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Center on Human Development and Disability

CHDD is located on the Lake Washington Ship Canal

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Circuit Mapping Consulation (CMC)

Mouse Behavior Laboratory images

Dr. Ferguson Susan M. Ferguson, Ph.D., Circuit Mapping Consultant,


Circuit Mapping Consultation services provide support to Research Affiliates seeking to utilize a range of circuit mapping techniques for behavioral assays. In so doing, we utilize the expertise of Susan Ferguson, PhD, based at CIBR. Dr. Ferguson provides technical assistance to introduce new services and demonstrates new circuit mapping techniques as they are developed. Consultation services are provided with respect to adopting and optimizing the use of techniques for in vivo modulation of cellular activity (chemogenetics and optogenetics) and in vivo visualization of cellular activity (fiber photometry for calcium imaging, electrophysiology), including help with experimental design and data analysis. Available equipment includes sterotaxic surgery for viral infusions, microscopes for histology, blue and red lasers and associated fiber optics for optogenetics, electrophysiology rigs and OmniPlex D data acquisition systems for in vivo electrophysiology and fiber photometry set-up.

Modulation of Cellular Activity During Behavior

Optogenetics and chemogenetics are sets of methods that allow cellular function to be transiently manipulated, which enables precise spatiotemporal control of neural activity during behavior. Optogenetics uses light-sensitive ion channels (opsins) paired with wavelengths of light to activate or silence neurons on a msec timescale. Equipment for optogenetic experiments includes TTL-switched blue and red lasers (OptoEngine) and associated fiber optics which can be adapted to all of the behavioral equipment and are activated through a Noldus Hardware Control Module. Chemogenetics uses G-protein coupled receptors (DREADDs) paired with pharmacological ligands to activate or inhibit neurons on minute timescales. Both the channels and the receptors can be targeted to specific brain regions and/or cell types through viral-mediated gene transfer methods or using transgenic mouse lines.

Visualization of Cellular Activity During Behavior

In vivo electrophysiology and in vivo calcium imaging are methods that allow for visualization of cellular function in awake, freely-moving animals. In vivo electrophysiology measures neuronal activity in the brain as local field potentials or single-unit (neuron)-activity. In vivo electrophysiology equipment includes a Plexon Omniplex D neural data acquisition system, along with digital headstages, cables and optoelectrical commutator (Doric Lenses). Equipment for EEG, ECG and EMG monitoring in awake, freely moving animals includes 8 three-channel Pinnacle Technology video-EEG-EMG systems and 4 16-channel AD Instruments based video-EEG systems. Intracellular calcium plays an important role in many different physiologic processes, and changes in calcium dynamics can be visualized in vivo with fluorescent indicators, such as GCaMP6. In vivo calcium imaging equipment includes two fiber photometry systems (FiberOptoMeters) from NPI Electronic Instruments and one 3-channel multiplexed fiber photometry system from Neurophotometrics which is capable of simultaneous 3-color imaging (410nm, 470nm and 560 nm excitation), as well as recording from up to 16 behavioral chambers at the same time.

Contact Information

Please contact Susan M. Ferguson, Ph.D.,

University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA • 206-543-7701 •