Frequently Asked Questions

What services does the BPC offer?
The BPC offers a set of behavioral, sensory, and motor tests to characterize either mice or rats. Many of the tests are computerized for data collection and analysis. A surgical room with a stereotaxic device is also available. The BPC also provides help with research planning and data analysis. Click here for details.

Whom do I contact to discuss my needs?
The BPC director is Craig Weiss, Ph.D. Please contact him for inquiries (3-0529, cweiss@northwestern.edu). To reserve services, please contact Mary Kando (3-3112, mary.kando@northwestern.edu).

Both Dr. Weiss and the Core’s executive director, Dr. John Disterhoft, are experienced behaviorists and available for consultation.

What is required to use the BPC? 
Those interested in using the BPC should contact the director to ensure that the BPC can meet the needs of the laboratory. An approved Animal Study Protocol that includes the tests to be used must be in place prior to testing. Approved Animal Protocols for many of the tests are available for easy insertion into an existing ASP.

An application for services (available here on our website) should be emailed to Dr. Weiss (cweiss@northwestern.edu).  Animals to be tested must be transferred by CCM to the holding rooms within the BPC (Ward 15-011 for mice, Ward 15-029 for rats).

Who is responsible for the animals?
The PI is responsible for the animals and their per diem costs. Animals are identified by their cage cards, and the cards stay with the PI’s animal protocol. The BPC is granted permission to test the animals by including the tests within their ASP.

What is the cost of service? 
The current costs are posted on the website. There are two cost levels: self service if a lab member collects the data (after being trained) and full service if the BPC collects the data. Full service is available as time permits. Costs have been determined after consultation with the Northwestern University Office of Cost Studies. Surcharges may apply to those who do not belong to Northwestern University.

Does the BPC provide training for the behavioral assays?
The BPC technician, Mary Kando, can provide lab members with the training needed to use the equipment and collect meaningful data.

How is data stored by the BPC?
The BPC has computers for the collection and temporary storage of data files. Users must transfer the data files to their own media for permanent storage. A large external hard disk or flash drive is recommended. Northwestern NUIT provides up to 1 GB of storage on their Res Files Server.

How do I schedule testing?
Please contact the BPC technician, Mary Kando (3-3112, mary.kando@northwestern.edu) for scheduling.

Is the BPC available for use by PIs in Evanston?
The BPC is available for PIs in Evanston, but an approved ASP must exist, and rats or mice will need to be delivered or transferred by CCM to the BPC holding rooms.

Is the BPC available to companies or investigators outside of Northwestern University?
Investigators or companies from outside of Northwestern University may be able to have their mice or rats tested by the BPC. This is most easily accomplished by establishing a collaboration with a Northwestern investigator who can secure an approved Animal Study Protocol. Surcharges may apply to Northwestern rates in such situations. Contact Dr. Weiss for more information (cweiss@northwestern.edu).

Should we acknowledge BPC in our publications?”
Please do! We appreciate the acknowledgement of BPC in your publications. These acknowledgements show the importance of BPC’s services to the Northwestern research community and potentially help us secure additional funding to serve you better. Boilerplate text has been provided below.

“Behavioral assays were performed at the Northwestern University Behavioral Phenotyping Core Facility.”

Additionally, please provide us with PDF copies of any publications in which BPC is acknowledged. These may be emailed to the director, Craig Weiss, at cweiss@northwestern.edu.

Investigators who acknowledge BPC and submit a PDF of their publication will be given one complimentary hour of service from the facility.