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Center on Human Development and Disability
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Rat Behavior Laboratory (RBL)

Mouse Behavior Laboratory images

Dr. Cole Toby B. Cole, Ph.D., Research Manager, iddrcabc@uw.edu

The Rat Behavior Laboratory

The rat behavior laboratory is located in the T-wing vivarium, and is comprised of two behavioral testing rooms (263 s.f. and 360 s.f.). An additional large shared rat behavioral testing room (548 s.f.) is located in the Foege Vivarium, which is accessible from the T-wing vivarium via a basement hallway. The Foege Vivarium is a large centralized facility adjacent to the new Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF) on the UW campus, with standard housing rooms for both rats and mice, shared procedure rooms, and offices for veterinary and husbandry staff. There is ample housing space for rats in this facility, with daily veterinary care provided by animal technicians and veterinarians in the UW Department of Comparative Medicine.

Steps for Initiating a Project

For projects in the proposal development phase, as well as for approved projects, the Rat Behavior Laboratory works with affiliates to provide scientific, management, and budgetary information. Funded grants also are reviewed to ensure strict compliance with IACUC standards, careful observance of the NIH Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and compliance with accreditation standards set by AAALAC. For funded projects, access to Core services that are required for individual research projects is discussed with the investigators. Of note, all services described above (e.g., training, consultation, coordination, testing equipment) are provided at no cost. Construction of highly specialized equipment, however, may require investigator support. The Department of Comparative Medicine does charge affiliates the decentralized per diem rate for housing rodents in our testing facility. Use of facilities is scheduled on a daily basis through an online calendar.

Contact Information

Please contact Toby B. Cole, Ph.D., iddrcabc@uw.edu, 206-543-9300.

Behavioral Testing Capabilities

Note - behavioral testing typically requires a minimum of 10 mice per experimental group. Testing is highly sensitive to environmental influences, so steps to minimize environmental differences are critical. Tests available in the RBL include a large variety of cognitive and neuromotor behavioral assessments. Neurobehavioral domains capable of being assessed include activity/exploration, motor function, learning and memory, anxiety, sensory functions, neurological reflexes, and social behavior. Additional rodent behavior equipment based at the Center for Integrative Brain Research (CIBR) is available to Research Affiliates. Animal transfers to and from CIBR and the UW are arranged as needed. Some of the equipment represents an expansion of our current capabilities, while others provide access to new protocols.

Noldus EthoVision Videotracking System

The Noldus EthoVision videotracking system for rats is a stand-alone system with a high-definition camera, and can be used in conjunction with a variety of mazes and arenas, including a Morris Water Maze, Radial Arm Maze, and Open Field Arena.

Coulbourn Instruments Habitest System

The Coulbourn Instruments Habitest system utilizes Graphic State software to control the operation of a variety of arenas with levers, pellet-dispensers, visual and auditory cues. The system can be used for a variety of learning and memory tests in rats, including operant conditioning tasks.

Noldus Phenotyper System

The Noldus Phenotyper system for rats is an 8-cage system with housing cages, running wheels, food hoppers, shelters, and infrared cameras, which can be used for monitoring circadian patterns of activity.

Rotarods

A 4-lane Rotarod (Ugo Basile) and three computer-controlled single-lane rotarods (EZ-Rod, Omnitech Electronics) are available for testing motor coordination and cerebellar learning in rats.

Noldus Catwalk System

The Noldus Catwalk v.7.1 System is used to assess gait and footfalls in rats. In addition, the core offers two metal grid apparatuses for foot-fault testing and 3 Chatillon grip-strength meters for measuring strength of the fore- and hind-limbs.


Animal Behavior Core - Center for Integrated Brain Research Equipment

Additional rodent behavior equipment based at the Center for Integrative Brain Research (CIBR) is available to Research Affiliates. Animal transfers to and from CIBR and the UW are arranged as needed. Some of the equipment represents an expansion of our current capabilities, while others provide access to new protocols.

Rat Med-Associates Operant Boxes

Twenty-four (24) Med-Associates Operant Boxes are available for rats. The system includes the Q-See DVR system for video recording and a wide array of Med-Associates programs for decision-making, impulsivity, reward, motivation and drug addiction behavioral assays. Four of the boxes include touch screens in addition to traditional levers, and four boxes include ultrasonic vocalization detectors.

Mouse Med-Associates Operant Boxes

Seven (7) Med-Associates Operant Boxes are available for mice. The system includes the Q-See DVR system for video recording and Med-Associates programs for decision-making, impulsivity, and reward behavioral assays. Five of the boxes have levers, and two of the boxes have response wheels.

San Diego Instruments Locomotor Activity Chambers for Mouse and Rat

Sixteen (16) San Diego Instruments beam-break locomotor activity chambers are available for quantification of horizontal locomotion and rearing. The systems are adaptable for both rat and mouse studies, and include video recording systems that can be used to complement the infrared beam-break data.  

Food/water intake systems

Eighteen (18) systems are available for monitoring food/water intake and body weight in rats and mice.

Noldus Ethovision XT 10.0 Software

An additional Noldus EthoVision software license is available for behavioral analysis in rats and mice. The software can be used to quantify videotracked behavior in conjunction with a variety of different mazes and arenas.


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