The Animal Behavior Core (ABC) provides behavioral characterization and analysis of rodent models to Investigators at Washington University and other collaborating research institutions.  Our time-efficient and cost-effective analysis capabilities extend across multiple behavioral domains including that of social behavior, learning and memory, sensory and motor function, approach/avoidance, repetitive & restricted patterns, circadian rhythms, reward behaviors, and feeding behaviors, among others.  Our services include study consultation, behavior data collection, animal handling, data management, statistical and graphical analysis, and equipment training and rental.

Core Description

The Animal Behavior Core (ABC) offers interested investigators a time-efficient, cost-effective opportunity to examine the behavioral consequences of gene mutations as well as assess the effects of specific drugs, experimental manipulations (e.g., neuronal loss), or altered development on behavior in laboratory rodents.  Services include consultation, behavioral testing, animal handling, data management, statistical analysis, equipment training and rental, help in writing manuscripts and grant proposals, and behavioral test modification and development. Behavioral testing and related services are conducted by ABC personnel and are available to investigators at Washington University and other collaborating research institutions on a fee-for-services basis. Investigators and researchers who prefer to rent ABC equipment can do so for a fee, but they must be trained by ABC personnel on the proper use and protocols of ABC equipment prior to rental.  The ABC offers many behavioral tests which may be organized into specific functional domains:

    • Approach/Avoidance (anxiety-like)

    • Circadian Rhythms

    • Developmental Trajectories

    • Feeding Behaviors

    • Learning and Memory

    • Repetitive, Restricted Behaviors

    • Sensory/Motor Function

    • Social Behaviors


Service available to All entities, including for-profit organizations.

Priority service for All entities, including for-profit organizations.


  • Consultation
  • Behavioral Testing
  • Animal Handling
  • Data Management
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Manuscript and Grant Writing
  • Behavioral Test Modification and Development
  • Training on Equipment
  • Equipment Rentals


  • Accelerating Rotarod (EZRod)
  • Activity Chambers
  • Activity Wheels
  • Actometer
  • Automated Sippers
  • Balance Beam
  • Barnes Maze
  • Behavior Sound- and Scent-Attenuating Chambers
  • CatWalk XT
  • DigiGait
  • Elevated Plus Maze (Mouse)
  • Elevated Plus Maze (Rat)
  • E-Mitters and Bases
  • Entrainment Cabinet
  • Feeding Experimentation Device version 3 (FED3)
  • Grip Strength Apparatus
  • Holeboard Apparatuses
  • Light/Dark Boxes
  • Morris Water Maze Pools
  • Novel Objects
  • Open Field Chambers
  • Operant Conditioning Boxes
  • Pallidus MR1 Activity Monitors (aka Mouse.Rats)
  • Sensorimotor Equipment: Ledge
  • Sensorimotor Equipment: Platform
  • Sensorimotor Equipment: Pole
  • Sensorimotor Equipment: Walk Initiation Square
  • Sensorimotor Equipment: Angled and Inverted Screens
  • Social Approach (Mouse)
  • Social Approach (Rat)
  • Social Dominance Tubes
  • Standard Rotarod (Mouse)
  • Standard Rotarod (Rat)
  • Startle Chambers
  • T-Maze
  • Ultrasonic Vocalization Recording Equipment
  • Virtual Optomotor System
  • Y-Maze


Pricing is subject to core verification

Consultation: Study Planning, Resources and Services No Cost
Behavioral Phenotyping 90 / Hour
Statistical and Graphical Analysis 90 / Hour
Equipment and Space Reservation 45 / Hour
Behavioral Phenotyping Training 90 / Hour

We recently increased our rates to $90/hour on January 1, 2023 to accommodate equipment updates and competitive salaries for our personnel as we work to expand, modernize, and advance the services we offer. Part of our modernization goal is to increase the throughput of many of our assays to reduce labor costs. Please see our Funding Opportunities page for pilot award opportunities.

Estimates provided for upcoming studies with the previous rate structure will still be honored after the January 1, 2023 change.

Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS)
Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC)
Dept. of Psychiatry
Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research
Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (WUIDDRC)