Neurodevelopmental Behavioral Core

Overview of Services

The Neurodevelopmental Behavioral Core (NBC) is located on Karp 4th Floor and has been designed to provide a time-efficient and cost-effective service for the comprehensive characterization of complex behaviors in mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders, with emphasis on facilitating genetic analyses of complex traits. The NBC aims to provide the facilities and advice to test novel therapeutic drugs and interventions in mouse models of human disorders and diseases, greatly increasing translational research capacity at Boston Children's Hospital. One of the unique features of the NBC is the availability of specialised environments for studying the interaction between "nature and nurture" e.g. dark rearing, sounds isolation and standardised environmental enrichment (http://www.viewpoint.fr/en/p/equipment/marlau-enrichment-cage). The NBC provides both the necessary equipment, protocols and training for studying neurodevelopmental disorders, focusing not just on “snapshots” in time but on developmental milestones. The NBC is equipped to perform batteries of behavioral tests to thoroughly phenotype specific social, emotional and cognitive behaviors, as well as motor, auditory and visual function and the general health of the animals.  Where possible analyses have been automated to improve inter-rater reliability and remove subjectivity.  We use Ethovision XT video tracking systems (http://www.noldus.com/animal-behavior-research/products/ethovision-xt) to monitor exploratory behavior and have other video cameras and infra-red beam break systems for recording other behavioral activity for offline analysis.  The NBC now has 2 EEG systems - a tethered system (http://www.pinnaclet.com/eeg-emg-systems.html) with capacity for up to 6 subjects and a telemetry system (http://www.datasci.com/products/implantable-telemetry/mouse-(miniature)/f20-eet) for up to 8 subjects.  There is also capability to measure ECG  (http://www.mousespecifics.com/heart/ecgenie/) and respiration (http://pulmonary.emka.fr/syst.php?sys=1in conscious mice without need for surgery.

Staff of the NBC are very willing to work with PIs and Fellows to develop and validate new behavioral outcome measures related to neural development and disorders of development that will contribute to a greater understanding of behavioral changes during development and how disorders in these lead to altered function. 

 The behavioral facility will provide a unique opportunity for training scientists and teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the measurement of the behavioral outcomes of developmental disorders.  We endorse the ethos of the ARRIVE guidelines (https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/arrive-guidelines) which are designed to improve the reporting standards of in vivo experimentation and we encourage scientists that use the NBC to read the ARRIVE guidelines and use them as a checklist PRIOR to designing their experiments (see links and resources below).

 The NBC is under the direction of Dr. Michela Fagiolini and managed by Dr. Nick Andrews.  Ms Sophie Griswold and Ms Trish Chari are the NBC's dedicated Research Assistants.  Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fagiolini are backed up by an internal advisory committee which will regularly review the NBC and an external advisory committee composed of experts outside of Boston Children's Hospital. The NBC is under the expert administrative guidance of Amy Weinberg, MPH, Administrator of the IDDRC.

 

LEADERSHIP

Michela Fagiolini, Ph.D. | Core Director

Phone: 617-919-2419

Email: michela.fagiolini@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Nick Andrews, Ph.D. | Core Manager

Phone: 617-678-7494

Email: nick.andrews@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Amy Weinberg, MPH | Center Administrator

Phone: 617-919-4023

Email: amy.weinberg@childrens.harvard.edu

 

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Assisted Hours:

Monday - Friday

9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Unassisted Hours:

24/7

Karp [4th Floor]

Links and Resources

  1. Neurodevelopmental Behavioral Core IDDRC Website
  2. Room Equipment Inventory
  3. The ARRIVE guidelines

Contacts

Name Role Phone Email Location
Michela Fagiolini
Core Director
 
617-919-2419
 
michela.fagiolini@childrens.harvard.edu
 
CLS 13
 
Nick Andrews
Core Manager
 
617 919 3667 & 617 678 7494
 
nick.andrews@childrens.harvard.edu
 
CLS 12255
 
Amy Weinberg
Center Administrator
 
617-919-4023
 
amy.weinberg@childrens.harvard.edu
 
CLS 12
 
Sophie Griswold
Core Research Assistant
 
508-395-9802
 
sophie.griswold@childrens.harvard.edu
 
Karp 4
 
Trish Chari
Core Research Assistant
 
617-637-6701
 
trishala.chari@childrens.harvard.edu
 
Karp 4