The Urs Lab

Members of the Urs Lab

Research Overview

What motivates us? Motivation is the drive to perform actions to achieve goals, and is crucial for survival. In neurobiology, motivation is regulated by combination of movement (action) and reward/pleasure (reinforcer), which ensures that an animal achieves its goals consistently. Lack of or too much motivation can be harmful, and has been implicated in the etiology of various disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, Parkinson’s and drug addiction. Dopamine is at the center of regulating movement, reward-based learning and motivation, and dopamine dysfunction has been implicated in all of the above disorders. The goals of our lab are to identify and map neuronal circuits that regulate dopamine signaling, motivation, movement and reward, by using state of the art tools such as viral tracing, opto/chemogenetics, fiber photometry, and operant behavioral conditioning. Deciphering the mechanisms that regulate dopamine neuronal circuits and motivation will allow us to develop novel therapeutic strategies to treat disorders such as addiction, depression and schizophrenia.

What we are doing in our lab

Research Focus Areas

• Drug Discovery
• Neuropharmacology
• Neurodegeneration
• Psychiatric disorders
• Dopamine

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what you would learn in our lab

Research Tools & Skills

• Cell Culture
• Neuron tracing
• Microdialysis
• Behavioral pharmacology
• AAV and Lentiviral production
• Fiber Photometry GCamp & dLight/GRABda
• Immunohistochemistry & microscopy

Center for Inflammation & Mucosal Immunology

Current & up to date publications

Recent Publications

Check out the recent publications from the Primary Investigator (PI), Dr. Nikhil Urs

research figure Urs