Ready to film!

10 06 2018

Here are 16 cameras, meticulously set up by the fabulous Aileen, and cobbled together from a handful I had already, five borrowed from Lee, and 8 bought for Andrea’s primate project.

We’re replicating a small study Emma and Aimee did at the very start of their programmes, to see if the presence of people watching mice alters their behaviour. This is an essential step for validating live scoring, and yet no-one had ever done it before (not least as it’s super dull, labour-intensive work). Our last attempt got rejected for being under-powered (reasonably enough, I have to admit), so this is us getting ready to wade back in and do it all again.

Treating mice to assess anhedonia

4 06 2018

Aimee and Aileen are running pilots right now to try and assess anhedonia from sucrose consumption without taking mice from their home-cage or food- or water-depriving them. Here’s a cute-looking attempt with Lifesavers (though later rejected as these sweets are fructose- rather than sucrose-based, and we’re trying to keep the number of ways we’re unorthodox to a minimum).


Mouse lab update

28 04 2018

Our mice have been here about a year now.  Middle-aged, a few have died in the last few weeks, especially (we think) the most stereotypic of the barren-housed DBAs; and a few others are barbered, like this whiskerless BALB getting a treat (below left). But most are healthy, still going strong and yielding us great data: enriched mice really are less aggressive, but only when at home (not in a test arena). We’re discovering fascinating things about the social recognition abilities of mice too.

We did have a Parvo scare recently, as this virus was found in collaborator Elena Choleris’ lab., but luckily our own mice are fine, and the giant clean up this prompted left the lab in ship shape (below right: racks of enrichments, including boxes of new replacement socks for their hammocks).

Email of the week

27 03 2018

From Emma, possibly just days from when her baby arrives, confirming Heather’s result that brainy parrot species are more at risk for oral stereotypic behaviour (OSB) (woo hoo!):

Screenshot 2018-03-27 16.35.17

Email of the week

9 02 2018

From me this time, to Aimee. Very sensible experimental design advice actually, but I’ll just leave it at that.

Screenshot 2018-02-08 21.54.02


Disclosures from Meagher and accomplices

23 01 2018

Becky just made a truly magnificent find. It begins“Your restricted pet is in all probability comparably as depleted as you think it is by all accounts, according to another examination from the University of Guelph in Canada, which has, out of nowhere, estimated signs of exhaustion in an animal” … and it takes it from there.

We had thought this was a Google Translate hack job from another language. But no, the site is based in Rhode Island, and every post is written like this. It’s a gem!

Saw Becky in person last month too, as she was over during the Christmas break, and very lovely it was too. Despite the inevitable horrors of taking up a faculty position, she seems to be thriving. And she even found time to help Andrea, who’s analysing our third “mink boredom” study (for which coverage like this, well, we can only dream …)


Yet more monkeys

12 01 2018

After spotting an error and as a consequence getting yet more data from California, Andrea can report that her final database contains a cool 5, 770 animals. Not bad eh?