Theodore Usdin, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Section on Fundamental Neuroscience


Silvio O. Conte Building (Building 49), Room 3A11
49 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20814


Research Topics

Humans and animals are subject to continually changing environmental and internal influences that affect their emotional states and behavior. Appropriate responses likely involve shifts in the activity of multiple regulatory systems. Dr. Usdin’s group is interested in the function of neuropeptide systems, which constitute a major group of neuroregulators. These regulatory systems may be part of the pathways through which drug treatments or other interventions that ameliorate the symptoms of psychiatric disease act.

Current work focuses on a particular neuropeptide system, Tuberoinfundibular Peptide of 39 residues (TIP39) and its receptor, the Parathyroid Hormone 2 (PTH2) receptor. The group identified the PTH2 receptor in a screen for novel receptors expressed within the brain, and then purified TIP39 as the endogenous ligand for this receptor. They have mapped the anatomical distribution of both the peptide and receptor in detail in rat and mouse, and confirmed that they have a similar distribution in non-human primates and humans. The peptide projects from two small discrete groups of neurons to many brain regions, and these regions contain neurons that synthesize its receptor. Several of these areas are involved in mood and anxiety-related functions, pain, stress responses and neuroendocrine function. Techniques used include pharmacology, molecular biology, functional neuroanatomy and behavior. The group has recently begun working with mice with targeted mutations in the genes encoding TIP39 and the PTH2 receptor. Current evidence supports a role for TIP39 signaling in modulation of functions that were implied by the neuroanatomical data, including stress induced anxiety-like behavior and emotional aspects of pain.


Dr. Usdin is a Senior Investigator in the Section on Fundamental Neuroscience of NIMH. He attended college at Johns Hopkins University. His graduate work in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University in St. Louis with Gerald Fischbach focused on the identification of factors responsible for neuromuscular junction development. Dr. Usdin completed a residency in psychiatry at Stanford University and then in 1990 joined the NIMH Laboratory of Cell Biology. Dr. Usdin is exploring the biological role of tuberoinfundibular peptide, a new neuropeptide that his group recently discovered.

Selected Publications

  1. Dimitrov EL, Kim YY, Usdin TB. Regulation of hypothalamic signaling by tuberoinfundibular peptide of 39 residues is critical for the response to cold: a novel peptidergic mechanism of thermoregulation. J Neurosci. 2011;31(49):18166-79.

  2. Tsuda MC, Yeung HM, Kuo J, Usdin TB. Incubation of Fear Is Regulated by TIP39 Peptide Signaling in the Medial Nucleus of the Amygdala. J Neurosci. 2015;35(35):12152-61.

  3. Dobolyi A, Ueda H, Uchida H, Palkovits M, Usdin TB. Anatomical and physiological evidence for involvement of tuberoinfundibular peptide of 39 residues in nociception. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002;99(3):1651-6.

  4. Usdin TB, Hoare SR, Wang T, Mezey E, Kowalak JA. TIP39: a new neuropeptide and PTH2-receptor agonist from hypothalamus. Nat Neurosci. 1999;2(11):941-3.

This page was last updated on April 12th, 2019