Behavioral Phenotyping [Core D]

Directors - Sarika Peters, Ph.D., Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., Mark Wallace, Ph.D.


Objectives are to provide support and promote innovative and replicable behavioral phenotyping data in people and rodent models of IDD. The core will also facilitate translational research incorporating human and animal data approaches.

For an overview of Core D and to learn about new services, watch the Core D Overview webinar.


Human Phenotyping

Provides investigators with access to:

  • Consultation regarding experimental design
  • Wearable devices and consultation for physiological assessments (access to wearable devices for the collection of pilot data)
  • Training for using/adapting assessments for populations of individuals with IDD
  • Functional assessment measures, home-based assessment, ecological momentary assessment, and/or video-based assessments
  • Full-service behavioral phenotyping (a clinical psychologist provides support for administering assessments as part of pilot studies)

Mouse Behavioral Phenotyping

Provides VKC investigators with access to and training in modern behavioral phenotyping methods through the Vanderbilt Murine Neurobehavioral Laboratory. (Find on iLabs here.)

  • Provides VKC investigators with access to and training in behavioral phenotyping methods through the Vanderbilt Murine Neurobehavioral Laboratory (MNL)
  • Provides consultation in experimental design and most appropriate tests to use for specific experiments
  • Trains investigators and research staff regarding use of behavioral equipment, data backup techniques, and data retrieval from server
  • Assists in using data analytic tools
  • Provides technician support to conduct behavioral phenotyping on behalf of Investigators

See the MNL website for on-line reservation system, descriptions of faculty and equipment, and on-line instruction manuals. Room reservations can be made through iLabs. Core users must have an active account in iLabs and have participated in a facility orientation session with Department of Animal Care before reserving rooms. Training on behavioral paradigms and equipment is required for all new users.

Assistance is provided with the following behavioral paradigms:

  • Gross Neurological Function
  • Sensory Function
  • Motor Function
  • Learning/Cognition Function
  • Anxiety and Behavioral Despair
  • Motivated Behavior
  • Social Behavior and Aggression
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Juvenile ultrasonic communications

Many other tasks are available on request or can be developed and piloted by Core staff

Translational Science

Consultation regarding integration across animal model/human behavioral phenotyping

Neuroscience Research Shop

A full service apparatus shop is available to investigators. The shop and skilled fabrication help from Bruce Williams is available to fabricate or modify apparatus such as animal enclosers or human usable fabricated devices for research use. The shop is located in the basement of the Hobbs building on the Peabody Campus and is managed by Bruce. To setup a consult use the service request form or contact Bruce. (

Key Personnel