b. Behavioral Phenotyping Core - Co-Directors: Laura Ranum and Mark Thomas Overview and Significance: Necessity of Core: Over the past few years, the need for a state-of-the-art mouse Behavioral Phenotyping Core has become apparent. Before initiating our current Core, investigators generating novel mouse models had to individually develop the tools to evaluate the phenotypes of their animals. Although there was enormous generosity among labs in providing tips, protocols and sharing equipment, consistent and informed advice on which tests to perform and the technical specifics of what really worked best were often not effectively communicated. This lack of centralization and standardization provided a barrier to some labs and a significant limitation in the number of tests that could be meaningfully performed by a single investigator. The expanded Core will foster interdisciplinary high impact work by providing centralized access to a standardized set of tests for motor and learning assessment and by implementing state-of-the-art mouse eyeblink conditioning tests in collaboration with Drs. Mark Stanton (University of Delaware), Dani Smith and Michela Gallagher (Johns Hopkins University). Purpose of Core: The goal of the Behavioral Phenotyping Core is to provide the highest quality assessment of the neurological status and specific behaviors in mice for Center investigators who use murine models to address basic biology or disease in the CNS. In mid-2008, we established a facility to consolidate, centralize and standardize mouse behavioral testing. This has improved productivity and data consistency and sparked several new collaborations between Center investigators. Due to a lack of full-time staffing, the current Core provides motor testing (open field, rotorod, gait analysis, raised beam, and grip strength), but only limited cognitive assessments (Morris water maze). We are strongly committed to increasing the capacity and extending the scope of the Behavioral Phenotyping Core to include additional tests for cognitive phenotypes. Based on our review of other current facilities (e.g. Baylor, University of Washington, UCLA, Johns Hopkins), and the impact our initial core activities have already had, we are confident that the Core will improve the quality and scope of behavioral testing and expand interdisciplinary collaboration?a fundamental component of high-impact neuroscience research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Initial Review Group (NSD)
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
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