The goal of this project is to create a system to conduct 'High Throughput Multifunction System for Neurophysiology of Behavior', in response to PA-08-001. The advanced system will provide capabilities for many other Behavioral Neurophysiology research applications for NIMH, NINDS, NIDA, NIAAA, and NIA. Multiple new technologies will be integrated to achieve a high performance high throughput system. A group of Collaborators will provide critical test and evaluation for research applications in schizophrenia, aging brain, sleep and brain states, pain modulation, seizure prediction, and alcohol abuse.
A First Aim i s to design and assemble a data acquisition and control module for continuous long duration studies of animals living in an experimental chamber. The planned arrangement will also allow multiple drug infusions in long term studies of therapeutic drugs. A version of a new compact low cost multichannel recording/stimulation and spike sorting electronics module will be designed based on an advanced field programmable gate array. The compact unit will be installed above an experimental chamber on a unit that will rotate by a motor system triggered by movement of the rodent. High speed wireless, optical, or digital communication from the rotating unit will allow data and control signals to pass from each experimental chamber to a host computer data acquisition service. Multichannel electrical, optical stimulation and electrochemical sensing will be integrated in efficient manner. The tethered cabling from the data acquisition system will be inserted through a large diameter aperture to the mouse or rat. Tethered instrumentation will rotate with the animal and thus allow long duration studies, as has been routine in sleep research on rodents. Installation of syringe infusion pumps on the unit that rotates with the animal is a novel design allowing for multiple fluid connections to and from the animals without use of fluid or optical swivels. This design eliminates the traditional commutator system with many expensive slip rings, and allows greatly expanded numbers of wired, semi-wireless, fluidic, and optical connections to be made with a moving animal over long times.
A Second Aim i s to create remote control client software to control both an existing spike sorter software module and a real time state machine module for experimental control of behavioral studies. This enhancement will allow a remote client with a single operator to control multiple workstations. A second part of this Aim is to begin use and evaluation of a data handling strategy that employs multiple time index files in parallel with an existing high speed database engine to contain all data types collected. Input and output functions will interface with Matlab scripts and templates to reduce the time required for analysis the large volumes of data. Many types of experimental control information, neurophysiological and anatomical data will be organized with use of the relational database engine.
A Third Aim i s to conduct evaluation studies of drugs related to therapy for multiple applications in behavioral neurophysiology related to development of therapeutic agents. Neuron population activity will be recorded in multiple brain regions with rats housed continuously over thirty days while testing responses. The overall goal of the introduction of the interrelated enhancements is to reduce the required labor and instrumentation to achieve high efficiency. The system will provide infinite expandability to mange either very large parallel recording system or multiple individual experimental chambers. This procedure will fully test basic features of the new technology developed and conduct a key proof of concept evaluation for a wide range of application in behavioral neurophysiology.

Public Health Relevance

This project will develop an extremely efficient and cost effective instrument to control and test a wide range of behavior of animals while recording neural activity of multiple brain regions. The system includes a number of enhancements of both electronic instrumentation and the extensive software needed to enable high throughput studies. Such a system is needed to determine the actions of drugs that can cause amelioration of schizophrenia, aging brain, sleep disorder, epilepsy, alcohol and drug abuse and recovery from brain injury. The system will useful for efficient studies related to drug abuse, alcoholism, and improvement of memory, cognition in mental disease, and function in aging brain

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ETTN-H (13))
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Liu, Qi-Ying
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Biographics, Inc.
Winston Salem
United States
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