In Vivo Phenotyping

We offer a wide range of tests to characterise mouse models of human disease, including investigations of behaviour, metabolism, hearing, and vision. We are constantly striving to develop new tests and extend the range and complexity of established tests to further our understanding of human disease.

Reproducible and robust data analysing a broad range of systems

We perform a broad range of preclinical phenotyping tests often using sophisticated specialist equipment or systems developed here at MRC Harwell.

Although a number of the areas we are able to test are described below, our phenotyping portfolio is constantly under review so please complete our contact form to discuss your phenotyping needs and how we can assist you.

All tests have validated standard operating procedures and undergo rigorous quality control as part of our ISO9001 accreditation. To ensure consistency in health status and breeding conditions, it is a prerequisite that all lines are embryonically rederived into the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell and that subsequent cohorts are bred to enable randomisation and blinding.

Behavioural and Neurological Phenotyping

We use a Home Cage Analysis system to record a number of parameters and behaviours, annotated using an automated system with up to three mice in their home cage environment. This system complements individual short-term behavioural assays to build a more comprehensive insight into the effects of gene mutations on animal behaviour and neurological function.

We offer a range of tests to investigate anxiety, circadian rhythm, and sleep offering the opportunity for detailed characterisation of genetically altered mouse lines.

Metabolic Phenotyping

Specialist equipment is available for metabolic phenotyping via measurement of changes of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, food and water intake, and collection of urine and faeces. Technical staff are trained in a range of tolerance tests (including glucose and insulin) and efficient blood-sampling for clinical chemistry.

Neuromuscular Phenotyping

We have a range of sophisticated equipment for measuring various subtle aspects of muscle co-ordination, analysis of gait and also assess changes in muscle tone. Through a combination of tests, combined with behavioural studies as well, we able to build a broad picture of the neuromuscular system within a genetically altered line.

Sensory Phenotyping

With a long-standing interest in hearing research, Harwell has developed a sophisticated platform which measures very subtle deficits in mouse hearing. In combination with ophthalmology, these tests reveal the sensory profile of the mouse line being studied.

As sensory inputs in the mouse can have key effects on a wide range of other phenotypes, we routinely establish the integrity of these systems prior to any in-depth neurological studies.

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