Principal Investigator


Mark J. Niciu M.D. Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of Psychiatry/Iowa Neuroscience Institute


University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics/Carver College of Medicine

200 Hawkins Dr.

W267 GH

Iowa City, IA 52245

Tel. #: (319)-356-1549

Fax #: (319)-353-8656


Mark received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut in 2008. He completed Adult Psychiatry Residency and Neuroscience Research Training Program at Yale University in 2012. From 2012-8, Dr. Niciu completed a clinical fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos A. Zarate Jr. M.D. He joined the Department of Psychiatry and Iowa Neuroscience Institute in March 2018.

Jacob (Jake) Dale, B.S.

Research Associate/Laboratory Manager

Jacob (Jake) Dale, B.S.

Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB) 2310E-2

Tel. #: (319)-335-0426

Jake received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Iowa. He had ~10 years of biomedical research experience in cardiovascular biology at the University of Louisville before joining the Niciu Laboratory in 12/2018 as our wet lab manager. 

Graduate Student

Alexandra (Alex) Alario, B.S.

Alex is a 4th year graduate student in the neuroscience graduate program. She has her Bachelors degree in neuroscience from the University of Texas (Hook’em). Her work focuses on interventional treatments for depression, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and ketamine. She wants to understand how these interventional treatments modulate the brain and how this relates to treatment response, with the goal to predict which patients will have a beneficial response. In her free time, she likes to relax with her dog Freddy, crochet, and listen to spooky podcasts!

Graduate Student

William Guiler, B.S., B.A.

William is a 2nd year student in the Neuroscience program. He has a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from East Carolina University. His research focuses on preclinical models of depression and testing the effects of various antidepressants. In particular, he is interested in studying how ketamine leads to therapeutic effects in Human Cortical Spheroids (HCS). In his free time, he swims for the Iowa City Eels master team, enjoys trying new restaurants – go to him for the *best* recommendations – and going on hikes at the various parks in the area.

Clinical Research Assistant

Nicole (Nikki) Schlegel, B.A.

Nikki is a graduating senior from Grinnell College who majored in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. She has done an impressive amount of research already in cognitive-developmental labs, including with human subjects (children). She is interested in pursuing an advanced degree (Ph.D. likely) in clinical psychology, so she’ll be studying for the GRE and applying during our time together. Finally, she’s also the captain and has been awarded All-Conference as a swimmer and diver at Grinnell.