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Rodent Behavioral Core

Rodent Behavioral Core

Welcome to the NIMH IRP Rodent Behavioral Core

The NIMH IRP Rodent Behavioral Core (RBC) is a state-of-the-art research facility that was initiated to address the growing need across NIH to have an intramural resource for high throughput, efficient and targeted behavioral testing of rodents.

Behavioral neuroscience links systems-level circuitry to behavior, cognition and emotion and is thus critical for understanding the problems associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Linking cognitive changes in a behaving rat or mouse to targeted manipulations of neural circuitry requires the convergence of expertise from scientific fields inside and outside of neuroscience.

In designing research projects to understand the anatomy, genetics, and pharmacology underlying the control of behavior, researchers must understand the nature of the task, its measurements, and how to interpret the data. Several steps lie between the design of the experiment and the behavioral output. It includes, for example, choice of task (e.g., operant vs mazes), behavioral assessment (e.g., species common, semi-naturalistic, conditioning), the experimental procedure (e.g., cell or projection specific targeting), and the type of data for analysis (e.g., motion tracking, trial-by-trial analysis). Our goal is to provide all the necessary support for a Principal Investigator and its group to design and implement a behavioral study in rodents. This includes advice and discussion on experimental design, training and instruction in animal behavior, and data collection and analyses. In addition to providing specialized equipment, the RBC provides two fully equipped surgical suites, as well as tracking and programming tools for trial-by-trial analysis of behavior.

We are located in the basement of the Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center  (Building 35A) within the main Bethesda campus of the National Institutes of Health. If you would like a tour of the NIMH RBC, please email us at