Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Development of a New Open-Field Behavior Assay for Testing Visual Acuity in Mice"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
Neuroscience, Psychology
Project Description:
Open field behavior paradigm is widely used to test hyperactivity and habituation in mouse models of various neuropsychiatric disorders. Different mouse models of autism are characterized by increased anxiety and hyperactivity. Fragile X is the most common inherited form of autism, which is also characterized by these impairments. It has been reported previously that Fragile X patients demonstrate impaired spatial resolution of visual perception. We propose to develop a new open-field behavior assay to combine open field exploration with visual stimulation, which will allow us to test how Fragile X mice respond to visual stimuli of varied spatial frequencies, and to understand how hyperactive phenotype may lead to changes in visual perception.
Expected Student Contributions:
The research will be developing python programs using free open-source computer vision library OpenCV to perform online tracking of the mouse coordinates, and running behavior experiments with mice.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
python knowledge OpenCV knowledge animal handling experience (rodents)
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Chubykin, Alexander
biological sciences

Student Supervisor

Samuel Kissinger
graduate student

Cooperating Faculty

Brandon Keehn
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences