Mark J. Niciu, MD, PhD

Portrait
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Contact Information

Primary Office
W267 GH
200 Hawkins Dr.
Iowa City, IA 52242
319-356-1549

Education

BS, Biology, Philosophy, Manhattan College
MD, University of Connecticut Health Center
PhD, Biomedical Science (Neuroscience), University of Connecticut Health Center
Resident, Psychiatry, Yale University
Chief Resident, Psychiatry, Yale University
Fellow, Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP)/McNeil Fellowship in Translational Neuropsychopharmacology Research, Yale University
Fellow, Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Licensure and Certifications

Board Certified in Adult Psychiatry (ABPN)

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Iowa Neuroscience Institute

Research Summary

The Niciu Lab is broadly interested in the pathophysiology and experimental therapeutics of major mood disorders, particularly glutamate and subanesthetic-dose ketamine in treatment-resistant major depression. Another major aim is the identification, replication and dissemination of antidepressant response biomarkers. As an example, our group and others have observed that treatment-resistant depressed subjects with a family history of an alcohol use disorder in a first-degree relative have a greater and more sustained antidepressant response to ketamine. We are currently studying potential alcohol-sensitive multimodal, e.g. psychological, neurophysiological and neuroimaging, biomarkers to predict antidepressant response with greater sensitivity and specificity than family history alone. On the translational front, we use human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-based models, i.e. cortical-like spheroids, to study genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease and pharmacological response to racemic ketamine, bioactive ketamine metabolites and other compounds in the future.

Publications

Kadriu, B., Yuan, S., Farmer, C., Nugent, A. C., Lener, M. S., Niciu, M. J., Park, M., Yazdian, A., Ballard, E. D., Henn, F. A., Henter, I. D., Park, L. T. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2018). Clinical Trial of the Potassium Channel Activator Diazoxide for Major Depressive Disorder Halted Due to Intolerability. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology, 38(3), 243-246. PMID: 29601316.

Niciu, M. J., Shovestul, B. J., Jaso, B. A., Farmer, C., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Brutsche, N. E., Park, L. T., Ballard, E. D. & Zarate, Jr., C. A. (2018). Features of dissociation differentially predict antidepressant response to ketamine in treatment-resistant depression. Journal of affective disorders, 232, 310-315. PMID: 29501990.

Ballard, E. D., Yarrington, J. S., Farmer, C. A., Lener, M. S., Kadriu, B., Lally, N., Williams, D., Machado-Vieira, R., Niciu, M. J., Park, L. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2018). Parsing the heterogeneity of depression: An exploratory factor analysis across commonly used depression rating scales. Journal of affective disorders, 231, 51-57. PMID: 29448238.

Boggs, D. L., Surti, T., Gupta, A., Gupta, S., Niciu, M., Pittman, B., Schnakenberg Martin, A. M., Thurnauer, H., Davies, A., D'Souza, D. C. & Ranganathan, M. (2018). The effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on cognition and symptoms in outpatients with chronic schizophrenia a randomized placebo controlled trial. Psychopharmacology. PMID: 29619533.

Niciu, M. J., Iadarola, N. D., Banerjee, D., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Park, M., Lener, M., Park, L., Ionescu, D. F., Ballard, E. D., Brutsche, N. E., Akula, N., McMahon, F. J., Machado-Vieira, R., Nugent, A. C. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2017). The antidepressant efficacy of subanesthetic-dose ketamine does not correlate with baseline subcortical volumes in a replication sample with major depressive disorder. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 31(12), 1570-1577. PMID: 29039254.

Vande Voort, J. L., Ballard, E. D., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Bernert, R. A., Richards, E. M., Niciu, M. J., Park, L. T., Machado-Vieira, R., Duncan, Jr, W. C. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2017). Antisuicidal Response Following Ketamine Infusion Is Associated With Decreased Nighttime Wakefulness in Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 78(8), 1068-1074. PMID: 27929610.

Ballard, E. D., Wills, K., Lally, N., Richards, E. M., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Walls, T., Ameli, R., Niciu, M. J., Brutsche, N. E., Park, L. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2017). Anhedonia as a clinical correlate of suicidal thoughts in clinical ketamine trials. Journal of affective disorders, 218, 195-200. PMID: 28477497.

Kadriu, B., Gold, P. W., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Lener, M. S., Ballard, E. D., Niciu, M. J., Henter, I. D., Park, L. T., De Sousa, R. T., Yuan, P., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2017). Acute ketamine administration corrects abnormal inflammatory bone markers in major depressive disorder. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 28555075.

Lener, M. S., Niciu, M. J., Ballard, E. D., Park, M., Park, L. T., Nugent, A. C. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2017). Glutamate and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Systems in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression and Antidepressant Response to Ketamine. Biological psychiatry, 81(10), 886-897. PMID: 27449797.

Fujita, M., Richards, E. M., Niciu, M. J., Ionescu, D. F., Zoghbi, S. S., Hong, J., Telu, S., Hines, C. S., Pike, V. W., Zarate, C. A. & Innis, R. B. (2017). cAMP signaling in brain is decreased in unmedicated depressed patients and increased by treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Molecular psychiatry, 22(5), 754-759. PMID: 27725657.

Pennybaker, S. J., Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A. & Zarate, C. A. (2017). Symptomatology and predictors of antidepressant efficacy in extended responders to a single ketamine infusion. Journal of affective disorders, 208, 560-566. PMID: 27839782.

Machado-Vieira, R., Gold, P. W., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ballard, E. D., Richards, E. M., Henter, I. D., De Sousa, R. T., Niciu, M. J., Yuan, P. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2017). The role of adipokines in the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine. Molecular psychiatry, 22(1), 127-133. PMID: 27046644.

Jaso, B. A., Niciu, M. J., Iadarola, N. D., Lally, N., Richards, E. M., Park, M., Ballard, E. D., Nugent, A. C., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, C. A. (2017). Therapeutic Modulation of Glutamate Receptors in Major Depressive Disorder. Current neuropharmacology, 15(1), 57-70. PMID: 26997505.

Ballard, E. D., Vande Voort, J. L., Bernert, R. A., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Richards, E. M., Niciu, M. J., Furey, M. L., Duncan, Jr, W. C. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2016). Nocturnal Wakefulness Is Associated With Next-Day Suicidal Ideation in Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 77(6), 825-31. PMID: 27337418.

Richards, E. M., Mathews, D. C., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Machado-Vieira, R., Niciu, M. J., Duncan, W. C., Nolan, N. M., Franco-Chaves, J. A., Hudzik, T., Maciag, C., Li, S., Cross, A., Smith, M. A. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2016). A randomized, placebo-controlled pilot trial of the delta opioid receptor agonist AZD2327 in anxious depression. Psychopharmacology, 233(6), 1119-30. PMID: 26728893.

Lally, N., An, L., Banerjee, D., Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Richards, E. M., Roiser, J. P., Shen, J., Zarate, Jr, C. A. & Nugent, A. C. (2016). Reliability of 7T (1) H-MRS measured human prefrontal cortex glutamate, glutamine, and glutathione signals using an adapted echo time optimized PRESS sequence: A between- and within-sessions investigation. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI, 43(1), 88-98. PMID: 26059603.

Park, M., Niciu, M. J. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). Novel Glutamatergic Treatments for Severe Mood Disorders. Current behavioral neuroscience reports, 2(4), 198-208. PMID: 26824031.

Niciu, M. J., Abdallah, C. G., Fenton, L. R., Fasula, M. K., Black, A., Anderson, G. M. & Sanacora, G. (2015). A history of early life parental loss or separation is associated with successful cognitive-behavioral therapy in major depressive disorder. Journal of affective disorders, 187, 241-4. PMID: 26363143.

Zarate, Jr, C. A., Niciu, M. J. (2015). Ketamine for depression: evidence, challenges and promise. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 14(3), 348-50. PMID: 26407791.

Ballard, E. D., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Richards, E. M., Walls, T. L., Brutsché, N. E., Ameli, R., Niciu, M. J., Vande Voort, J. L. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). Assessing measures of suicidal ideation in clinical trials with a rapid-acting antidepressant. Journal of psychiatric research, 68, 68-73. PMID: 26228403.

Ionescu, D. F., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Niciu, M. J., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). A single infusion of ketamine improves depression scores in patients with anxious bipolar depression. Bipolar disorders, 17(4), 438-43. PMID: 25400146.

Ionescu, D. F., Nugent, A. C., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Niciu, M. J., Richards, E. M., Zarate, C. A. & Furey, M. L. (2015). Baseline working memory activation deficits in dimensional anxious depression as detected by magnetoencephalography. Acta neuropsychiatrica, 27(3), 143-52. PMID: 25600154.

Iadarola, N. D., Niciu, M. J., Richards, E. M., Vande Voort, J. L., Ballard, E. D., Lundin, N. B., Nugent, A. C., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). Ketamine and other N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists in the treatment of depression: a perspective review. Therapeutic advances in chronic disease, 6(3), 97-114. PMID: 25954495.

Lally, N., Nugent, A. C., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Niciu, M. J., Roiser, J. P. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). Neural correlates of change in major depressive disorder anhedonia following open-label ketamine. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 29(5), 596-607. PMID: 25691504.

Hammond, C. J., Niciu, M. J., Drew, S. & Arias, A. J. (2015). Anticonvulsants for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome and alcohol use disorders. CNS drugs, 29(4), 293-311. PMID: 25895020.

Ortiz, R., Niciu, M. J., Lukkahati, N., Saligan, L. N., Nugent, A. C., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). Shank3 as a potential biomarker of antidepressant response to ketamine and its neural correlates in bipolar depression. Journal of affective disorders, 172, 307-11. PMID: 25451430.

Xu, A. J., Niciu, M. J., Lundin, N. B., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M., Vande Voort, J. L., Ballard, E. D., Brutsche, N. E., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2015). Lithium and Valproate Levels Do Not Correlate with Ketamine's Antidepressant Efficacy in Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Depression. Neural plasticity, 2015, 858251. PMID: 26137324.

Ballard, E. D., Ionescu, D. F., Vande Voort, J. L., Niciu, M. J., Richards, E. M., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Brutsché, N. E., Ameli, R., Furey, M. L. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Improvement in suicidal ideation after ketamine infusion: relationship to reductions in depression and anxiety. Journal of psychiatric research, 58, 161-6. PMID: 25169854.

Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M., Vande Voort, J. L., Ballard, E. D., Brutsche, N. E., Furey, M. L. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Riluzole likely lacks antidepressant efficacy in ketamine non-responders. (Vols. 58). pp. 197-9. Journal of psychiatric research. PMID: 25139008.

Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M., Vande Voort, J. L., Ballard, E. D., Brutsche, N. E., Furey, M. L. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Ketamine's antidepressant efficacy is extended for at least four weeks in subjects with a family history of an alcohol use disorder. The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology, 18(1). PMID: 25539512.

Esterlis, I., Ranganathan, M., Bois, F., Pittman, B., Picciotto, M. R., Shearer, L., Anticevic, A., Carlson, J., Niciu, M. J., Cosgrove, K. P. & D'Souza, D. C. (2014). In vivo evidence for ß2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit upregulation in smokers as compared with nonsmokers with schizophrenia. Biological psychiatry, 76(6), 495-502. PMID: 24360979.

Ionescu, D. F., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Niciu, M. J., Richards, E. M., Slonena, E. E., Vande Voort, J. L., Brutsche, N. E. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Effect of baseline anxious depression on initial and sustained antidepressant response to ketamine. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 75(9), e932-8. PMID: 25295436.

Svenningsson, P., Berg, L., Matthews, D., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M., Niciu, M. J., Malinger, A., Toups, M., Manji, H., Trivedi, M. H., Zarate, Jr, C. A. & Greengard, P. (2014). Preliminary evidence that early reduction in p11 levels in natural killer cells and monocytes predicts the likelihood of antidepressant response to chronic citalopram. (Vols. 19). (9), pp. 962-4. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 24614495.

Niciu, M. J., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Glutamate and its receptors in the pathophysiology and treatment of major depressive disorder. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996), 121(8), 907-24. PMID: 24318540.

Lundin, N. B., Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M., Vande Voort, J. L., Brutsche, N. E., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Baseline vitamin B12 and folate levels do not predict improvement in depression after a single infusion of ketamine. Pharmacopsychiatry, 47(4-5), 141-4. PMID: 24955551.

Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Guevara, S., Machado-Vieira, R., Richards, E. M., Brutsche, N. E., Nolan, N. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Clinical predictors of ketamine response in treatment-resistant major depression. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 75(5), e417-23. PMID: 24922494.

Niciu, M. J., Mathews, D. C., Nugent, A. C., Ionescu, D. F., Furey, M. L., Richards, E. M., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Developing biomarkers in mood disorders research through the use of rapid-acting antidepressants. Depression and anxiety, 31(4), 297-307. PMID: 24353110.

Luckenbaugh, D. A., Niciu, M. J., Ionescu, D. F., Nolan, N. M., Richards, E. M., Brutsche, N. E., Guevara, S. & Zarate, C. A. (2014). Do the dissociative side effects of ketamine mediate its antidepressant effects?. Journal of affective disorders, 159, 56-61. PMID: 24679390.

Niciu, M. J., Mason, G. F. (2014). Neuroimaging in Alcohol and Drug Dependence. Current behavioral neuroscience reports, 1(1), 45-54. PMID: 24678450.

Niciu, M. J., Mathews, D. C., Ionescu, D. F., Richards, E. M., Furey, M. L., Yuan, P., Nugent, A. C., Henter, I. D., Machado-Vieira, R. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Biomarkers in mood disorders research: developing new and improved therapeutics. Revista de psiquiatria clinica, 41(5), 131-134. PMID: 26082563.

Abdallah, C. G., Niciu, M. J., Fenton, L. R., Fasula, M. K., Jiang, L., Black, A., Rothman, D. L., Mason, G. F. & Sanacora, G. (2014). Decreased occipital cortical glutamate levels in response to successful cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy for major depressive disorder. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 83(5), 298-307. PMID: 25116726.

Niciu, M. J., Henter, I. D., Sanacora, G. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Glial abnormalities in substance use disorders and depression: does shared glutamatergic dysfunction contribute to comorbidity?. The world journal of biological psychiatry : the official journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, 15(1), 2-16. PMID: 24024876.

Niciu, M. J., Henter, I. D., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Zarate, Jr, C. A. & Charney, D. S. (2014). Glutamate receptor antagonists as fast-acting therapeutic alternatives for the treatment of depression: ketamine and other compounds. Annual review of pharmacology and toxicology, 54, 119-39. PMID: 24392693.

Ionescu, D. F., Niciu, M. J., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2014). Pharmacologic treatment of dimensional anxious depression: a review. The primary care companion for CNS disorders, 16(3). PMID: 25317369.

Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Mathews, D. C., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2013). Subanesthetic dose ketamine does not induce an affective switch in three independent samples of treatment-resistant major depression. (Vols. 74). (10), pp. e23-4. Biological psychiatry. PMID: 23726512.

Ionescu, D. F., Niciu, M. J., Henter, I. D. & Zarate, C. A. (2013). Defining anxious depression: a review of the literature. CNS spectrums, 18(5), 252-60. PMID: 23507190.

Niciu, M. J., Ionescu, D. F., Mathews, D. C., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2013). Second messenger/signal transduction pathways in major mood disorders: moving from membrane to mechanism of action, part I: major depressive disorder. CNS spectrums, 18(5), 231-41. PMID: 23462230.

Niciu, M. J., Ionescu, D. F., Mathews, D. C., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2013). Second messenger/signal transduction pathways in major mood disorders: moving from membrane to mechanism of action, part II: bipolar disorder. CNS spectrums, 18(5), 242-51. PMID: 23472710.

Niciu, M. J., Arias, A. J. (2013). Targeted opioid receptor antagonists in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. CNS drugs, 27(10), 777-87. PMID: 23881605.

Niciu, M. J., Grunschel, B. D., Corlett, P. R., Pittenger, C. & Bloch, M. H. (2013). Two cases of delayed-onset suicidal ideation, dysphoria and anxiety after ketamine infusion in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a history of major depressive disorder. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 27(7), 651-4. PMID: 23676198.

Zeng, M. C., Niciu, M. J., Luckenbaugh, D. A., Ionescu, D. F., Mathews, D. C., Richards, E. M., Franco-Chaves, J., Brutsche, N. E. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2013). Acute stress symptoms do not worsen in posttraumatic stress disorder and abuse with a single subanesthetic dose of ketamine. (Vols. 73). (12), pp. e37-8. Biological psychiatry. PMID: 23245747.

Mathews, D. C., Richards, E. M., Niciu, M. J., Ionescu, D. F., Rasimas, J. J. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2013). NEUROBIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF SUICIDE AND SUICIDE ATTEMPTS IN BIPOLAR DISORDER. Translational neuroscience, 4(2). PMID: 24294519.

Ionescu, D. F., Niciu, M. J., Mathews, D. C., Richards, E. M. & Zarate, Jr, C. A. (2013). Neurobiology of anxious depression: a review. Depression and anxiety, 30(4), 374-85. PMID: 23495126.

Anticevic, A., Gancsos, M., Murray, J. D., Repovs, G., Driesen, N. R., Ennis, D. J., Niciu, M. J., Morgan, P. T., Surti, T. S., Bloch, M. H., Ramani, R., Smith, M. A., Wang, X. J., Krystal, J. H. & Corlett, P. R. (2012). NMDA receptor function in large-scale anticorrelated neural systems with implications for cognition and schizophrenia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(41), 16720-5. PMID: 23012427.

Niciu, M. J., Kelmendi, B. & Sanacora, G. (2012). Overview of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the nervous system. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 100(4), 656-64. PMID: 21889952.

Niciu, M. J., Chan, G., Gelernter, J., Arias, A. J., Douglas, K., Weiss, R., Anton, R. F., Farrer, L., Cubells, J. F. & Kranzler, H. R. (2009). Subtypes of major depression in substance dependence. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 104(10), 1700-9. PMID: 19681804.

Niciu, M. J., Ma, X. M., El Meskini, R., Pachter, J. S., Mains, R. E. & Eipper, B. A. (2007). Altered ATP7A expression and other compensatory responses in a murine model of Menkes disease. Neurobiology of disease, 27(3), 278-91. PMID: 17588765.

Niciu, M. J., Ma, X. M., El Meskini, R., Ronnett, G. V., Mains, R. E. & Eipper, B. A. (2006). Developmental changes in the expression of ATP7A during a critical period in postnatal neurodevelopment. Neuroscience, 139(3), 947-64. PMID: 16549268.

Mair, G. R., Niciu, M. J., Stewart, M. T., Brennan, G., Omar, H., Halton, D. W., Mains, R., Eipper, B. A., Maule, A. G. & Day, T. A. (2004). A functionally atypical amidating enzyme from the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 18(1), 114-21. PMID: 14718392.