CIBR supports multiple setups for classical conditioning of eyeblink reflexes to allow bidirectional research between clinical populations and experimental animals. As a paradigm to assess associative learning, motor function, and rapid temporal processing, eyeblink conditioning is acknowledged to be one of the most useful models to assess thalamocortical and cerebellar functioning. The Welsh lab has established classical conditioning setups to perform eyeblink conditioning in mice and rats, for pure behavioral assessment or during electrophysiological recordings and optogenetic stimulation, and also for 1-month old human infants and older children at the University of Washington Center on Human Development and Disability. By using identical behavioral paradigms in non-human and human subjects, CIBR investigators have created a “common-currency” of functional testing that is allowing truly bidirectional research between the bench and the clinical laboratories.
The Fergusonlab has extensive expertise in developing rodent models of neuropsychiatric disorders. We can assist other investigators in project design, data interpretation and development of new behavioral models. We are actively doing research with rodent models of drug addiction (drug self-administration, locomotor sensitization), decision-making and behavioral inhibition/impulsivity using Med Associates operant chambers and locomotor activity boxes. In addition, the Turner lab is developing mouse models of reinforcement, such as intra-cranial self-stimulation.