Technological and Physical Enhancements for Primate Behavioral Testing Suites

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    ? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) is one of eight National Primate Research Centers whose focus is to develop and to provide models for human disease for investigators who are exploring ways to improve human health. The ONPRC has over 40 faculty principal investigators who are involved in research using nonhuman primate (NHP) models in four scientific divisions: 1) Neuroscience; 2) Reproductive & Developmental Sciences; 3) Pathobiology & Immunology; and 4) Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism. An increasing number of these studies involve the assessment of behaviors, and for this reason the Center constructed a cluster of eight behavioral testing suites intended for shared use and located within the Animal Services Building-3. These suites provide individual enclosed spaces as operant chambers for NHP behavioral observations and anterooms for observers/computers to record responses to testing. NHPs are not housed in these rooms and there is no permanent equipment in the spaces. The number of studies that include assessment of various aspects of primate behaviors relevant to our animal models of disease has increased significantly since the current behavioral testing suites were constructed. In addition to adding new technologies for assessing behavior, we have also expanded the number of animal models under study, driven in part by our success in funding this type of research. However, as more projects are funded, both technological and physical enhancements are needed to enhance the research and improve NHP well being. In this application, we are proposing to upgrade facilities that were designed and built a decade ago for this purpose, but that were built according to a different set of standards because much or all of the experimental data were acquired using anesthetized monkeys. Presently, sound travels readily between rooms, and vocalization of primates that are awake in one room disrupts the focus of the test subjects in all other rooms. Our goal is to better accommodate non-anesthetized (awake) animals in cognitive testing, which is the type of assessment needed for our currently funded grants. We propose to modernize the procedures that use computer-based data acquisition systems by providing touch screens for chambers in every room, and through the addition of a computer server with software for data acquisition, data output, and initial analyses of the various cognitive tasks. We also plan to install a monitor in the external hallway at the suite entrance for the capture of all suite activities into a single split screen, to both enhance safety and limit interruptions. Our specific aims are to: (1) Add sound-dampening building materials to walls and insulation to ceilings in individual testing rooms; (2) Enhance ambiance by removing reflective surfaces and changing lighting to variable, non- fluorescent lights that include dimming devices; (3) Provide electrical signal disruption between observation rooms to assist in telemetry; and (4) Enhance the ability to perform and monitor remote data acquisition in the behavioral suites.
    Effective start/end date8/21/158/20/16


    • National Institutes of Health: $497,794.00


    • Medicine(all)
    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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