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Participant 3

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Partner 3: Laboratory of Biological Psychology, University of Leuven, B-3000 Leuven, BELGIUM (Lab Head: Prof. Dr. Rudi D’Hooge). Key skills: Behavioural assessment techniques in transgenic mice, behavioural phenomics

Laboratory background and technical information: The Laboratory of Biological Psychology (LBP) is part of the Psychology Dept. at Leuven University, and involved with teaching & training courses for students in psychology, biology and biomedical sciences. The scientific mission of the LBP is the study of the neurobiology of learning & memory, and the pathophysiology and possible treatment of metabolic encephalopathy and dementia in collaboration with the KU Leuven-Human Genetics Dept. and other research centres (including a leading pharmaceutical research institute by means of a visiting professorship). Through its affiliation with the Psychology Dept., the LBP integrates techniques and expertise from behavioural science in a multidisciplinary approach of its research activities. The laboratory is equiped with state-of-the-art apparatus for the automated or semi-automated assessment of different functional aspects of rodent behaviour, but emphasizes continuous scientific innovation of multimetric measuring and data analysis techniques that are specifically tuned towards valid measurement in transgenic mice. Its infrastructure includes strictly controled animal housing and sound-attenuated rooms, and an electronic engineer (Mr Marc Vandenhende), a specialized technical workshop, as well as a collaborative group from the Engineering Dept. are associated with the LBP for the development and construction of arenas, mouse activity trackers and other lab-built equipment. The small scientific staff of the LBP consists of experienced behavioural neuroscientists with a significant publication record in assessment of transgenic mouse models, who have been involved with some of the pioneering work in this field.

Capacity to contribute to the project: All necessary equipment, facilities and expertise are available to support experiments related to behavioural analysis in á- mannosidase deficient mice, and assess the efficacy of enzyme replacement in the animal model. Animals are accomodated in certified facilities, general and specific assessment techniques that are established methods in the laboratory will be employed. Where necessary, modification of described techniques, development of novel assessment techniques and specialized behavioural data analysis will be included and realized by the team available at the LBP & other expert groups at the Psychology Department of Leuven University.

Members involved: To be supported by the project: Dipl psychol N.N., PhD student, who will be responsible for the experiments involving behavioural assessment of the effects of enzyme deficiency and therapeutic outcome in á-mannosidase deficient mice. Apart from supervising the maintenance of the á-mannosidase deficient mouse colony and enzyme injections, the advanced behavioural assessment will be performed by this person (36 pm).

Other contributing members of the laboratory: Prof. Dr. Rudi D’Hooge, DSc, PhD, laboratory head and chief animal behaviourist (12 pm); Ms Leen Van Aerschot, lab technician (24 pm), routine maintenance & logistics of mouse colony, technical support of behavioural observation techniques


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