Charles Nichols


LSUNO Pharmacology


  • Purdue University, B.S.
  • Carnegie Mellon University, Ph.D.
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Postdoctoral


Functional Selectivty of 5-HT2A receptor ligands at their target receptor to design new chemical entities with better therapeutic potential. 

5-HT2A receptor agonists as potent anti-inflamamtory drugs and their development for clinical use.

The neuropharmacology of serotonin 5-HT2A receptor agonists (psychedelics) in mammalian and Drosophila systems towards generating a mechanismstic understanding of therapeutic efficacy to treat psychiatric disorders.


In March 2023, Dr. Nichols appeared on a featured panel at SXSW with Dr. David Nichols, Dr. Rachel Yehuda, and Halimton Morris in a panel entitled: To trip or not to trip?

Dr. Nichols is now President of the International Society for Research on Psychedelics.

In June 2022, Dr. Nichols was named Co-Editor in Chief, along with Dr. Peter Hendrick, of the new journal: Psychedelic Medicine.

Dr. Nichols appeard at SXSW 2022 in a panel entitled: "Psychedelics, has Nature given us all we need?" along with Dr. Julie Holland and Dr. John McCorvy.

Dr. Nichols was interviewed by Frontline Genomcs about psychedelics and genomics.

In September, 2020, Dr. Nichols was elected "President Elect" of the International Society for Research on Psychedelics (ISRP).

Our most recent high profile publication deliniating the structure/function realtionships between psychedelics and anti-nflammatory and behavioral effects had a nice writeup in Fierce Biotech. Here is another on in the Psychedelic Review. 

Our work was featured in the EndPoints article "How do depressed rats respond to psychedelics? New data offer insight into the human experience."

Our publication "Psychedelics, but not ketamine, produce persistent antidepressant-like effects in a rodent experimental system for the study of depression" was chosen as an Editors Choice by ACS Chemical Neuroscience. As of May 2020 after only two months there are nearly 12,000 views!

According to a recent analysis performed by Clarivate Analytics and presented in LSU Research (2019-2020), Dr. Nichols was the most highly cited researcher in the state-wide LSU system in 2019!


Hibicke, M., Kramer, H.M., & Nichols C.D. (2023). A single administration of psilocybin persistently rescues cognitive deficits caused by adolescent chronic restraint stress without long-term changes in synaptic protein gene expression in a rat experimental system with translational relevance to depression. PsyMed, 1.1.

Wulff, A. B., Nichols, C. D., & Thompson, S. M. (2023). Preclinical perspectives on the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic actions of psilocybin in psychiatric disorders. Neuropharmacology, 231, 109504

Kelley, D. P., Albrechet-Souza, L., Cruise, S., Maiya, R., Destouni, A., Sakamuri, S. S. V. P., Duplooy, A., Hibicke, M., Nichols, C., Katakam, P. V. G., Gilpin, N. W., & Francis, J. (2023). Conditioned place avoidance is associated with a distinct hippocampal phenotype, partly preserved pattern separation, and reduced reactive oxygen species production after stress. Genes, brain, and behavior, e12840. Advance online publication. 

Guner, S., Akhayeva, T., Nichols, C. D., & Gurdal, H. (2022). The Ca2+/CaM, Src kinase and/or PI3K-dependent EGFR transactivation via 5-HT2A and 5-HT1Breceptor subtypes mediates 5-HT-induced vasoconstriction. Biochemical pharmacology, 206, 115317

Henningfield, J. E., Coe, M. A., Griffiths, R. R., Belouin, S. J., Berger, A., Coker, A. R., Comer, S. D., Heal, D. J., Hendricks, P. S., Nichols, C. D., Sapienza, F., Vocci, F. J., & Zia, F. Z. (2022). Psychedelic drug abuse potential assessment research for new drug applications and Controlled Substances Act scheduling. Neuropharmacology, 109220. Advance online publication

Nichols C. D. (2022). Psychedelics as potent anti-inflammatory therapeutics. Neuropharmacology, 109232

Hibicke, M., & Nichols, C. D. (2022). Validation of the forced swim test in Drosophila, and its use to demonstrate psilocybin has long-lasting antidepressant-like effects in flies. Scientific reports12(1), 10019. 

Flanagan, T. W., & Nichols, C. D. (2022). Psychedelics and Anti-inflammatory Activity in Animal Models. Current topics in behavioral neurosciences, 10.1007/7854_2022_367. Advance online publication.

Battaglia, D. M., Sanchez-Pino, M. D., Nichols, C. D., & Foster, T. P. (2022). Herpes Simplex Virus-1 Induced Serotonin-Associated Metabolic Pathways Correlate With Severity of Virus- and Inflammation-Associated Ocular Disease. Frontiers in microbiology13, 859866.

Kelley, D. P., Venable, K., Destouni, A., Billac, G., Ebenezer, P., Stadler, K., Nichols, C., Barker, S., & Francis, J. (2022). Pharmahuasca and DMT Rescue ROS Production and Differentially Expressed Genes Observed after Predator and Psychosocial Stress: Relevance to Human PTSD. ACS chemical neuroscience, Advance online publication.

Savino, A., and Nichols C.D. (2021) Lysergic acid diethylamide induces increased signaling entropy in rats' prefrontal cortex. J Neurochem. Nov 2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34729786.

Kozlowska, U., Nichols C.D., Wiatr, K., and Figiel M. (2021) From psychiatry to neurology: Psychedelics as prospective therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders. J Neurochem. Sep 13. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34519052.

Yu, B, Battaglia, D.M., Foster, T.P., and Nichols, CD. (2021) Serotonin 5-HT2A receptor activity mediates adipocyte differentiation through control of adipogenic gene expression. Sci Rep. Oct 5;11(1):19714. PMID: 34611182; PMCID: PMC8492876.

Flanagan, T.W., Billac, G.B., Landry, A.L., Sebastian, M.N., Cormier, S.A. and Nichols, C.D. (2020) Structure-activity relationship analysis of psychedelics in a rat model of asthma reveals the anti- inflamamtory pharmacophore. ACS Pharmacol. Transl. Sci. 4(2):488-502. doi: 10.1021/acsptsci.0c00063.

Hibicke, M., Talman, Z., Kramer, H, and Nichols, C.D.(2020) Psychedelics, but not ketamine, produce persistent antidepressant-like effects in a rodent experimental system for the study of depression. ACS Chem Neurosci. 11, 6, 864-871.

Sexton, J.D., Nichols, C.D., and Hendricks, P.S. (2020). Population Survey Data Informing the Therapeutic Potential of Classic and Novel Phenethylamine, Tryptamine, and Lysergamide Psychedelics. Front Psychiatry. 10:896

Flanagan, T. W., Sebastian, M. N., Battaglia, D. M., Foster, T. P., Cormier, S. A., & Nichols, C. D. (2019). 5-HT2 receptor activation alleviates airway inflammation and structural remodeling in a chronic mouse asthma model. Life Sci, 236, 116790.

Flanagan, T.W., Sebastian, M.N., Battaglia, D.M., Foster, T.P., Maillet, E.L., and Nichols, C.D. (2019). Activation of 5-HT2 Receptors Reduces Inflammation in Vascular Tissue and Cholesterol Levels in High-Fat Diet-Fed Apolipoprotein e Knockout Mice. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-10.

Kuypers KP, Ng L, Erritzoe D, Knudsen GM, Nichols CD, Nichols DE, Pani L, Soula A, Nutt D. (2019). Microdosing psychedelics: More questions than answers? An overview and suggestions for future research. J Psychopharmacol. Jul 14:269881119857204. PMID31303095.

Flanagan, T.W., and Nichols C.D. (2018). Psychedlics as anti-inflammatory agents. IntRevPsychiatry, (13) 1-13.

Martin, D.A., and Nichols, C.D. (2018). The effects of hallucinogens on gene expression. Behavioral Neurobiology of Hallucinogens, Entactogens, and Psychomimetics / Current topics in Behavioral Neurosciences. (Vol. 20, pp. 92-22). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Kayzar, E.J., Nichols C.D., Gainetdinov, R.R., Nichols, D.E., and Kalueff, A.V. (2017) Psychedelic Drugs in Biomedicine. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. in press.

Martin, D., Xu, J., Porretta, C., & Nichols, C. D. (2017). Neurocytometry: Flow Cytometric Sorting of Specific Neuronal Populations from Human and Rodent Brain. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 8(2), 356-367. 

Nichols, D.E., Johnson, M.W., and Nichols, C.D. (2017) Psychedelics as Emerging Medicines: An Emerging new paradigm. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 101(2), 209-219. 

Martin, D.A., and Nichols, C.D. (2016) Psychedelics recruit multiple cellular types and produce complex transcriptional responses within the brain. EBioMedicine (a new journal from a collaboration between Cell and Lancet) 11, 262-277. 

Nau, F.J., Miller, J. Saravia, J., Ahlert, T., Yu, B., Happel, K, Cormier, S.A. and Nichols, C.D. (2015). Serotonin 5-HT2 receptor activation prevents allergic asthma in mouse model.  Am J Physol Lung Cell Mol Physiol.  Jan 15;308(2):L191-8. PMCID: PMC4338938

Martin D.A., Marona-Lewicka D., Nichols D.E., and Nichols CD (2014). Chronic LSD alters gene expression profiles in the mPFC relevant to schizophrenia. Neuropharmacology doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.03.013.

Majeed, Z.R., Nichols, C.D., and Cooper, R.L. (2013). 5-HT stimulation of heart rate in Drosophila does not act through cAMP as revealed by pharmacogenetics. Journal of Applied Physiology. 115 (11):1656-65. PMCID: PMC3882742.

Nau*, F.J., Yu*, B., , Martin, D., and Nichols, C.D. (2013) Serotonin 5-HT2A Receptor Activation Blocks TNF-α Mediated Inflammation in vivo. PLoS One. 8 (10):e75426. PMCID: PMC3788795.

Becnel, J., Johnson, O., Tran, Majeed, Z., V., Yu, B., Roth, B.L., Cooper, R.L., and C.D. Nichols (2013). A pharmacogenetic approach for robustly controlling behavior, neuronal signaling, and physiology in Drosophila. Cell Reports. 4(5): 1049-1059. PMCID: PMC3889141.

Daigle, J.G., Lanson, Jr, N.A.,  Smith, R., Casci, I., Maltare, A., Monaghan, J., Nichols , C.D., Kryndushkin, D., Shewmaker, F., and Pandey, U.B. (2013). RNA binding ability of FUS regulates neurodegeneration, cytoplasmic mislocalization and incorporation into stress granules associated with FUS carrying ALS-linked mutations. Hum. Mol. Genet 22(6):1193-205.

Dong, C., Nichols, C.D., Guo, J., Huang, W., Lambert, N.A., and Wu, G. (2012). A triple arg motif mediates α(2B)-adrenergic receptor interaction with Sec24C/D and export. Traffic13, 857-868

Dong, C., C.D. Nichols, Guo, J., Huang, W., Lambert, N.A., and G. Wu (2012). A Triple Arg Motif Mediates ?2B-Adrenergic Receptor Interaction with Sec24C/D and Export. Traffic. In Press.

Nichols, C.D., and U.B.Pandey (2012). Methods to assay Drosophila behavior. JoVE. Mar 7; (61).

Luo, J., Becnel, J., Nichols, C.D., Nässel, D.R. (2012) Insulin producing cells in the brain of adult Drosophila are regulated by the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor during stress. Cell and Molecular Life Sciences. 2012 Feb;69(3):471-84.

Johnson, O, J. Becnel, and C.D. Nichols (2011). Serotonin receptor activity is required for normal learning and memory in Drosophila melanogaster. Neuroscience.

Becnel, J., O. Johnson, J. Luo, D. Nässel, and C.D. Nichols (2011). The serotonin
5-HT7Dro receptor is expressed in the brain of Drosophila, and is essential for normal courtship and mating. PLoS One. 6(6): e20800.

Pandey, U.B., and C.D. Nichols (2011). Human disease models in Drosophila melanogaster,  and the role of the fly in therapeutic drug discovery. Pharm Rev. 63(2):411-436.

Maronica-Lewica, D., C.D. Nichols, and D.E. Nichols (2011). An animal model of schizophrenia based on chronic LSD administration: Old idea, new results. Neuropharmacology. 61:503-512.

Nichols C.D. (2009). Serotonin 5-HT2A receptor function as an underlying factor contributing to both cardiovascular and psychiatric disease. Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2009:475108

Nichols C.D. and B.L. Roth (2009). Engineered G-protein coupled receptors as a tool to investigate biological processes. Front Mol Neurosci. 2:16

Johnson, O. J. Becnel, and C.D. Nichols (2009). Serotonin 5-HT1A and 5-HT2 receptors modulate different aspects of aggressive behaviors in Drosophila. Neuroscience. 4:1292-1300. 

Duvernay M.T., Dong C., Zhang X., Zhou F., Nichols C.D., G. Wu (2009). Anterograde trafficking of G protein-coupled receptors: function of the C-terminal F(X)6LL motif in export from the endoplasmic reticulum. Molecular Pharmacology. 75:751-61.

Yu, B.,  J. Becnel, M. Zerfaoui, R. Rohatgi, H. Boulares, C. D. Nichols (2008) Serotonin 5-HT2A receptor activation suppresses TNF-a-induced inflammation with extraordinary potency. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 327(2):316-23. *Featured article with commentary*

Nichols, D.E. and C.D. Nichols (2008). Serotonin Receptors. Chemical Reviews. 108(5):1614-1641.

Zerfaoui, M., Y. Suzuki, A.S. Naura, C.P.Hans, C.D. Nichols, A.H. Boulares (2008). Nuclear translocation of p65 NF-kB is sufficient for VCAM-1, but not ICAM-1, expression in TNF-stimulated smooth muscle cells: Differential requirement for PARP-1 expression and interaction. Cellular Signaling, 20:186-194.

Nichols, C.D. (2007). 5HT2 receptors in Drosophila are expressed in the brain and modulate aspects of circadian behaviors. Developmental Neurobiology. 67:752-763.
Marvanova, M, and C.D. Nichols. (2007). Identification of neuroprotective compounds of C. elegans dopaminergic neurons against 6-OHDA. Journal of Molecular Neurobiology. 31:131-141.

Johnson, O, J. Becnel, and C.D. Nichols (2011). Serotonin receptor activity is required for normal learning and memory in Drosophila melanogaster. Neuroscience

Nichols, C.D. (2006). Drosophila melanogaster neurobiology, neuropharmacology, and how the fly can inform CNS drug discovery. 2006. Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 112(3):677-700.

Behan, K.J., Fair, J., Sing, S., Bogwitz, M., Perry, T., Grubor, V., Cunningham, F., Nichols, C.D., Cheung, T., Batterham, P., and J.A. Pollock. (2005). Alternative splicing removes an Ets interaction domain from Lozenge during Drosophila eye development. Development Genes and Evolution. 215(8):423-35.

Nichols, C.D., and E. Sanders-Bush (2004). Molecular genetic responses to lysergic acid diethylamide include transcriptional activation of MAP Kinase Phosphatase-1, C/EBP-, and ILAD-1, a novel gene with homology to arrestins. Journal of Neurochemistry, Aug;90(3):576-84.

Nichols, C.D., E.E. Garcia, and E. Sanders-Bush (2003). Dynamic changes in prefrontal cortex gene expression following lysergic acid diethylamide administration. Molecular Brain Research, 111: 182-188.

Nichols, C.D., J. Ronesi, W. Pratt, and E. Sanders-Bush (2002). Hallucinogens and Drosophila: Linking serotonin receptor activation to behavior. Neuroscience, 115: 979-984.

Nichols, C.D. and E. Sanders-Bush 2002). A single dose of lysergic acid diethylamide influences gene expression patterns within the mammalian brain. Neuropsychopharmacology, 26(5): 634-42.

Behan, K. J., C.D. Nichols, T. Cheung,  J. Fair, B. Hogan, P. Batterham,  and J. A. Pollock (2002). Yan regulates Lozenge through an eye specific enhancer in Drosophila. Development Genes and Evolution, 212:267-276.

É. L. S Loreto, A. Zaha, C. Nichols, J. A. Pollock, and V. L. S. Valente (1998). Characterization of a hypermutable strain of Drosophila simulans.CMLS, Cell and Molecular Life Sciences. 54: pp 1283-1290.

Pollock, J.A., A. Assaf, A. Peretz, C.D. Nichols, M.H. Mojet, R.C. Hardie, and B. Minke (1995).  TRP, a Protein Essential for Inositide-Mediated Ca2+ Influx Is Localized Adjacent to the Calcium Stores in Drosophila Photoreceptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 15(5):3747-3760.

Dr. Nichols' Lab