Neurogenetics & Modern methods of behavior registration

Viktoria Moiseeva
Poletaeva I.I. Perepelkina O.V.; M. Pleskatcheva, P. Kuptsov; Zorina Z., Fedotova I.B.
Minimal requirements: 
PhD students and 2nd year masters

Venue – Chair of Higher Nervous Activity, Biology Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow

Dates – 2011, February, 2-5  (the exact dates will be announced later)

Language  Russian & English

Contact person – Victoria Moiseeva, MSU coordinator,,

Phone  8-916-163-26-38

Please make your registration for this lecture course

The content:

1)    Z.A. Zorina, Dr. Sci, professor, Head of Laboratory of Physiology and Genetics of Behavior

Lecture: “Animal Reasoning and the Human Thinking Premises”

The experimental proofs will be presented which support the hypothesis of complex cognition in animals as evolutionary prerequisite of human intelligence. The main experimental approaches will be described, which demonstrated that animals of several species were capable of tool-making and tool-using without previous learning (“insight”). It was also demonstrated that animals were capable to solve elementary logic tasks, these tasks being based on their capacity to operate with empirical laws connecting objects and events in the environment. Animals were also shown to be capable for concept formation and symbolization. The comparative data will be presented concerning complex cognition in species with different brain complexity. It was demonstrated that the evolution of cognitive abilities which proceeded independently in birds and mammals reached the similar levels of complexity in the higher developed species (apes and corvids) of both classes.

2)    I.I. Poletaeva, Dr. Sci.,  Leading researcher

Lecture: «Essential principles in neurogenetics and behavior genetics»

Classical ethological concept. Structure of behavioral act. Appetitive and consummatory behavior. Releasers. Fixed action patterns.

Innate and acquired behavior

The main approaches in the Studies in neurogenetics and behavior genetics. Main approaches. Laboratory techniques. Study of behavior mechanisms by means of behavior genetics. Genetic studies of exploratory behavior, of animal aggression. Genetic studies in animal models of anxiety and depression. Modern molecular genetics and the study of behavior. Genetic studies of learning. Learning and hippocampal connectivity. Recombinant inbred strains and QTL. Gene expression in the brain. Genetics knockouts and transgenes.Genetic models of alcoholism. Genetic variability of neuron number, connection with behavior and cognition.


Lecture: «Genetic models of human diseases. Audiogenic epilepsy in rats as the example»

Pathological traits and models of human diseases. Human epilepsy, genetic studies. Seizure states in animals and muscle tone impairment. Audiogenic epi;lepsy, history. Main models. Genetic studies of audiogenic epilepsy fit in rats and mice. The development of audiogenic seizure in the brain. Audiogenic mioclonic fit. Catalepsies, audiogenic catalepsy. Neurochemistry in audiogenic epilepsy. Exitation and inhibition in audiogenic seizure fit. Concept of L.V. Krushinsky revisited.


3)    O.V. Perepelkina, PhD, senior researcher

Lecture: Selection of mice different brain weight and changes in behavior.

Selection experiments for brain weight differences. Rapid interstrain differences (F5-F7). Learning is more effective in large brain mice. Small brain mice and more fearful and anxious. Large brain mice solve elementary logic tasks more successfully than small brain ones. Environmental enrichment enhanced cognitive ability in both strains being more efficient in large brain mice.


4)    I.B. Fedotova, PhD, Senior researcher, N.M. Sourina, researcher.

Practical work: Krushinsky-Molodkina (KM) rat strain as the model of pathological states).

Inbred rat strain founded by L. V. Krushinsky and L.N. Molodkina in 1940-s is the efficient and productive genetic model of the human seizure states. At present this strain is highly inbred and sustained in the Laboratory of Physiology and Genetics of Behavior. Audiogenic seizure fit develops in 99% of KM rat population, it has minimal latency (2-3 sec) and prompt development of clonic-tonic stage. It develop[s after the start of loud sound exposure (100 dB above human hearing threshold). This atrain is used for testing new anticonvulsants and on order to study the epilepsy mechanisms. The demonstration will include the development of seizure fit after the sound onset n KM strain and in rats of other genotypes as well. Pharmacological modulation of seizure intensity could be shown. Repetitive sound exposure with the alternative intensities of sound is able to produce the changes in the response pattern of animals which will be shown as well.


5) Marina Pleskatcheva, PhD, leading researcher, Pavel Kuptsov , PhD, senior researcher

Practicum at modern methods of animal behavior registration 

Theoretic background and practical course of experimental animal behaviour studies will be presented. Standard batteries of tests to assess of various aspects of behaviour (anxiety, exploration, spatial learning and memory, reasoning abilities and other) will be demonstrated: open field, elevated cross maze, 8-arm radial maze, Morris water maze, extrapolation task set. The students will learn the method of video recording for detailed study of behavioral acts. Video tracking technique (EthoVision 7 (Noldus) software) for the registration and the calculation of X/Y coordinate and path (track) in moving rodents will be presented. The laboratory rats and mice will be used in the tests.