Nikhil Urs, Ph.D., joins Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics


Dopamine (DA) is a catecholamine neurotransmitter found in the mammalian brain and regulates many critical physiological processes such as movement, cognition, motivation, reward/pleasure and hormone regulation. Dysfunction of the dopamine system has been implicated in many brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), schizophrenia, OCD and ADHD. The goal of Dr. Urs’ laboratory is to study the role of genetic and environmental factors on dopamine neurotransmission and learn more about the dopamine system by deciphering a) signaling pathways involved in DA neurotransmission, b) functional dopamine neuronal circuits and c) how these integrate and manifest behaviorally in an organism (mouse). Using this integrated approach will – in parallel – allow Dr. Urs’ lab to fine-tune dopamine neurotransmission and devise novel drug- and gene-based therapeutic approaches to treat dopamine-related disorders such as PD and schizophrenia.