Part I – Learning from O’Hara by AMUZA’s users abroad

Part I – Learning from O’Hara by AMUZA’s users abroad

Amuza team member and product manager for O’Hara Behavioral Testing Solutions, Taylor Clark, travels to Japan to learn more about the applications of O’Hara products from their users.

For over 40 years, O’Hara has been developing and manufacturing equipment for behavioral experiments in Japan. Their products are currently used by over 150 researchers at universities, research institutes, and industrial labs across Japan.

Taylor Clark, Product Manager for O’Hara in the US, traveled to Japan to visit and learn from the researcher’s who have been working with O’Hara products. Her first stop – Tokyo University!

Here’s what she had to say:

First, I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Masanori Matsuzaki’s laboratory in the Department of Physiology at Tokyo University School of Medicine.

Dr. Matsuzaki’s lab is interested in information processing in the Motor Cortex during motor skills learning. They apply several different techniques including two-photon imaging, optogenetics, and electrophysiology in behaving mice and marmosets to monitor and manipulate neural circuits in Motor Cortex that are involved in the initiation and execution of motor actions.

Currently, Dr. Matsuzaki’s lab is using the TaskForcer in combination with two-photon imaging of mice implanted with cranial windows, in order to monitor calcium dynamics of GCaMP (a genetically encoded calcium indicator) infected neurons in the Motor Cortex during skilled learning.

In speaking with Dr. Telada, assistant professor in Dr. Matsuzaki’s lab about the TaskForcer, here’s what he had to say:
“We needed a behavioral apparatus that would allow us to perform longitudinal imaging of the same neuronal populations over time during learning, which is why we chose to use the TaskForcer.”

“With the TaskForcer, we are able to consistently get precise neural recordings during imaging sessions while the mice perform a manual lever pull task.”

“We have now been using the TaskForcer in combination with a custom made two-photon microscope we built that enables super wide-field imaging. This has allowed us to simultaneously image neurons in both primary and secondary motor cortices during motor skills learning.”

Pictured is their TaskForcer setup underneath a two-photon microscope

To learn more about Dr. Matsuzaki’s research, check out his lab’s website.

To see selected publications using the TaskForcer please visit our TaskForcer product page.

Stay tuned for an update from my next destination!

Teaching Mice to Train Themselves : The Scoop on O’Hara’s New Behavioral Testing System

Teaching Mice to Train Themselves : The Scoop on O’Hara’s New Behavioral Testing System

Understanding how neural circuits give rise to behavior is one of the most sought after questions in Neuroscience. With O’Hara’s new behavioral testing system, finding an answer just got easier

O’Hara teamed up with researcher Dr. Andrea Benucci at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan to develop a high-throughput and fully automated system, The Self Head-Restraining Platform, to simultaneously assess mouse behavior and neurophysiology.

Mice learn to voluntarily self-fix their heads for a reward, enabling neural recording simultaneously during behavior.

Training head-fixed mice to perform complex tasks is extremely labor and time-intensive, leaving little time for actual research.

“Previously, training just one mouse took about 15 hours of a researcher’s time. Now, with twelve setups we are down to less than one-and-a-half hours.” – Andrea Benucci.

Using the Self Head-Restraining Platform, mice can engage in operant tasks at-will, without any intervention from the experimenter. The system has already been used to effectively train 100 mice.

In addition to the platform being high-throughput, mice learn to self-stabilize their heads,enabling an easy transition to in vivo examination of neural dynamics during behavior.

“Normally we see a decline in mouse performance or other incompatibilities when moving from highly-trained behaviors to different types of experiments for brain recordings, but that doesn’t happen with our system,” says Benucci.

Learn more about the Self Head-Restraining Platform by visiting