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Behavioral Neuroscience: Foundations of Compulsive Behaviors

The first MOOC to teach behavioral neuroscience research using laboratory mice. Learn responsible conduct of research and how to collect scientific data using two different tests that measure compulsions, and interpret and discuss the results in the context of obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans.

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There is one session available:

26 already enrolled!
After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Jul 26

Behavioral Neuroscience: Foundations of Compulsive Behaviors

The first MOOC to teach behavioral neuroscience research using laboratory mice. Learn responsible conduct of research and how to collect scientific data using two different tests that measure compulsions, and interpret and discuss the results in the context of obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans.

Estimated 5 weeks
5–7 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Jul 26

About this course

Skip About this course
  • Understand how to handle laboratory mice responsibly according to federal law by completing Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) training.
  • Understand how research on animals must be scientifically justified, humane and ethical, and provide new knowledge.
  • Collect behavioral data from mouse videos from compulsive-like, non-compulsive-like, and randomly bred mouse strains; a mouse model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Obtain competency in using behavioral tests to measure compulsions in laboratory mice.
  • Establish a foundation in using behavioral tests in laboratory mice to be able to confidently learn how to use new tests.
  • Develop an ability to analyze behavioral data.
  • Develop an ability to interpret and discuss results in the context of human psychiatric disorders and the mouse model of OCD.
  • Obtain a competency in describing key characteristics of OCD in humans and compulsions in animal models.
  • Develop a capability to formulate original research hypotheses.
  • Obtain a competency in describing and discussing how basic research contributes to the animal model of OCD and how it may have the potential to contribute to improving the human condition.
  • Learners who join this course should be free of objections to using mice in research.

At a glance

What you'll learn

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  • Learn responsible conduct of research.
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret behavioral data from mouse videos.
  • Establish a foundation in using behavioral tests in laboratory mice.
  • Understand obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans and compulsions in animals.
  • Understand the role of animal models in studying human psychiatry.
  • Module 1: Introduction, Animal Care and Training

  • Module 2: Ethics of Animal Research

  • Module 3: OCD in humans and compulsive like behavior in mice (nesting)

  • Module 4: Compulsive-like behavior: Data collection and analysis of marble burying behavior

  • Module 5: Interpretation of results

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Are new mice used for this course?

A: No. All the mice were used in other courses and experiments prior to including them in this course.

Q: Do any mice suffer while participating in the behavioral test?

A: No. Some of the behavioral tests may have been stressful, such as the forced swim test or the tail suspension test. However, the stress was equivalent to what a mouse might experience while living in the animal facility, such as reestablishing a dominance hierarchy in a new and clean home cage.

Q: Are the mice killed at the end of the behavioral tests?

A: Yes. The mice were euthanized following federally required euthanasia procedures that minimize pain and distress. Most mice were used for several tests in order to reduce the total number of mice used.

Q: What happens if a mouse gets sick?

A: If a mouse got sick, it was checked by animal care and/or veterinary staff. If the illness was minor and treatable, it received appropriate care and was returned to its home cage. If the illness was severe, the mouse was euthanized following federally required euthanasia procedures that minimize pain and distress. Subsequently, the animal was necropsied to identify the cause of death. Causes of death usually included a tumor, kidney failure, a genetic anomaly, or an infection. Very few mice became ill.

Q: What happens if a mouse dies?

A: If a mouse died, it was necropsied to identify the cause of death. Causes of death usually included a tumor, kidney failure, a genetic anomaly, or an infection. Very few mice died.

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