Experimental behavior technologies and animal training
The Experimental Behavior Technologies and Animal Training service project provides the mechanism and resources for producing state-of-the-art behavioral systems. It will make automated methods for experimental learning and memory testing available to CRC groups. These fully automated learning paradigms will allow measurement and experimental manipulation during specific phases of the learning process, including the phase of memory consolidation. This will include both virtual reality and operant cage based systems for both freely moving and head-fixed animals. We will develop a controlled reward and observation system for unsupervised training of multiple mice without head fixation that will be completely analogous to the online (head-fixed) experiments. This will include a system (touchscreen, 8-arm radial maze) for transgenic mice with conditional activation/deactivation of brain function either achieved through orally applied drug by ID chip-automated water dispensers or through integrated wireless optogenetic stimulation. The operant experimental systems will include hardware and software for automated operation and systems will be available for both rodents and Drosophila fruit flies.
Image Experimental set-up. Courtesy of York Winter