officers Award.


  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0013297/una-mccann
  2. McCann, Una D; Ricaurte, George A (2004-01-01). "Amphetamine neurotoxicity: accomplishments and remaining challenges". Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. Foundations and Innovations in the Neuroscience of Drug Abuse. 27 (8): 821–826. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2003.11.003. ISSN 0149-7634.
  3. "Alumni Profile: Una McCann '80, alleviating the effects of trauma". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "‎In the Ladies' Room with Dr. Donnica: 108: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Una D. McCann MD on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  5. McCann, Una D.; Slate, Shiyoko O.; Ricaurte, George A. (1996-08-01). "Adverse Reactions with 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; 'Ecstasy')". Drug Safety. 15 (2): 107–115. doi:10.2165/00002018-199615020-00003. ISSN 1179-1942.
  6. "George A Ricaurte, Jr, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology". Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  7. McCann, Una D.; Eligulashvili, Victoria; Ricaurte, George A. (2000). "(±)3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine ('Ecstasy')-Induced Serotonin Neurotoxicity: Clinical Studies". Neuropsychobiology. 42 (1): 11–16. doi:10.1159/000026665. ISSN 0302-282X. PMID 10867551.
  8. Garg, Aayushi; Kapoor, Saloni; Goel, Mishita; Chopra, Saurav; Chopra, Manav; Kapoor, Anirudh; Behera, Una D. McCann and Chittaranjan (2015-03-31). "Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Abstinent MDMA Users: A Review". Current Drug Abuse Reviews. doi:10.2174/1874473708666150303115833. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  9. Jr, Donald G. McNeil (2003-12-02). "Research On Ecstasy Is Clouded By Errors (Published 2003)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  10. Holden, Constance (2003-09-12). "Paper on Toxic Party Drug Is Pulled Over Vial Mix-Up". Science. 301 (5639): 1454–1454. doi:10.1126/science.301.5639.1454b. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 12970527.
  11. Ricaurte, George A.; Yuan, Jie; Hatzidimitriou, George; Cord, Branden J.; McCann, Una D. (2003-09-12). "Retraction". Science. 301 (5639): 1479–1479. doi:10.1126/science.301.5639.1479b. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 12970544.
  12. Fauerbach, James A.; Bush, David E.; Thombs, Brett D.; McCann, Una D.; Fogel, Joshua; Ziegelstein, Roy C. (2005-07-01). "Depression Following Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Relationship With Ongoing Health and Function". Psychosomatics. 46 (4): 355–361. doi:10.1176/appi.psy.46.4.355. ISSN 0033-3182.
  13. Rao, Vani; Mielke, Michelle; Xu, Xin; Smith, Gwenn S.; McCann, Una D.; Bergey, Alyssa; Doshi, Vishal; Pham, Dzung L.; Yousem, David; Mori, Susumi (2012). "Diffusion Tensor Imaging Atlas-Based Analyses in Major Depression After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury". The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences. 24 (3): 309–315. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.11080188. ISSN 0895-0172. PMC 5646269. PMID 23037644.
  14. Ziegelstein, Roy C.; Kim, So Young; Kao, David; Fauerbach, James A.; Thombs, Brett D.; McCann, Una; Colburn, Jessica; Bush, David E. (2005). "Can Doctors and Nurses Recognize Depression in Patients Hospitalized With an Acute Myocardial Infarction in the Absence of Formal Screening?". Psychosomatic Medicine. 67 (3): 393–397. doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000160475.38930.8d. ISSN 0033-3174.
  15. Gould, Neda F.; McKibben, Jodi B.; Hall, Ryan; Corry, Nida H.; Amoyal, Nicole A.; Mason, Shawn T.; McCann, Una D.; Fauerbach, James A. (2010-10-19). "Peritraumatic Heart Rate and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Patients With Severe Burns". The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 72 (4): 539–547. doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05405blu. ISSN 0160-6689.
  16. Rao, Vani; Bergey, Alyssa; Hill, Hugh; Efron, David; McCann, Una (2011-04-01). "Sleep Disturbance After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Indicator of Injury?". The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 23 (2): 201–205. doi:10.1176/jnp.23.2.jnp201. ISSN 0895-0172.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Griffiths, R. R.; Richards, W. A.; Johnson, M. W.; McCann, U. D.; Jesse, R. (2008-05-30). "Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin mediate the attribution of personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later:". Journal of Psychopharmacology. doi:10.1177/0269881108094300. PMC 3050654. PMID 18593735.
  18. Griffiths, Roland R.; Johnson, Matthew W.; Richards, William A.; Richards, Brian D.; McCann, Una; Jesse, Robert (2011-12-01). "Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects". Psychopharmacology. 218 (4): 649–665. doi:10.1007/s00213-011-2358-5. ISSN 1432-2072. PMC 3308357. PMID 21674151.
  19. Oct 14, Hub staff report / Published; 2019 (2019-10-14). "'60 Minutes' segment explores psychedelics research at Johns Hopkins". The Hub. Retrieved 2020-12-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. "Psilocybin Sessions: Psychedelics could help people with addiction and anxiety". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  21. "Psilocybin Studies: In Progress". MAPS. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  22. "Una McCann ResearchGate Profile". ResearchGate. Retrieved 28 November 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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