Neurophenotyping Unit

The Neurophenotyping Unit provides a large scale of behavioral assays, in vivo electrophysiological recordings in both freely moving and anesthetized animals, demanding tissue sampling, stereotactic brain injections, and brain histopathological analysis in mice and rats.  In addition, in collaboration with Neuroscience Center Mouse Behavioural Phenotyping Facility (MBPF), it accounts for academic training in neurophenotyping in Finland. The neurophenotyping unit runs and coordinates studies to characterize the neurophenotype of genetically modified rodent disease models or pre-clinical in vivo studies to assess the effect of novel treatments for CNS disorders.

Equipment and methods

Behavioral Assays
Electrophysiological recordings
Stereotactic injections
Tissue sampling

Go to User policy and pricing

Go to Personnel

1. Behavioral assays
a. Motor functions
- Activity monitoring (video analysis (Ethovision) or photobeam-based analysis (TruScan)
- Gait analysis (Catwalk)
- Rotarod
- Beam walking
- Grid hanging and grip strenght
- Swimming

b. Sensory functions
- Acoustic startle and prepulse inhibition
- Hot plate test for pain threshold
- Von Frey filaments for tactile sensitivity
- Olfactory discrimination
- Visual functions (see electrophysiology)
c. Emotional and social behavior
- Anxiety: Elevated plus maze, open field, light-dark box, marble burying, novelty-suppressed feeding)
- Depression: Forced swimming, tail suspension, sucrose preference
- Aggression: Isolation-induced aggression
- Autism/social withdrawal: Social interaction, two-cage sociability test
d. Memory and cognition
- Spontaneous alternation (T-maze, Y-maze)
- Novel object recognition
- Novel odor recognition
- Object – place recognition
- Morris swim task (watermaze)
- Foraging in 8-arm radial maze
- Rewarded spatial two-choice tasks (T-maze, igloo)
- Cue and context fear conditioning
- Inhibitory avoidance
- Habit learning and reversal in T-maze

2. Electrophysiological recordings
a. Video-EEG
- cortical and hippocampal long-term EEG for detecting seizures and epileptic discharges
- monitoring of sleep-wave cycle
- assessment of sedative drug effects

b. Multi-channel EEG/LFP recordings in freely moving rodents
- 16-ch recording of local field potentials in any combination of brain structures
c. Evoked potentials in awake rodents
- Visual evoked potentials (VEP) combined with electroretinography (ERG)
- Auditory evoked potentials (AEP) including sensory gating

3. Stereotactic injections
a. Microinjections of viral vectors for gene transfer
b. Intracerebroventricular drug infusions

4. Tissue sampling
a. Transcardiac perfusions and preparation of histological samples
b. Collection of select snap frozen brain blocks
c. Collection of any peripheral organ or tissue
d. Repeated collection of venous blood samples, including glucose and insulin tolerance tests

5. Histopathology
a. Histological stainings
b. State-of-the-art light or fluorescent microscopy
c. Quantitative image analysis
d. Assessment of brain pathology


User policy and pricing

The main function of Phenotyping Center is to provide necessary expertise, training and supervision for academic groups to help them design, conduct, analyze and report behavioral studies as part of a larger (usually molecular) study. The group ordering the service is responsible for all running costs and salaries of people running the study.

Electrophysiological studies are conducted by trained personnel and priced based on research contracts.  
Services for nonacademic clients are custom-design studies that are priced according to the UEF guidelines for research service contracts.


Director of Phenotyping Center
Prof. Heikki Tanila, MD, PhD
email Heikki.Tanila (at); tel +358-40-3552084

Neurophenotyping unit
Contact person
Hennariikka Koivisto, M.Sc.
email Henna.Koivisto (at); tel +358-40-3552223