Normal and abnormal animal behavior can be used as a tool to understand the neural substrates of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Behavioral assays in rodents are also central to the testing and development of neuropsychiatric drugs. We utilize a variety of drug-responsive behavioral assays to investigate the behavioral effects of trophic factors and their mechanism of action. We use mouse and behavioral assays to examine and validate drug effects and improve clinical translation. To improve disease relevant validity, a mild stress model is used in conjunction with drug administration.

Our behavior experiment facility is equipped with Ethovision XT (12) software platform to perform behavior tracking and analysis. The behavioral videos are captured with high definition Basler ACE cameras and recorded at a sampling rate of 60 frames per second. The data are also cross checked with manual analysis by the experimenter and validated with analysis performed by personnel blinded to the identity and treatment of the rodents. Genetic manipulation of the receptor is performed by crossing floxed receptor mice with neuronal-Cre lines to obtain brain region specific knockout. Spatial refinement and cell layer specific effects in adult animals are obtained by viral manipulation of gene expression.