McKennaâ€™s research led to the development of natural products for Aveda Corporation as well as greater awareness of natural products and medicines. He has authored numerous scientific articles and books. He co-authored The Invisible Landscape with his brother Terence. McKenna spent a number of years as a senior lecturer for the Center for Spirituality and Healing, part of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is now a senior research scientist for the Natural Health Products Research Group at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in the Vancouver area.
McKenna received his Masterâ€™s degree in botany at the University of Hawaii in 1979. He received his Doctorate in Botanical Sciences in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where he wrote a dissertation entitled Monoamine oxidase inhibitors in Amazonian hallucinogenic plants: ethnobotanical, phytochemical, and pharmacological investigations. His research has included the pharmacology, botany, and chemistry of ayahuasca and oo-koo-hĂ©, the subjects of his masterâ€™s thesis. He has also conducted extensive fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brazilian Amazon.