This is a proposal from a group of seven NIH-funded principal investigators requesting funds to purchase a commercially available Bussey-Saksida touch screen system. This shared instrument will permit the automated, quantitative assessment of behavior critical for determining, in a clinically translational manner, how the structure and function of the brain impacts on specific components of cognition. The requested touch screen system will provide valuable new information difficult or impossible to obtain with the traditional behavioral approaches presently available to the neuroscience community at New York University. This proposal brings together investigators whose aim is to understand how the developmental, structural and functional aspects of neuronal circuits contribute to both normal and disease states involving cognitive processes of perception, attention and learning and memory. The proposed studies cover the investigation of basic forms of associative learning and memory, behavioral flexibility and executive function (Projects 1-4), attention and working and long-term memory (Projects 5-7). The new touch screen system provides two key advantages that will be transformative for all the projects presented in this proposal: 1) The instrument permits automated assessment using flexible cognitive testing batteries comparable to those used in clinical studies, enhancing the reliability, reproducibility and translational value of behavioral data; 2) By combining it with an electrophysiological setup it will allow for combined cognitive and electrophysiological assessment. The device will be housed in the newly-renovated Rodent Behavior Core facility, a purpose-built behavioral testing unit that is centrally-located close to the seven user's laboratories and will also be available to the research community at New York University as time permits. This device will have long-term institutional support to cover the costs of operation, maintenance and standard upkeep/repair, as well as the requisite portions of the core director?s and primary technician's salaries. The requested system will greatly facilitate neuroscience research at NYU School of Medicine and will help understand how the development, structure and function of neural circuits impact on specific aspects of cognition under normal and pathological conditions.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This is a proposal from a group of eight NIH-funded principal investigator's requesting funds to purchase a Bussey-Saksida touch screen system for the automated, quantitative assessment of cognition and behavior. With the help of the new system, the proposed studies will lead to a more sophisticated understanding of how the development, structure and function of neural circuits impact on specific aspects of cognition under normal and pathological conditions. Using touch screen tests that are highly comparable to those used in humans, the results will provide critical, translational knowledge toward developing therapeutic strategies for the treatment of various brain diseases.