Welcome to Richard Brown's Lab

Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada

Research in our laboratory looks at five different aspects of rodent behaviour.

1. We are developing a set of standardized test batteries (the "Mouse IQ" test) to study the behaviour of inbred, mutant and knockout  mice.  This includes an "ethological" test battery, a learning and memory test batttery and a developmental test battery. Tests used include visual acuity, rotarod, elevated plus maze, elevated zero maze, open field, light-dark box, Hebb-Williams maze, Barnes maze, water maze, olfactory discrimination learning, olfactometer, cued and context conditioning, nine hole box, and others.

2. We are investigating the function of ultrasonic vocalizations in rodent parental, sexual and aggressive behaviour, and the neurochemical basis for the infant rodent "distress" vocalizations.  As part of this study, we are using developmental test batteries to examine behavioural development in genetically defined mouse and rat strains and the role of the gonadal, adrenal and thyroid hormones in behavioural development in these genetically defined strains.

3. We are studying strain and sex differences in parental behaviour in rodents, the benefits of paternal care for infant survival and development, and the hormonal and experiential conditions which influence male parental behaviour. We are also studying the effects of brain lesions on parental behaviour and the effects of the male on female reproductive physiology.

4.The effects of psychostimulant drugs on development in mice.  Using the developmental test battery we are looking at the short- and long-term effects of ritalin on behavioural development.

5. Rodent models of Alzheimer's Disease and other neurological disorders. We are testing mouse models of Alzheimer Disease, Fragile X Syndrome, ADHD and other neurological disorders using our developmental and Mouse IQ test batteries.   We are also testing the efficacy of novel compounds on mouse models.

This research is supported by NSERC of Canada.