How it Works

Step 1: Review our Behaviors:

We have our currently available behaviors listed under our Behavioral Tasks tab at the top of this page. You can review them to see the types of tests we have available.

Step 2: Contact us

Contact us to set up a free consultation appointment. It would be helpful for you to include as much information as possible about your project and what you hope to measure, as well as any papers you may want to base your research on. This will give us enough information to prepare our recommendation for you at our appointment.

Step 3: Logistics

Once we have decided which experiments would most benefit your work, you will need to ensure that your research can be conducted at our facility.

Protocol:

You will want to update your ARC protocol by adding our facility to your locations and by citing our ARC protocol 2002-130-53 and listing which experiments you will be conducting. If you will be modifying your procedure from our currently approved protocol, you will need to describe the changes. Approval of the ARC Protocol Amendments can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months, so please plan accordingly.

Funding:

We can assist you with your grant applications for experiments which will be performed in the BTC facility.

There is also funding available through CTSI for use in the various cores at UCLA of up to $10,000. We will post notification on our home page whenever they have an open application period. We encourage everyone to apply.

Animal Transfer:

You will need to ensure that your animals can be transferred into a vivarium in Franz Hall. If you intend to return the animals back to your facility after the behavioral experiments are complete, you will also need to make sure there is a room that can receive them after being in Franz Hall. This can sometimes take some effort in figuring out as the ratings of the rooms are important. For help with this, you can contact the DLAM/Animal Care supervisor within your facility as well as Numan Interiano who is in charge of our DLAM facilities.

Once you know which room you can transfer your animals to, you will need to submit an internal animal transfer request through the DLAM website AND  place the “Please Transfer” stickers on the cages you wish to be transferred. DLAM will not transfer them until both are done. You will need to repeat this to transfer the animals back to your facility if applicable.

BTC Policy Training:

We have created a short policy training regarding everything you need to know about using our core facility. We require all users to take this course. It consists of a PowerPoint presentation and a short quiz. Both shouldn’t take longer than a half hour to complete. Once you have completed the training, you will be given access to our google calendars to book rooms and equipment in our facility.

Step 4: Training

If you or your lab members will be performing the experiments using our facility, you will need to receive training on the procedures you will be performing. We charge the Supervised Research rate for these trainings. Typically, training takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours per behavior task, depending on complexity. Training can be done on a separate date using practice mice, or during the first portion of your experiment. Practice mice must be provided by your lab.

If you wish to use our full-service option where we run the behavioral experiments for you, no training is required.

Step 5: Perform the Experiment

Once you have received training, you should be able to complete the behavioral experiment. Our staff will be on-site and ready to assist you if you run into any issues or have questions during regular business hours. You can also contact us by email or phone if we are not present during your experiment and we will provide assistance remotely.

Step 6: Data Interpretation

We can assist you with extracting data off of the software when applicable. We can then set up a free appointment to review your data and help you interpret your findings.

For our full-service option, we will organize your data into an excel file and deliver it to you.

If you need help with the statistical analysis of your studies, CTSI offers free biostatistical consultations where you can drop in and receive assistance with analyzing your results. If you would like for us to perform the statistical analysis for you, we will have to charge our Staff Performed Research rates for the time it takes to process the data, so we highly recommend taking advantage of the free option above.

Step 7: Publication

We can assist you in ensuring that the description of the behavioral methods is correct in your manuscript. If needed, we can send you our SOPs for the different procedures which were performed so that you can include all the details necessary to present a coherent image of what the experiment entailed.

Please remember to include the UCLA Behavioral Testing Core in your publication:

Please acknowledge Behavioral Testing Core in two places.
1) Methods section:
All (or describe the behavioral experiments) of the behavioral experiments were conducted in the Behavioral Testing Core (BTC) at UCLA. Mice were transferred to the BTC at (age) and allowed to acclimate for 1 week. The following behavioral tests were then performed.
a) Behavioral Test 1
b) Behavioral Test 2, etc
2) Acknowledgement: Please mention that the experiments were conducted in the Behavioral Testing Core facility under the supervision of Dr. Abha Karki Rajbhandari and conducted by Irina Zhuravka as appropriate.

This will help bring credibility to your studies by ensuring the readers that the tests were performed correctly, especially if your lab does not specialize in behavioral testing. This also helps us to get the word out about our services.