Ethology-based experimental studies of animal behaviour

Behavior profiles in laboratory animals will be obtained using the recently established model Multivariate concentric square field test. The results will contribute to improving experimental models in behaviour neuropharmacology research.

In the neuropharmacology research area there is a continuous need for improvements regarding the experimental animal models that are used. Relevant behaviour tests are required to increase the understanding of normal functions of the brain as well as for psychopathological conditions. In addition, the increased use of genetically modified animals has indicated a need for good models to screen these animals.

In the research project, several different behaviour tests are used. The main test will be the recently established model Multivariate concentric square field (MCSF) test, which is an ethology-based test for studying behaviour profiles in laboratory animals. The test area contains a number of zones with different characters such as sheltered, open and elevated areas, and areas with different light conditions. It is designed to measure exploratory, risk-avoiding, risk-taking and protection-seeking behaviours at the same test occasion. The idea behind the MCSF test is that it should not be predetermined and not aimed at studying a certain mental condition, but instead result in a behaviour profile. In addition to the MCSF test there are tests for activity, anxious behaviour, learning and memory that may be used.

The work includes handling the animals and performing the tests in rat or zebrafish, registering behaviour variables using an analysis programme and statistical analyses of collected data. The project will provide experience in handling laboratory animals and good insight into experimental animal studies in behaviour pharmacology research. Alternatively, the project will involve statistical analyses of already collected data.

Please note that in order to handle the animals the student must have passed the course in laboratory animal science.

If you are interested in this project, please contact
Erika Roman
Dept. of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, UU