Noldus partners with The Jackson Laboratory

22 August 2014

Recently, Noldus entered into a partnership with The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, an independent, nonprofit organization focusing on mammalian genetics research to advance human health. The Jackson Laboratory’s mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health. They conduct genetic research onsite, as well as provide scientific services and genetic resources to laboratories around the world. The Jackson Laboratory specializes in mouse models of human disease, given the 95% compatibility between the mouse and human genome. Additionally, The Jackson Laboratory educates students of all ages through courses, internships, and other programs, and provides scientific resources, techniques, software, and data to scientists around the world. Noldus is proud to be a partner in the ongoing research efforts currently underway at The Jackson Laboratory, through providing their new Mouse Neurobehavioral Phenotyping Facility (MNBF), headed by Dr. Stacey J. Sukoff Rizzo, with state-of-the-art equipment to quantify mouse behavior.

Instrumented observation cage

In her position as Director of the MNBF, Dr. Rizzo uses Noldus software and instruments to analyze many aspects of mouse behavior, with a particular focus on social behavior, learning and memory, and general screening of mouse behaviors. A number of these protocols are carried out in the Phenotyper 3000 cage, an observation cage for mice that is completely optimized for video tracking. It can be used as a simple observation cage for short-term experiments, or extended with a drinking bottle, feeder, and shelter to act as a home cage. Furthermore, external hardware can be integrated into the Phenotyper 3000 cage for various paradigms: anxiety testing, social interaction, operant conditioning, and optogenetics stimulation. Currently the MNBF is utilizing the Phenotyper 3000 for reciprocal social interaction testing and screening of generic phenotypes of mouse behaviors over multiple days. An advantage of these cages, and the reason why Dr. Rizzo chose to add twelve into the MNBF facility, is the ease of customization; simply by adding new hardware pieces, the Phenotyper 3000 can be fully optimized for nearly any experiment.

International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium

In addition to this direct partnership, Noldus and The Jackson Laboratories are working together through two different consortia. One is the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), the goal of which is to “…discover functional insight for every gene by generating and systematically phenotyping 20,000 knockout strains”. The IMPC builds on the work of the International Knock-out Mouse Consortium to not only generate these knockouts, but phenotype them as well, in order to determine the function of every gene in the mouse genome. The IMPC consists of 16 different research institutes around the world, including The Jackson Laboratory, funded by five different national agencies. Noldus Information Technology is dedicated to getting these other research institutes the equipment they need to continue to carry out this very worthy goal. 

Autism Research in Europe EU-AIMS Consortium 

The second consortium is the EU-AIMS project, the largest consortium for Autism research in Europe. The group is made of organizations representing affected individuals and their families, such as Autism Speaks, as well as academic researchers and industry partners. EU-AIMS brings these groups together for the first time, to better develop infrastructure for finding and distributing new treatments for autism. Noldus Information Technology is proud to be a partner in EU-AIMS, and to have brought The Jackson Laboratory into the consortium.  By working together, the members hope to adopt and distribute validated, reliable standards for carrying out autism studies. 

Future of the partnership

The CEO and founder of Noldus Information Technology, Dr. Lucas Noldus, is proud that The Jackson Laboratory has chosen the Noldus Phenotyper system as a key instrument for the MNBF. In turn, Dr. Rizzo is keen to work with Noldus on further advancement of tools for behavioral phenotyping of mouse mutants, and is excited for the new products being released in the coming months.