Weather Update

BCM Family Medicine on Kirby is without electrical power. Patients with appointments on Tuesday at this location will be moved to Baylor Medicine on the McNair Campus:  7200 Cambridge St, 7th floor, Suite 7B. Patients will be contacted. For questions, call 713-798-7700.


Animal Phenotypes and Preclinical Outcomes

Media Component
Lab staff looks at specimens.

About the Core


The goals of the preclinical phenotyping component of PCO Core include: 

a) Expert consultation for experimental design and data analysis
b) Training for specific assays provided by expert staff
c) High-quality, efficient, and cost-effective service
d) Educational workshops on various topics and data analysis, technical issues, trouble-shooting, topics in behavioral neuroscience/genetics
e) Innovation and development of novel assays as preclinical outcome measures.

We have two rodent neurobehavioral core facilities located on BCM Main Campus and in the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute encompassing ~5,000 sq.ft. of space dedicated to behavioral studies of rodent models of disease. Our cores for mouse model studies have 32 rooms available for testing, containing state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate behavioral domains such as anxiety-like behavior, mood, multiple aspects of motor function and coordination, various learning/memory paradigms, social behavior, vocalization, pain, perseverative behavior, circadian activity as well as whole body autonomic measurements such as unrestrained plethysmography.


Available Services



Activity & Anxiety Related


Mouse Cores

Test/EvaluationTransgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
ClockLab wheel-running system


Open-field activity (automated detection)

Light-dark exploration (automated detection)

Light-dark exploration (manual scoring)

Elevated plus maze (video-assisted, automated)

Elevated plus maze (manual scoring)

Elevated circle maze (video-assisted, automated)

Elevated circle maze (manual scoring)

Repetitive & Perseverative-Related


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Marble burying assay

Grooming assay

Holeboard (automated)

Water T-maze

Fear extinction 

Motor Coordination & Function


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Accelerating rotating rod


Dowel walking

Vertical pole test

Grid footslip test

Parallel rod footslip test

Grip strength meter

Fine forepaw motor skill tasks

DigiGait gait analysis


Catwalk gait analysis



Sensory & Sensorimotor


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Acoustic startle test paradigms

Tactile startle test paradigms


Prepulse inhibition test paradigms

Hot plate

Tail flick

Von Frey filaments (manual application)

Formalin Test

Social and non-social olfaction

Learning & Memory


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Conditioned Fear

Morris water maze

Passive/active avoidance

T-maze spontaneous alternation

Novel object location

Conditioned place preference

Y-maze spontaneous alternation

Visual discrimination test

Touch Screen Operant System (9 different tasks)

Barnes Maze


Water T-maze

Social Behavior


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Tube test for dominance

Partition test sociability

3-chamber test for social preference and novelty

Resident intruder test for aggression

Direct social interaction test

Ultrasonic vocalization recording (Noldus, Avisoft and Audacity available)




Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Tail suspension

Porsolt forced swim test



Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Conditioned place preference

Sucrose preference test (Two-bottle choice)

Induced Behavioral Seizures


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Audiogenic seizure induction

Kainate induced seizures

Tremor Assessment


Mouse Cores

 Transgenic Mouse FacilityNeurological Research Institute
Tremor meter



Recent Publications from the Core

  • Cheng YT, Woo J, Luna-Figueroa E, Maleki E, Harmanci AS, Deneen B. Social deprivation induces astrocytic TRPA1-GABA suppression of hippocampal circuits. Neuron. 2023 Apr 19;111(8):1301-1315.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2023.01.015. Epub 2023 Feb 13. PMID: 36787749; PMCID: PMC10121837.
  • Zhou J, Hamdan H, Yalamanchili HK, Pang K, Pohodich AE, Lopez J, Shao Y, Oses-Prieto JA, Li L, Kim W, Durham MA, Bajikar SS, Palmer DJ, Ng P, Thompson ML, Bebin EM, Müller AJ, Kuechler A, Kampmeier A, Haack TB, Burlingame AL, Liu Z, Rasband MN, Zoghbi HY. Disruption of MeCP2-TCF20 complex underlies distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 25;119(4):e2119078119. doi:  10.1073/pnas.2119078119. PMID: 35074918; PMCID: PMC8794850.
  • Ru Q, Lu Y, Saifullah AB, Blanco FA, Yao C, Cata JP, Li DP, Tolias KF, Li L. TIAM1-mediated synaptic plasticity underlies comorbid depression-like and ketamine antidepressant-like actions in chronic pain. J Clin Invest. 2022 Dec 15;132(24):e158545. doi: 10.1172/JCI158545. PMID: 36519542; PMCID: PMC9753999.
  • Kim J, de Haro M, Al-Ramahi I, Garaicoechea LL, Jeong HH, Sonn JY, Tadros B, Liu Z, Botas J, Zoghbi HY. Evolutionarily conserved regulators of tau identify targets for new therapies. Neuron. 2023 Mar 15;111(6):824-838.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.12.012. Epub 2023 Jan 6. PMID: 36610398.
  • Bajikar SS, Anderson AG, Zhou J, Durham MA, Trostle AJ, Wan YW, Liu Z, Zoghbi HY. MeCP2 regulates <i>Gdf11</i>, a dosage-sensitive gene critical for neurological function. Elife. 2023 Feb 27;12:e83806. doi: 10.7554/eLife.83806. PMID: 36848184; PMCID: PMC9977283.
  • Achilly NP, Wang W, Zoghbi HY. Presymptomatic training mitigates functional deficits in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Nature. 2021 Apr;592(7855):596-600. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03369-7. Epub 2021 Mar 24. PMID: 33762729; PMCID: PMC8093094.
  • Shao Y, Sztainberg Y, Wang Q, Bajikar SS, Trostle AJ, Wan YW, Jafar-Nejad P, Rigo F, Liu Z, Tang J, Zoghbi HY. Antisense oligonucleotide therapy in a humanized mouse model of <i>MECP2</i> duplication syndrome. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Mar 3;13(583):eaaz7785. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaz7785. PMID: 33658357; PMCID: PMC8976688.
  • Coffin SL, Durham MA, Nitschke L, Xhako E, Brown AM, Revelli JP, Villavicencio Gonzalez E, Lin T, Handler HP, Dai Y, Trostle AJ, Wan YW, Liu Z,
    Sillitoe RV, Orr HT, Zoghbi HY. Disruption of the ATXN1-CIC complex reveals the role of additional nuclear ATXN1 interactors in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. Neuron. 2023 Feb 15;111(4):481-492.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.11.016. Epub 2022 Dec 27. Erratum in: Neuron. 2023 Mar 15;111(6):915. PMID: 36577402; PMCID: PMC9957872.
  • Lee D, Chen W, Kaku HN, Zhuo X, Chao ES, Soriano A, Kuncheria A, Flores S, Kim JH, Rivera A, Rigo F, Jafar-Nejad P, Beaudet AL, Caudill MS, Xue M. Antisense oligonucleotide therapy rescues disturbed brain rhythms and sleep in juvenile and adult mouse models of Angelman syndrome. Elife. 2023 Jan 3;12:e81892. doi: 10.7554/eLife.81892. PMID: 36594817; PMCID: PMC9904759.
  • van der Heijden ME, Gill JS, Sillitoe RV. Abnormal Cerebellar Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dev Neurosci. 2021;43(3-4):181-190. doi: 10.1159/000515189. Epub 2021 Apr 6. PMID: 33823515; PMCID: PMC8440334.
  • Miterko LN, Lin T, Zhou J, van der Heijden ME, Beckinghausen J, White JJ, Sillitoe RV. Neuromodulation of the cerebellum rescues movement in a mouse model of ataxia. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 26;12(1):1295. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21417-8. PMID: 33637754; PMCID: PMC7910465.
  • Orengo JP, Nitschke L, van der Heijden ME, Ciaburri NA, Orr HT, Zoghbi HY. Reduction of mutant ATXN1 rescues premature death in a conditional SCA1 mouse model. JCI Insight. 2022 Apr 22;7(8):e154442. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.154442. PMID: 35290244; PMCID: PMC9089789.
  • Le JT, Ballester-Rosado CJ, Frost JD Jr, Swann JW. Neurobehavioral deficits and a progressive ictogenesis in the tetrodotoxin model of epileptic spasms. Epilepsia. 2022 Dec;63(12):3078-3089. doi: 10.1111/epi.17428. Epub 2022 Oct 12. PMID: 36179064; PMCID: PMC9742150.
  • Achilly NP, He LJ, Kim OA, Ohmae S, Wojaczynski GJ, Lin T, Sillitoe RV, Medina JF, Zoghbi HY. Deleting <i>Mecp2</i> from the cerebellum rather than its neuronal subtypes causes a delay in motor learning in mice. Elife. 2021 Jan 26;10:e64833. doi: 10.7554/eLife.64833. PMID: 33494858; PMCID: PMC7837679.

Meet Our Team


Item Definition

Director: Dr. Surabi Veeraragavan

For consultation and training to use the behavior core please contact Dr. Surabi Veeraragavan.




We ask that users acknowledge the use of this core as follows:

"The project described was supported in part by the Preclinical and Clinical Outcomes Core at Baylor College of Medicine, which is supported by IDDRC Grant Number P50HD103555 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the National Institutes of Health”.