Nikhil M. Urs, Ph.D.

NIKHIL M. URS, Ph.D.Contact Information

Dr. Nikhil M. Urs
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Office: 352-294-5727
Department Webpage


Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics


Senior Research Associate, Duke University Medical Center, Dept. of Cell Biology/Caron Lab
Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University Medical Center, Dept. of Cell Biology/Caron Lab
Graduate Research Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Biology, Atlanta, GA, PI: Dr. Harish Radhakrishna

Current Research

“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.” (Department Webpage)

Recent Publications

  • Park H, Urs AN, Zimmerman J, Liu C, Wang Q, Urs NM. Structure-Functional-Selectivity Relationship Studies of Novel Apomorphine Analogs to Develop D1R/D2R Biased Ligands. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2020 Jan 6;11(3):385-392. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00575. PMID: 32184974; PMCID: PMC7074212.
  • Green SM, Nathani S, Zimmerman J, Fireman D, Urs NM. Retrograde Labeling Illuminates Distinct Topographical Organization of D1 and D2 Receptor-Positive Pyramidal Neurons in the Prefrontal Cortex of Mice. eNeuro. 2020 Oct 26;7(5):ENEURO.0194-20.2020. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0194-20.2020. PMID: 33037031; PMCID: PMC7665905.
  • Porter-Stransky KA, Petko AK, Karne SL, Liles LC, Urs NM, Caron MG, Paladini CA, Weinshenker D. Loss of β-arrestin2 in D2 cells alters neuronal excitability in the nucleus accumbens and behavioral responses to psychostimulants and opioids. Addict Biol. 2020 Nov;25(6):e12823. doi: 10.1111/adb.12823. Epub 2019 Aug 23. PMID: 31441201; PMCID: PMC7035979.
  • Li YC, Panikker P, Xing B, Yang SS, Alexandropoulos C, McEachern EP, Akumuo R, Zhao E, Gulchina Y, Pletnikov MV, Urs NM, Caron MG, Elefant F, Gao WJ. Deletion of Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3β in D2 Receptor-Positive Neurons Ameliorates Cognitive Impairment via NMDA Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity. Biol Psychiatry. 2020 Apr 15;87(8):745-755. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.10.025. Epub 2019 Nov 6. PMID: 31892408; PMCID: PMC7103512.
  • Harris SS, Urs NM. Targeting β-Arrestins in the Treatment of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders. CNS Drugs. 2021 Mar;35(3):253-264. doi: 10.1007/s40263-021-00796-y. Epub 2021 Mar 2. PMID: 33651366.

Tagged as: