Nicholas, Christopher Richard NearyAssistant Professor (CHS)
(608) 256-1901
610 N Whitney Way (Madison)

Dr. Nicholas’s research focuses on the clinical efficacy and therapeutic mechanisms of psychedelic and other psychoactive compounds for addiction (opioid and methamphetamine use disorders), trauma, chronic pain, and depression. He also serves as a site co-PI and therapist on the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Phase 3 multi-site clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD. In addition to research, Dr. Nicholas provides specialty clinical services in the overlapping areas of chronic pain, addiction, and trauma and is a behavioral health supervisor for the UW Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Nicholas earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology and neuroscience at the University of Tennessee; and completed his internship in health psychology and post-doctoral fellowship in multi-modal neuroimaging at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Selected Publications

Brett J, Knock E, Korthuis PT, Liknaitzky P, Murnane KS, Nicholas CR, Patterson JC II and Stauffer CS (2023) Exploring psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of methamphetamine use disorder. Front. Psychiatry 14:1123424.

Nicholas CR, Wang JB, Coker A, Mitchell JM, Klaire SS, Yazar-Klosinski B, Emerson A, Brown RT, Doblin R. The effects of MDMA-assisted therapy on alcohol and substance use in a phase 3 trial for treatment of severe PTSD. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022 Apr 1;233:109356.

Goldberg, S., Shechet, B., Nicholas, C., Ng, C., Deole, G., Chen, Z., & Raison, C. (2020). Post-acute psychological effects of classical serotonergic psychedelics: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine50 (16), 2655-2666

Goldberg, S., Pace, B., Nicholas, C. R., Raison, C., Hutson, P. (2019). The experimental effects of psilocybin on symptoms of anxiety and depression: A meta-analysis, Psychiatry Research, 284, 112749.

Barzgari, A., Sojkova, J., Dowling; NM., Pozorski, V., Okonkwo, O.C, Stark, E.J.; Oh, J., Thiesen, F. Wey, A, Nicholas, C.R., Johnson, S.C., Gallagher, C.L. (2018). Arterial spin labeling reveals relationships between resting cerebral perfusion and motor learning in Parkinson’s disease, Brain Imaging and Behavior , 13(3), 577-587.

Nicholas, C.R., Henriquez, K.M., Gassman, M.C., Cooper, K.M., Mueller, D., Hetzel, S., Brown, R. T. Cozzi, N.V., Thomas, C., Hutson, P. (2018). High Dose Psilocybin is associated with Positive Subjective Effects in Healthy Volunteers. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(7), 770-778.

Smith, J., Nicholas, C.R., Deyo, B., Hetzel, S, Brown, R.T. (2018). Associations Between Pain Coping and Opioid Use: 1-Month Follow-Up Results of a Prospective Study in a Cohort of Traumatic Injury Patients. Journal of opioid management, 14(3), 159-163.

Brown, R., Deyo, B., Riley, C., Quanbeck, A., Glass, J.E., Turpin, R., Hetzel, S., Nicholas, C., Cruz, M. and Agarwal, S. (2017). Screening in Trauma for Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOMP): study protocol for the development of an opioid risk screening tool for victims of injury. Addiction science & clinical practice, 12(1), p.28.

Racine, A.M, Merluzzi, A. P., Adluru, N., Norton, D., Koscik, R. L., Clark, L. R., Berman, S. E., Nicholas, C.R., Asthana, S., Alexander, A., Blennow, K., Zetterberg, H., Kim, W. H., Singh, V., Carlsson, C., M., Bendlin, B.B., & Johnson, S.C. (2017). Association of longitudinal white matter degeneration and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of neurodegeneration, Brain Imaging and Behavior, June, 1-12.

Nicholas, C.R., Dowling, N.M., Clark, L., Koscik, R., Oh, J., Hermann, B.P., Bendlin,, B., Sager, M.A., & Johnson, S. C. (2017). Longitudinal assessment of self and informant reports of memory function in cognitively normal, middle-aged adults: Findings from the WRAP study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 23, 617-626.

Nicholas, C.R., Hoscheidt, S., Clark, L., Racine, A., Berman, S., Dowling, M., Asthana, S. Christian, B., & Johnson, S.C. (2017). Positive affect predicts FDG-PET glucose metabolism in health late middle-aged adults. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 12(6), 993-1000.

Brown, R.T., Nicholas, C.R., Cozzi, N.V., Gassman, M., Cooper, K.M., Muller, D., Thomas, C., Hetzel, S., Henriquez, K. Ribaudo, A. & Hutson, P.R. (2017). Pharmacokinetics escalating doses of psilocybin in healthy adults. Clinical Pharmacokinetics, 1-12.

Racine, A.M., Koscik, R., Clark, L.R., Mueller, K.D., Berman, S.E., Nicholas, C.R., Blennow, K., Zetterberg, J., Bilgel, M., Carlsson, C.M., Christian, B.T., Asthana, S., & Johnson, S.C. (2016). Associations between performance on an abbreviated CogState battery, other measures of cognitive function, and biomarkers in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 54(4), 1395-1408.

Racine, A.M, Koscik, R. L.; Berman, S. E., Nicholas, C.R., Clark, L. R., Okonkwo, O., Rowley, H.A., Asthana, S., Bendlin, B.B., Blennow, K., Zetterberg, H., Gleason, C. E., Carlsson, C., M., & Johnson, S.C. (2016). Biomarkers cluster are differently associated with longitudinal cognitive decline in late mid-life. Brain, 139(8), 2261–2274.

Clark, L.R., Koscik, R.L., Nicholas, C.R., Okonkwo, O.C., Engelman, C.D., Bratzke, L.C., Hogan, K.J., Mueller, K.D., Bendlin, B.B., Carlsson, C.M., Asthana, S., Sager, M.A., Hermann, B.P., & Johnson, S.C. Mild cognitive impairment in late middle age in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP) study: Prevalence and characteristics using robust and standard neuropsychological normative data. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 31(7), 675-688.

Racine, A.M, Koscik, R. L.; Nicholas, C.R., Oh, J., Clark, L., Okonkwo, O., Oh, Jennifer M Hillmer, A., Murali, Barnhart, T., Gallagher, C. Rowley, H., Dowling, M., Asthana, S., Bendlin, B., Zetterberg, H., Carlsson, C., Christian, B., & Johnson, S. (2016). CSF markers of neural injury predict longitudinal brain Aβ burden in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, 2, 27-38

Clark, L.R., Racine, A.M., Koscik, R.L., Okonkwo, O.C., Engelman, C.D., Carlsson, C.M., Asthana, S., Bendlin, B.B., Chappell, R., Nicholas, C.R. and Rowley, H.A. (2016). Beta-amyloid and cognitive decline in late middle age: Findings from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention study. Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Nicholas, C. R., Okonkwo, O. C., Bendlin, B. B., Oh, J.M., Asthana, S., Rowley, H. A., Sager, M. A., Johnson, S. C. (2014). Posteromedial hyperactivation during episodic recognition among people with memory decline: Findings from the WRAP study. Brain Imaging and Behavior.

Nicholas,C.R., McLaren, D. G., Gawrysiak, M., Rogers, B. P., Dougherty, J. H., & Nash, M. (2014). Functional neuroimaging of personally relevant stimuli in a pediatric case of impaired awareness. Brain Injury, 28 (8), 1135-1138.

Gawrysiak, M. J., Swan, S., Nicholas, C. R., Dougherty, J.H., & Hopko, D.R. (2013). Pragmatic psychodynamic psychotherapy for a depressed breast cancer patient: Functional MRI evaluation of treatment effects. American Journal of Psychotherapy. 67, 237-255.

Gawrysiak, M., Carvalho, J., Rogers, B., Nicholas, C. R., Dougherty, J. H., & Hopko, D. R. (2012) Neural Changes following Behavioral Activation for a Depressed Breast Cancer Patient: A Functional MRI Case Study. Case Reports in Psychiatry, 2012, 1-8.

Smith, J. D., Nicholas, C. R., Handler, L., & Nash, M. R. (2011). Examining the clinical effectiveness of a family intervention session in Therapeutic Assessment: A single-case experiment. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93, 204-2012.

Dougherty, J. H., Cannon, R.L., Nicholas, C. R., Hall, L., Hare, F., Carr, E., Dougherty, A., Janowitz, J., Arunthamakun, J. (2010). The computerized self test (CST): An interactive, internet accessible cognitive screening test for dementia. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 20, 185-195.

Cooper, M. A., Grober, M. S., Nicholas, C., & Huhman, K. (2009). Aggressive Encounters Alter the Activation of Serotonergic Neurons and the Expression of 5-HT1A mRNA in the Hamster Dorsal Raphe Nucleus. Neuroscience, 161, 680-690.

Gawrysiak, M., Nicholas, C., & Hopko, D. R. (2009). Behavioral activation for depressed college students: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 468-475.

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