Innovative Approaches to Tracking and Quantifying Behavior in Rodents

white brown rodent

Join Drs. Jason Rogers and De Wet Wolmarans for a deep dive into two research protocols for tracking, quantifying, and analyzing behaviors in rodent models.

Date | Thursday, May 12, 2022

Time | 8am PT / 11am ET / 5pm CET

Duration | 60 minuts


Don’t Look Down: Stress Behavior in Long-Evans Rats On A Novel Elevated Open Field

by Jason Rogers, PhD

The open field and elevated plus maze are standard tests to study anxiety or stress-related behaviors in rodents. It is often recommended to use both tasks as a battery; however, sometimes animals display anxiety-like behaviors in one test but do not in another. To combat these issues, the current experiment used a hybrid, elevated open field, to assess the anxiety behaviors in rats who underwent chronic unpredictable stress (CUS).  The data show that after CUS, animals spent more time in the center of the apparatus and less time at the edge. In addition, they had a longer latency to explore the edge and had fewer head dips. Finally, the CUS animals maintained more distance from the edge but had no difference from controls in overall distance traveled or speed. Taken together, these data show how automated systems like EthoVision XT can be used to develop and define novel techniques for the study of rodent behavior.


Individuality in Naturalistic Deer Mouse Behaviors – Perspectives on Psychobiology

by De Wet Wolmarans, PhD

Studies of rodent behavior contribute to a better understanding of human psychobiological processes. Behavior that deviates from what is regarded as ‘normal’ can generally be induced or studied under spontaneous circumstances. With respect to the latter research framework, near accurate separation between what is ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ is vital. In this presentation, closer attention will be afforded to some biobehavioral differences that are observed between animals of the same laboratory-housed wildtype mouse species, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii). Further, some focus will be afforded to the manner in which such behaviors are observed, quantified, and then applied against a translational background of conditions characterized by persistent behaviors, like obsessive-compulsive disorder. The presentation will then be concluded by highlighting a need for the individualized analysis of animal behaviors in the study of naturalistic behavioral expressions as model systems that are aimed at improving our understanding of human conditions.


Key Topics Include:

  • Using the Elevated Open Field to assess stress/anxiety
  • Effects of chronic unpredictable stress on anxiety-like behaviors in rats
  • Characteristics of naturalistic behaviors commonly observed in laboratory-housed mice
  • Importance of accurate analysis of naturalistic animal behaviors, although subjective, to inform our understanding of spontaneous psychobiological trajectories

Jason Rogers 2

Jason Rogers, PhD

Senior Research Scientist | Noldus Information Technology

Jason Rogers is a Senior Research Scientist at Noldus Information Technology. He has a doctorate in psychology with a focus on the neurobiology of learning and memory. Jason joined Noldus in 2008 as Application Specialist and lead trainer. Since then, he has given hundreds of training courses and presentations around the world.


De Wet Wolmarans PhD

De Wet Wolmarans, PhD

Associate Professor and Head of Research: Translational Neuroscience and Neurotherapeutics | Pharmacology | North-West University, South Africa

De Wet Wolmarans is a neuroscientist focusing on naturalistic, but persistent and excessive, goal-directed behaviors in preclinical models. He is an Associate Professor and Head of Research in the Translational Neuroscience and Neurotherapeutics program at the North-West University, South Africa.