Symposium to focus on fundamentals of working with animal models

0127-Symposium 2As stroke research advances, so does the importance of knowing the fundamentals of testing animal models. “The Nuts and Bolts of Pre-clinical Behavioral Testing in Animals” will focus on the basics for those new to careers in research.

The half-day pre-conference symposium will be presented the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 16. It will cover topics such as statistical interpretation of data, an introduction to behavioral testing in rodents, cognitive testing and a presentation on the use of touchscreens by animals in studies.

“One of the biggest issues in translational medicine is why it is so difficult to translate really effective and useful pre-clinical agents into an effective therapy. Things can look fantastic in the lab and then we bring them to a clinical trial and they don’t work, so there is a big disconnect,” said Louise D. McCullough, MD, PhD, symposium chair. “People may not use the right models. That is a big issue for me as a clinician and a basic science researcher because the way we model things in a laboratory is really not effectively modeling the disease we see in patients.

“This session is targeting how we evaluate repair, regeneration and recovery in animals,” she said. “There are good tests we should be looking at, especially in cognitive testing.”

The symposium will open with an overview focusing on the fundamentals in behavioral testing in animals, such as how to perform accurate tests by being consistent in the daily timing of tests.

The second part of the session will have presentations on statistical interpretation, an introduction to behavioral testing in rodents, how to perform testing using animal models and cognitive testing.

“We will discuss which statistics are best for your study so you are not inflating your values, then we will go into more specific behavioral tests,” said McCullough, chair of neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center/McGovern Medical School, Houston. “We will wrap it all together with a question-and-answer session.”

One of the final presentations will be by Julie Deguil, a researcher in neuropsychology, neuroscience and clinical pharmacology at Université Lille II, Lille, France, who will discuss intracerebral hemorrhage, vascular cognitive impairment and her work with rodent models.

“She has an amazing model of a disease that is becoming more prevalent — amyloid angiopathy,” McCullough said. “These mice are in behavioral boxes where they use a touchscreen. You can get very subtle test behavioral deficits, and so this is important.”

The session will conclude with a 45-minute discussion period.

Please note that there is a separate fee to register for the ISC Pre-Conference Symposium II, “The Nuts and Bolts of Pre-clinical Behavioral Testing in Animals.” If you have already registered for ISC and would like to add it to your registration, please contact the Registration Resource Center.