Next, I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Andrea Benucci’s lab at RIKEN Center for Brain Science Institute. Dr. Benucci and O’Hara teamed up to design the Self Head-Restraining Platform, a high throughput system for mouse behavior and neurophysiology.
Teaching mice to perform head-fixed behavioral tasks during neural recording has proven extremely laborious and time consuming, making such experiments extremely low throughput.
According to Dr. Benucci, “As a post-doc, I spent months training individual mice to perform head-fixed behavioral tasks during two-photon imaging sessions, and thought there has to be a better way!”
Dr. Benucci felt compelled to find a solution to this problem. His answer was the Self Head-Restraining Platform. With this system, mice learn to voluntarily head-fix themselves into a self-latching device in order to receive a water reward. The platform affixes to the home cage, and the dual-cage platform can train up to 4 mice per day.
Dr. Benucci has 12 platforms set up in his lab to effectively train 48 mice per day! Once mice are trained to head-fix (1-2 weeks), they are then trained on a complex visual discrimination task and imaged under a two-photon microscope. With the self-latching system, mice can be imaged for up to 20 minutes at a time.
To learn more about Dr. Benucci’s research check out his website.
You can find the full paper on the Self Head-Restraining Platform published in Nature on the Self Head-Restraining Platform product page on our website!
Stay tuned for my next stop – Kyoto University!