Nikhil Urs

Nikhil Urs, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department: MD-PHARMACOLOGY / THERAPEUTICS
Business Phone: (352) 294-5727
Business Email: nikhilurs@ufl.edu

Teaching Profile

Courses Taught
2019-2021
GMS6551 Fundamentals of Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
2018-2021,2023-2025
GMS6560 Molecules to Man: Past, Present and Future Therapeutic Strategies for Disease
2020-2023
PAS5026 Pharmacotherapeu 2
2020-2025
GMS6009 Principles of Drug Action and Therapeutics
2019-2025
DEN6262 Prin of Pharmacology
2019,2021-2023
BMS6031 Foundations of Med
2018,2024
GMS7979 Advanced Research
2018
GMS7980 Research for Doctoral Dissertation
2017
GMS7794 Neuroscience Seminar
2021
GMS6552 Cell Signaling & Therapeutics
2022
MDU4002 Introduction to Medical Science Seminar 2
2023
BMS6020 Clinical Neuroscience

Research Profile

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, including Parkinson’s disease (PD), schizophrenia, OCD, and ADHD. The goal of the Urs Lab is to study the role of genetic and environmental factors on dopamine neurotransmission and to 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 these integrated approaches—in parallel—will allow us to fine-tune dopamine neurotransmission and devise novel drug- and gene-based therapeutic approaches to treat dopamine-related disorders such as PD and schizophrenia.

Areas of Interest
  • Dopamine circuit mapping
  • Dopamine neurotransmission
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Schizophrenia
Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)

0000-0003-1819-7836

Publications

2024
Enhanced cognitive flexibility and phasic striatal dopamine dynamics in a mouse model of low striatal tonic dopamine
Neuropsychopharmacology. [DOI] 10.1038/s41386-024-01868-5.
2024
Locus coeruleus injury modulates ventral midbrain neuroinflammation during DSS-induced colitis.
bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology. [DOI] 10.1101/2024.02.12.580010. [PMID] 38405709.
2024
Locus coeruleus injury modulates ventral midbrain neuroinflammation during DSS-induced colitis.
Research square. [DOI] 10.21203/rs.3.rs-3952442/v1. [PMID] 38559083.
2024
Separate gut-brain circuits for fat and sugar reinforcement combine to promote overeating.
Cell metabolism. 36(2):393-407.e7 [DOI] 10.1016/j.cmet.2023.12.014. [PMID] 38242133.
2024
Separate gut-brain circuits for fat and sugar reinforcement combine to promote overeating.
Cell metabolism. 36(6) [DOI] 10.1016/j.cmet.2024.05.004. [PMID] 38761797.
2023
Computational insights into ligand-induced G protein and β-arrestin signaling of the dopamine D1 receptor.
Journal of computer-aided molecular design. 37(5-6):227-244 [DOI] 10.1007/s10822-023-00503-7. [PMID] 37060492.
2023
Who Knew? Dopamine Transporter Activity Is Critical in Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses.
Cells. 12(2) [DOI] 10.3390/cells12020269. [PMID] 36672204.
2022
A role for cortical dopamine in the paradoxical calming effects of psychostimulants.
Scientific reports. 12(1) [DOI] 10.1038/s41598-022-07029-2. [PMID] 35210489.
2022
Measuring Nonapoptotic Caspase Activity with a Transgenic Reporter in Mice
eneuro. 9(5):ENEURO.0147-21.2022 [DOI] 10.1523/eneuro.0147-21.2022.
2022
Structure–Functional Selectivity Relationship Studies on A-86929 Analogs and Small Aryl Fragments toward the Discovery of Biased Dopamine D1 Receptor Agonists
ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 13(12):1818-1831 [DOI] 10.1021/acschemneuro.2c00235.
2021
Enhanced tyrosine hydroxylase activity induces oxidative stress, causes accumulation of autotoxic catecholamine metabolites, and augments amphetamine effects in vivo
Journal of Neurochemistry. 158(4):960-979 [DOI] 10.1111/jnc.15432. [PMID] 33991113.
2021
Targeting β-Arrestins in the Treatment of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders
CNS Drugs. 35(3):253-264 [DOI] 10.1007/s40263-021-00796-y.
2021
α-Synuclein-induced dysregulation of neuronal activity contributes to murine dopamine neuron vulnerability.
NPJ Parkinson's disease. 7(1) [DOI] 10.1038/s41531-021-00210-w. [PMID] 34408150.
2020
Beneficial metabolic role of β-arrestin-1 expressed by AgRP neurons
Science Advances. 6(23) [DOI] 10.1126/sciadv.aaz1341. [PMID] 32537493.
2020
Deletion of Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3β in D2 Receptor-Positive Neurons Ameliorates Cognitive Impairment via NMDA Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity.
Biological psychiatry. 87(8):745-755 [DOI] 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.10.025. [PMID] 31892408.
2020
Loss of β-arrestin2 in D2 cells alters neuronal excitability in the nucleus accumbens and behavioral responses to psychostimulants and opioids.
Addiction biology. 25(6) [DOI] 10.1111/adb.12823. [PMID] 31441201.
2020
Retrograde Labeling Illuminates Distinct Topographical Organization of D1 and D2 Receptor-Positive Pyramidal Neurons in the Prefrontal Cortex of Mice
eneuro. 7(5):ENEURO.0194-20.2020 [DOI] 10.1523/eneuro.0194-20.2020.
2020
Structure-Functional-Selectivity Relationship Studies of Novel Apomorphine Analogs to Develop D1R/D2R Biased Ligands.
ACS medicinal chemistry letters. 11(3):385-392 [DOI] 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00575. [PMID] 32184974.
2019
Defining Structure-Functional Selectivity Relationships (SFSR) for a Class of Non-Catechol Dopamine D1 Receptor Agonists.
Journal of medicinal chemistry. 62(7):3753-3772 [DOI] 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b00351. [PMID] 30875219.
2019
Methods to Investigate the Role of β-Arrestin Signaling in Parkinson’s Disease.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 1957:385-391 [DOI] 10.1007/978-1-4939-9158-7_24. [PMID] 30919367.
2019
Slow-release delivery enhances the pharmacological properties of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan: mouse proof-of-concept.
Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 44(12):2082-2090 [DOI] 10.1038/s41386-019-0400-1. [PMID] 31035282.
2016
Distinct cortical and striatal actions of a β-arrestin-biased dopamine D2 receptor ligand reveal unique antipsychotic-like properties.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113(50):E8178-E8186 [PMID] 27911814.
2016
ML314: A Biased Neurotensin Receptor Ligand for Methamphetamine Abuse.
ACS chemical biology. 11(7):1880-90 [DOI] 10.1021/acschembio.6b00291. [PMID] 27119457.
2015
Elucidation of G-protein and β-arrestin functional selectivity at the dopamine D2 receptor.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112(22):7097-102 [DOI] 10.1073/pnas.1502742112. [PMID] 25964346.
2015
Targeting β-arrestin2 in the treatment of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112(19):E2517-26 [DOI] 10.1073/pnas.1502740112. [PMID] 25918399.
2014
Dopamine D2 receptor relies upon PPM/PP2C protein phosphatases to dephosphorylate huntingtin protein.
The Journal of biological chemistry. 289(17):11715-11724 [DOI] 10.1074/jbc.M113.544312. [PMID] 24619418.
2014
G Protein and β-arrestin signaling bias at the ghrelin receptor.
The Journal of biological chemistry. 289(48):33442-55 [DOI] 10.1074/jbc.M114.581397. [PMID] 25261469.
2014
Integrated approaches to understanding antipsychotic drug action at GPCRs.
Current opinion in cell biology. 27:56-62 [DOI] 10.1016/j.ceb.2013.11.002. [PMID] 24680431.
2014
Selective deletion of GRK2 alters psychostimulant-induced behaviors and dopamine neurotransmission.
Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 39(10):2450-62 [DOI] 10.1038/npp.2014.97. [PMID] 24776686.
2014
The physiological relevance of functional selectivity in dopamine signalling.
International journal of obesity supplements. 4(Suppl 1):S5-8 [DOI] 10.1038/ijosup.2014.3. [PMID] 27152166.
2013
D1 dopamine receptor coupling to PLCβ regulates forward locomotion in mice.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 33(46):18125-33 [DOI] 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2382-13.2013. [PMID] 24227722.
2012
Deletion of GSK3β in D2R-expressing neurons reveals distinct roles for β-arrestin signaling in antipsychotic and lithium action.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109(50):20732-7 [DOI] 10.1073/pnas.1215489109. [PMID] 23188793.
2011
A dopamine D1 receptor-dependent β-arrestin signaling complex potentially regulates morphine-induced psychomotor activation but not reward in mice.
Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 36(3):551-8 [DOI] 10.1038/npp.2010.186. [PMID] 20980993.
2008
Different mechanisms regulate lysophosphatidic acid (LPA)-dependent versus phorbol ester-dependent internalization of the LPA1 receptor.
The Journal of biological chemistry. 283(9):5249-57 [PMID] 18089565.
2005
A requirement for membrane cholesterol in the beta-arrestin- and clathrin-dependent endocytosis of LPA1 lysophosphatidic acid receptors.
Journal of cell science. 118(Pt 22):5291-304 [PMID] 16263766.

Grants

Mar 2023 ACTIVE
Role of cortical catecholamines in regulating motivated behavior and striatal dopamine
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIMH
Feb 2022 ACTIVE
Role of Dopamine receptor-expressing cortical projection circuits in cognitive flexibility
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIMH
May 2021 – Dec 2023
The Norepinephrine transporter as a therapeutic target for treatment of alpha-synuclein pathology in PD
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NINDS
Mar 2019 – Feb 2022
Exploiting Dopamine Receptor Functional Selectivity as an Approach to Treat Parkinson's Symptoms
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: DUKE UNIVERSITY via NATL INST OF HLTH NINDS
Jan 2019 – Jan 2021
Role of cortical catecholamines in the action of stimulants in ADHD therapy
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: BRAIN & BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Jun 2017 – Feb 2019
Exploiting Dopamine Receptor Functional Selectivity as an Approach to Treat Parkinson's Symptoms
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: DUKE UNIVERSITY via NATL INST OF HLTH NINDS
Nov 2016 – Feb 2020
Screening and identification of beta-arrestin biased Dopamine receptor ligands for PD symptom therapy
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: FOX FOU, MICHAEL J
Jul 2015 – Jun 2019
Regulation of Dopamine Transporter Function by G Protein
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA

Contact Details

Phones:
Business:
(352) 294-5727
Emails:
Business:
nikhilurs@ufl.edu
Addresses:
Business Mailing:
PO BOX 100267
GAINESVILLE FL 326100267
Business Street:
1200 NEWELL DR
GAINESVILLE FL 32610