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Mouse Behavior Core

Director: Caldarone, Barbara, Ph.D.


The Mouse Behavior Core (MBC) is a state-of-the-art research facility established by Harvard Medical School (HMS), in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). The MBC is available to all members of the research community.

The goal of the MBC is to provide the highest quality of behavioral assessment in mice to the research community.

The MBC is outfitted with multiple rooms of equipment for behavioral testing in mice. Available assays include models of anxiety, depression, learning and memory, attention, social interaction, motor activity and coordination, and a 24 hr/day system that monitors locomotor activity, food intake, and metabolic measures. The surgical suite is outfitted with two stereotaxic frames. Housing is available in an adjacent vivarium.





  • 3 Chamber Social Interaction (2, custom built) ( Instrument )

  • Columbus Instruments CLAMS activity chamber ( Animal physiology monitoring system )

    "This particular "CLAMS" System is a 12 chamber system housed inside an incubator with precise temperature control. Each incubator can house 12 mouse cages. The advantage to running experiment in an incubator such as this is it affords the ability to research metabolic performance at temperatures above or below normal ambient room temperatures. Furthermore, with its precise thermostatic control, the incubator can maintain a thermo-neutral temperature to ensure more stable RER measurements."

    The lab owns 16 of these chambers.

  • Contextual Fear Conditioning (8, Med Associates) ( Animal physiology monitoring system )

  • Elevated Plus Maze (1, custom built) ( Maze )

  • Lafayette Instruments Radial Arm Maze ( Radial arm maze )

    "The Pathfinder Maze System provides an amazing advancement in controlled spatial learning and memory devices. This maze system allows for the same control of visual and auditory cues as the Rat Pathfinder Mazes and a unique fixed goal box design to eliminate olfactory cues when the maze is rotated between trials.

    The small electric servo motor used in this system may be connected to the bridges for a completely open maze or to the doors of the optional arena as shown in the photo. See Model 89217 for the clear arena. Arenas are also available in red tint and smoked material. The arena can be used with open runways and goal boxes as shown or the runways and goal boxes can be enclosed with clear, red tinted or smoked wall kits.

    The electrical switch box used to control the bridges or doors features individual switches for each runway plus a master switch that lets you pre-load the door / bridge positions and then activate all motors simultaneously."

    The lab owns 2 of these mazes.

  • Large Open Field Square Arenas ( Environmental chamber )

    Custom made by Plastic Crafts. The lab owns 12 of these.

  • Light Dark Chamber (1, Med Associates) ( Animal physiology monitoring system )

  • Mouse Grip Strength Meter ( Animal physiology monitoring system )

    "The Grip Strength Meter measures forelimb and 4-limb grip-strength in mice. Similar to the device for rat, but ten times as sensitive, the resolution of the Grip Strength Meter for Mice is to 0.1 gram. The effects drugs, toxins, muscle relaxants, disease, ageing or neural damage on muscle strength may be assessed."

  • Mouse Open Field Chamber ( Environmental chamber )

    The lab owns 16 of these chambers.

  • Mouse Rota-Rod ( Animal physiology monitoring system )

    "The 'Rota-Rod' technique is essential in screening drugs which have side effects on motor coordination.

    Ugo Basile Rota-Rods, the original Rota-Rods, have been updated after years of consulting leading researchers in behavior and pharmacology.

    The new Rota-Rod for Mice has five lanes, and operates in constant speed, accelerating, and reverse / rocking modes! The tiltable digital panel shows accrued rotations and time on the rod."

  • Operant chamber ( Operant conditioning chamber )

    Operant Conditioning Behavior chamber. Lab owns 32 of these.

  • Startle Sensitivity/PPI Chamber ( Environmental chamber )

    "The startle reflex system allows investigators to set-up programs for performing both prepulse inhibition of startle (PPI), and fear-potentiated startle (FPS) experiments, referred to as 'prepulse startle' and 'potentiated startle' respectively."

    The lab owns 8 of these chambers.

  • T-Maze ( Environmental chamber )

    Custom made by Harvard Shop.

  • TreadScan Gait Analysis (1, CleverSys) ( Treadmill )

    "TreadScan is a component of our NeurodegenScan Suite and meets the needs for gait analysis of animals. Gait analysis allows highly sensitive, noninvasive detection and evaluation of many pathophysiological conditions, such as those occurring in Spinal Cord Injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, arthritis, pain, neuromuscular and skeletal muscle diseases.

    TreadScan system takes video of animal (mouse or rat) running on a transparent belt treadmill as input. The video of the ventral view (underside view) of the animal is obtained using a high‐speed digital camera and each video capture can be 20 seconds (or even more when used with specialized fast hard drive architecture) giving a multitude of stride samples in just one trial. The video essentially captures the foot prints of the animal as they walk/run on the treadmill. TreadScan software can work with videos taken from any treadmill that allows the capture of its footprints on any video capturing hardware system with a high‐speed camera."

  • TSE Systems Water Maze pool ( Morris water maze )

    "The Morris Water Maze paradigm, in which the animal has to learn the position of a submerged platform in a pool of water, has become a popular tool for testing learning & memory in small rodents. The performance of the animal is sensitive to manipulations in the hippocampus.

    The TSE water maze package for VideoMot2 includes a pool with platform, low-light sensitive CCD camera & lens, camera connecting kit, DVD recorder, PC or notebook with built-in control interface, remote control and all connecting cables as well as the video tracking software VideoMot2.

    Quadrants and target position can be easily drawn over the image of the pool using the software. When the animal is released in the pool tracking is started using a remote control. Data acquisition is stopped automatically when the animal has reached the target or after it has stayed there for a user-defined time or after a set total duration has elapsed. Latency to reach the target is the relevant parameter here. For probe trials the platform is removed and the percentage time spent in the target quadrant is compared to the time spent in other quadrants. All standard water maze evaluation parameters are provided by the VideoMot2 software module and can be easily exported for further statistical evaluation."

  • Y-Maze ( Environmental chamber )

    Custom made by Plastic Crafts. The lab owns 10 of these Y-mazes


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Last updated: 2020-03-11T16:01:18.245-04:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016