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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Profile photo of Hugo Tejada, PhD

Hugo Tejeda, Ph.D.

Stadtman Investigator

Unit on Neuromodulation and Synaptic Integration


Dr. Tejeda completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and at the National Institute on Drug Abuse under the mentorship of Drs. Patricio O’Donnell and Toni Shippenberg. His thesis work elucidated the role of neuromodulatory systems, including opioid receptors, in modulating synaptic integration in prefrontal cortical and limbic circuits. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Antonello Bonci at the National Institute Drug Abuse where he elucidated the mechanisms by which monoamine and opioid receptors, as well as stress modulate information processing in the nucleus accumbens. Dr. Tejeda joined the National Institute of Mental Health in 2018 as a Stadtman principal investigator. His research focuses on the role of neuromodulation in processing information in limbic neural circuits under physiological conditions and in psychiatric disorders.

Research Interests

Research in Dr. Tejeda’s laboratory is aimed at elucidating how the brain utilizes neuromodulation in motivational and emotional neural circuits to process information and orchestrate behavior. Another major focus of the laboratory is to identify plastic changes in neuromodulation and synaptic integration in limbic circuits of animal models of psychiatric disorders to elucidate novel therapeutic targets and increase our understanding of conventional therapies. The laboratory employs an inter-disciplinary approach including electrophysiological, in-vivo imaging, optogenetic, and viral and transgenic techniques to dissect the function of neuromodulators, such as opioid receptors, in regulating synaptic integration in single cells, microcircuits, and distributed limbic networks to control motivated behavior.

Selected Publications

Dynorphin/kappa-opioid receptor control of dopamine dynamics: Implications for negative affective states and psychiatric disorders. Tejeda H.A., Bonci A. Brain Research. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.09.023 PMID: 30244022.

Pathway- and cell type-specific kappa-opioid receptor modulation of excitatory-inhibitory balance differentially gates nucleus accumbens D1 and D2 medium spiny neurons. Tejeda H.A., Wu J., Kornspun A.K., Pignatelli M., Kashtelyan V., Morales M., Krashes M., Lowell BB, Carlezon WA, Bonci A. Neuron. 93(1):147-163 PMID: 28056342.

Circuit Specificity in the Inhibitory architecture of the VTA Regulates Behavioral Responses to Cocaine. Edwards N.J., Tejeda H.A., Pignatelli M., Zhang S., McDevitt R.A., Wu J, Bass C.E., Bettler B., Morales M, Bonci A. Nature Neuroscience. 20(3):438-448 PMID: 28114294.

Prefrontal cortical kappa-opioid receptors attenuate responses to amygdala inputs. Tejeda H.A., Mejias-Apontes C., O’Donnell P. Neuropsychopharmacology. 40(13): 2856-64 PMID: 25971593.

Juvenile antioxidant treatment prevents adult deficits in a developmental model of schizophrenia. Cabungcal, H.J., Counotte D.S., Tejeda H.A., Piantidosi P.T., Lewis E.M., Calhoon G.G., Sullivan E., Presgraves E.Y., Cuenod M., Do K.Q., O’Donnell P. Neuron. 83(5):1073-84 PMID: 25132466.

Amygdala inputs to the prefrontal cortex elicit heterosynaptic suppression of hippocampal inputs. Tejeda H.A., O’Donnell P. Journal of Neuroscience. 34(43):14365-74 PMID: 25339749.

Shedding “UV” light on endogenous opioid dependence. Tejeda H.A., Bonci A. Cell. 157(7): 1500-1501 PMID: 24949960.

Prefrontal cortical kappa-opioid receptor modulation of local neurotransmission and conditioned place aversion. Tejeda H.A., Counotte D.S., Oh E., Rammamoorthy S., Schultz-Kuszak K.N., Bäckman C.M., Chefer V., O’Donnell P., Shippenberg T.S. Neuropsychopharmacology. 38(9):1770-9 PMID: 23542927.

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