Behavioral Research Blog

No science fiction: Magnetogenetics and how to induce animal behavior

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 7, 2016

For a few years now, optogenetics has been the answer to shortcomings of using pharmaceuticals or electrodes in brain research. The temporal and spatial precision of optogenetic methods rapidly produced many new insights into neural networks in the normal and diseased brain. But like any other methodology, optogenetics also has limitations. Although wireless options have been developed, optogenetics means neuronal control by light, and delivering this light to the selected brain cells is still an invasive method (unless you are using larval zebrafish). Additionally, the method can be difficult to scale up, including to more neurons, deeper brain tissues, or larger brains.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, zebrafish, optogenetics, chemogenetics, magnetogenetics

How to measure complex exploratory behavior in larval zebrafish

Posted by Guest blogger on Mar 22, 2016

The Zebrafish Multi-Chambered Exploratory Test (ZEMCET)

Today we have another guest writing for us, or actually two. I met Frank Scalzo (Bard College, New York) at last year's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago and I was very curious to find out more about their research using multi-chambered set-ups for their zebrafish larvae. Frank M. Scalzo and his colleague Brandon Chen were kind enough to share their insights in this blog post. Enjoy!

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Topics: EthoVision XT, zebrafish, exploratory behavior

EthoVision XT and the open field test

Posted by Guest blogger on Feb 19, 2016

We recently teamed up with a new partner, Maze Engineers, to extend our portfolio of video tracking solutions. They also have a great blog, and today we would like to share one of their recent posts with you. Find the original article here and their blog here. Thanks, Maze Engineers, for letting us share this post with our readers!

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, open field test, elevated plus maze, Maze Engineers

Four facts about zebrafish and zebrafish larvae

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Feb 11, 2016

Did you know that zebrafish larvae are able to detect minute movement in the water?

At the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Groneberg and colleagues (Groneberg et al. 2015) showed that larval zebrafish show approach reactions followed by a form of positive taxis and gradual motion damping in response to water flows. That might sound complicated, but what it basically means is that zebrafish larvae are able to detect minute movement in the water and respond in a stereotypical way.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision

Serotonin and social skills: how adult mice differ from juveniles

Posted by G. Smit, MSc & A.H. Macbeth, PhD on Jan 7, 2016

Serotonin (5-HT) is a busy neurotransmitter, influencing such varied neuronal processes as memory, mood, emotion, appetite, and even sexuality. A prime role for this neurotransmitter is social behavior, across a variety of species; humans, rodents, primates, and even flies all rely upon serotonin to display normal social behaviors. These social effects are partly mediated through the serotonin receptor 5-HT2CR. This role has been confirmed by pharmacologic treatment, but until recently this work had focused primarily on adult rodents. In this current article, Séjourné and colleagues from the Scripps Research Institute (Florida, USA) for the first time investigated the role of 5-HT2CR in the development of social behavior.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, social behavior research, sociability test, seizure behavior

Zebrafish provide key insights into alcohol addiction

Posted by Guest blogger on Dec 11, 2015

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, at this year's Neuroscience I talked to someone from the Gerlai Lab at the University of Toronto (Ontario) who is involved in very interesting research on alcohol addiction. That person was Steven Tran, and I am very happy to say that he agreed to share a story on our Behavioral Research Blog. Take it away, Steven!

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, anxiety research, addiction

Does pesticide resistance make malaria mosquitoes “smarter”?

Posted by Olga Krips on Nov 19, 2015

In one of my previous blog posts, I wrote about the success of insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) in preventing malaria. In the past five years, mortality from malaria has dropped with 60%, which is at least partly due to the widespread use of ITNs [1]. However, ITNs do not offer a 100% effective solution against malaria, primarily due to the fact that not everyone in malaria-affected areas has access to ITNs. But even if they did, malaria-spreading mosquitoes may still be able to bite their victims if the bed nets have holes. In addition, mosquitoes may develop resistance against the insecticides the bed nets are treated with.

By James D. Gathany (The Public Health Image Library , ID#444) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, Mosquito

Neuroscience 2015 – looking back

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 29, 2015

About a week ago I was on a plane flying back from Chicago to Amsterdam. I was exhausted, but very pleased with my experiences at my first Neuroscience meeting. I started out taking baby steps on my first day, but soon I was running a marathon (well, sort of). By Tuesday I really started feeling ‘at home’ and finally it even felt a bit sad to break down the booth and put everything back into the big crates for next year’s show. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, animal behavior research, neuroscience

Neuroscience 2015 – Getting into the flow of things

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 21, 2015

Tuesday, October 20th – I never thought I would be saying this by day three, but I am actually kind of getting used to how this works. I am absorbing all of the information like a sponge and it is apparently quite a big sponge, because I am ready to absorb more!

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Danio rerio, optogenetics, PhenoTyper, 2015, neuroscience, SfN

Neuroscience 2015 – Running a marathon

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 20, 2015

Monday, October 19th - After my “baby steps” at my first Neuroscience meeting on Sunday, it was time for some running action. Well, honestly, I wasn’t really running around, but I do feel like I walked a marathon. I was set on seeing all the posters today; with two sessions a day, I walked down all those aisles twice. (Can you tell I am kind of proud of myself? I am totally doing this again tomorrow).

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Topics: EthoVision XT, optogenetics, 2015, neuroscience, conferences, SfN

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