Uppsala University Behavioral Facility brings animal studies to new heights

2021-06-16

The Behavioral Facility at Uppsala University assists researchers in behavioral sciences in planning, executing and analysing preclinical animal studies. Demand for the platform's services is extensive, but the facility staff identifies additional scientific potential.

Since 2011, the Uppsala University's Behavioral Facility (UUBF) offers support, tools and test environments to researchers using mice, rats and selected fish species in preclinical behavioral studies. All UUBF employees have extensive experience in the field and provide assistance in both planning, execution, analysis and interpretation of the results.

The platform is funded by the Disciplinary Domain of medicine and pharmacy, and is playing an increasingly significant role in method development, repeatability and reducing the total number of animals required to provide each project with the necessary conditions.

UUBF logo“The UUBF infrastructure is a solid and valuable resource for Uppsala University. Together with corresponding European platforms, we published an article in 2020 in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods comparing the different infrastructures. The results show that UUBF is well rooted in our university and offers a unique breadth and expertise. This means that we today face a large demand for our expertise, but also that we have the capacity to facilitate further assignments,” states Erika Roman at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The platform services also includes support during formulating ethics applications, a risk class 2 laboratory, handling and analysing of data, programming and data visualisation aided by MatLab and DeepLabcut (artificial intelligence). UUBF also offers a number of PhD courses, but most in demand at the platform is co-financing for the purchase of equipment and subsidisation of premises costs.

“Equipment is often expensive and requires maintenance and extensive space, but many years of co-funding purchases of tools has made us co-owners in quite a wide arsenal that we now coordinate access to. That we can also guide to appropriate premises further lowers the threshold for groups that might otherwise lack sufficient resources. Finally, by adding the right competence we generate scientific synergy effects, and our facility is today contributing to both more and better studies,” says Erika Roman.

Among the platform's recurring clients are research groups at the Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Evolutionary Biology, but also several teams at the Faculty of Pharmacy. Nevertheless, Erika Roman and her colleagues at UUBF identify additional scientific potential, in specific regarding the development and study of pharmaceutical substances.

“An increasing number of researchers are discovering that behavioral studies are considerably more sophisticated than placing a rat in a box and wait to see what happens. For example, we have recently developed a test environment that enables the mapping of multiple behavioral variables in zebrafish, we are also working to more clearly define the practical conditions for more extensive animal studies. We therefore encourage everyone with a research-related question to which our platform can be of assistance, to contact us so we can together set the direction for the next step."

FACTS

  • Uppsala University Behavioral Facility (UUBF) is a research infrastructure that offers support in preclinical animal behavioral studies.
  • UUBF is led by a board with four researchers from the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences and Department of Neuroscience. In addition, two coordinators and a researcher work at the platform.
  • UUBF has funding from the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy until 2022.
  • A recently published article in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods states that an infrastructure for behavioral research through animal studies strengthens the standardization of methods, the reliability of data and the possibility of reproducibility.

MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT

Uppsala University Behavioral Facility
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
uubf@farmbio.uu.se

text: Magnus Alsne, photo: UUBF a o

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Last modified: 2021-06-22