David Wood and Douglas Armstrong
Tue 15 Sep 2015, 11:00 - 12:00
IF 4.31/4.33

If you have a question about this talk, please contact: Mary-Clare Mackay (mmackay3)

David Wood :  Title and Abstract tbc.

Douglas Armstrong:

Title:   From Rodent Big Brother to Rodent Little Brother - bring experimental analysis into the home cage.


Laboratory rats and mice live their lives in small social groups in specially designed homecages that maintains their welfare, minimises stress and infection while also streamlining their management. During experimental studies individual animal are removed from their peer group to be tested/analysed, which is both stressful to the animal and labour intensive to the researcher. What if we could monitor individual animals activity and behaviour but leave them in their social groups and within their regular homecages? This was the key concept of the NC3Rs Crack-It Rodent Big Brother Challenge set in 2011. We have developed a system (Actual HCA™) that uniquely tags each individual animal so we know identity within the group and add onto this video analytics to record and analyse behaviours including activity/immobility, climbing, rearing, thigmotaxis, circadian rhythms, social grouping etc. In rats, the system also records body temperature. Critically we use unmodified home cages so our solution has minimal impact on current animal husbandry procedures. The system runs 24/7 generating datasets that can span many days/weeks so it is ideally suited to monitoring cohorts of animals in longitudinal studies. I will discuss how we engaged with the Crack-IT challenge and worked closely with the NC3Rs and the challenge sponsors (Astrazeneca and MRC Harwell) to develop the system and look at what insights we are getting from the first datasets obtained in the systems.