Jeff Schmitt enjoys a rich life filled with community, science, music, art, and family. Jeff is an enthusiastic advocate for indigenous healing and wisdom traditions. As both a noted scientist and practitioner of Peruvian Folk medicine, he seeks to build bridges of understanding. Jeff is a challenging and evocative speaker/storyteller; in 2011 he presented the first TEDx talk on Ayahuasca – inspired by his life-changing sojourn with the Secoya people of the Northern Amazon rainforest.He did his undergraduate work at Wake Forest University followed by graduate work at the University of Bath and Oxford University.
Jeff holds adjunct professorships at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Biochemistry, Physiology-Pharmacology. He is the Director of Research for the Center for Integrative Medicine at Wake Forest. He is a founding member of numerous companies including Targacept, Inc. where he led the development of simulation technology to make the process of drug discovery more efficient. Jeff has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications, patents and abstracts, and been on the editorial advisory boards of 6 international journals. He is the founding research director of the Bent Creek Institute of the University of North Carolina.
Jeff founded and directed the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He also devotes his time to organizations serving the greater good and has been a board member of 5 non-profit organizations. He is also a Chinese martial Arts expert. Despite a rich career in the life sciences, Jeff has over the years collaborated with numerous American and European artists, including ex-King Crimson drummer Michael Giles, LA sound artist Rhan Small, rap artist and spoken-word poet Cactus and members of Medeski, Martin and Wood. A stint with metal sculpture led to Jeff winning the Savannah College of Art ‘Savannah 3D’ invitational in 1986. Jeff and his musical collaborators composed music for the Aban Elved dance company 1994-2005, leading to collaborations in England, USA and Germany. Jeff is also a founding member of the Wheel Theater Company led by Juilliard and Moscow Art Theater artist Felix Ivanov. Finally, while in Europe, Jeff was a founding member of the Bio*Art collaborative, a group of philosophers, scientists and artists working together to foster an esthetic appreciation of scientific discovery. Their work led to a Royal Society exhibition as well as the first musical compositions based on the 3-dimensional structure of proteins.