Animal Behavior Core

The Animal Behavior Core (ABC) offers interested Washington University (WU) investigators a time-efficient, cost-effective opportunity to examine the behavioral consequences of gene mutation in mice as well as assess the effects of specific therapeutic strategies including drugs, experimental manipulations (e.g., neuronal loss), or altered development on behavior in laboratory rodents. Services include consultation, animal handling, behavioral testing, data management and statistical-graphical analysis.


The ABC operates under the auspices of the Department of Psychiatry and is affiliated with the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research. It conducts developmental studies as the Behavior Subcore of the Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.


Holeboard Exploration / Olfactory Preference Test

There are several ways in which the ABC staff will serve the behavioral testing needs of interested investigators:

  1. Offer a basic panel of general tests for behavioral phenotyping or evaluating treatment regimens;
  2. Work with investigators to test specific behavioral functions;
  3. Work with investigators to modify current tests to accommodate certain strains and experimental treatments;
  4. Work with investigators to develop tests not in current repertoire (e.g., dam-pup interactions);
  5. Design experiments to assess the effects of drugs on behavioral functions.

In addition to overseeing the conducting of the behavioral tests, Dr. Wozniak will also work with investigators during the planning stages of their research. This service includes the selection of appropriate behavioral tests and background strains as well as deriving an optimal experimental design for testing scientific hypotheses. After data is collected, Dr. Wozniak offers graphical and statistical analyses and will provide assistance with regard to writing manuscripts and grant proposals if so desired by investigators.

Available Tests

The ABC offers many different behavioral tests that may be combined in various ways to develop basic screening batteries for characterizing behavioral phenotypes for mutant mouse strains or for evaluating treatment efficacy (e.g., gene therapy). Tests currently being offered are listed below in Table 1. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of the tests that may be performed. Please contact Dr. Wozniak for other possible testing services.

ACTOMETER Tests Offered by the Animal Behavior Core


The Animal Behavior Core is open to all WU investigators on a fee-for-services basis. Investigators from nonprofit/academic institutions outside of WU may be able to use Core services as well on a fee-negotiated basis.

How to Obtain Core Services

Investigators potentially interested in having the ABC conduct behavioral testing on their mice should contact Dr. Wozniak to obtain more information.


ABC Director: David Wozniak, PhD (e-mail:, ph: 314-362- 5173)

ABC Co- Director: Carla Yuede, PhD (e-mail:

Chief Technician: Sara B. Conyers, MA (e-mail:, ph: 314-362-7723)

Technician: Jamie L. Gunn, MA (e-mail:, ph: 314-362-7723)

Other ABC Associates

Susan Maloney, PhD (e-mail:

Josh Dearborn, PhD (e-mail: