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Neurobehavior Testing Core

Overview of Services

The Neurobehavior Testing Core provides training, testing and analysis of behavior output in mice. Founded in 2012 with generous support from the Perelman School of Medicine Core Facilities, ITMAT, Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology and PMNC, the core serves PIs from all departments of the University of Pennsylvania, CHoP and other institutes (private or academic). Administrative functions are managed by the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT), where Dr. Garrett FitzGerald serves as our Faculty Director. Day to day operation is directed by Dr. William “Tim” O’Brien and our research specialists, Brianna Ciesielski and Nathaniel Dyanick. We are happy to announce that the Neurobehavior Testing Core is part of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at CHOP/UPenn and provides behavior testing services to CHOP investigators. Projects from other academic institutions and industry are also welcome.

A major strength of the Neurobehavior Core is the diversity of behavior domains that we are capable of investigating. We routinely perform sensory and motor assessment, affective disorder-related procedures, social and communication assays, learning and memory tests and developmental measures. Ancillary services include some surgeries, drug delivery, tissue harvest and assistance with grant or manuscript preparation. We may also be able to provide training on your equipment. Custom batteries of behavior procedures are designed to address the specific questions of individual PIs. Compiled data is returned to the PI in about 2 weeks.

How to use the core:

Please submit a request for consultation to discuss the aims and scope of your project, then an experimental design will be generated so that an estimate can be provided. Mice are transferred to the core IACUC protocol and relocated to our facilities on the sixth floor of the Smilow Center for Translational Research. All data and digital recording of procedures performed are returned to the PI. Personnel from the PI lab can be added to our protocol and trained to perform the procedures at reduced cost. The NTC staff works closely with ULAR and IACUC to ensure the best care for your mice and compliance with OAW regulations.

There are over 60 procedures approved on our IACUC protocol and we are happy to work up new procedures whenever feasible. Please visit our core website Neurobehavior Testing Core website on the ITMAT homepage.
A sampling of recent work that our core has contributed to can be found at Core Publications.


W. "Tim" O'Brien Ph.D. Director, Neurobehavior Testing Core

(215) 898-0476

Garret FitzGerald Ph.D.- Director, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics
Faculty Director
(215) 898-1185

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Facility Hours: 24/7

Staffed Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:00am-5:00pm

6th Floor Smilow Center for Translational Research

3400 Civic Center Blvd Bldg 421

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Resource Identifier (RRID)

Our RRID is: RRID:SCR_022386.  Please cite us using this identifier when publishing your results. 

Links and Resources

  1. Behavior Testing Core Site
  2. additional ITMAT site to be developed


Name Role Phone Email Location
W. Timothy O'Brien
(215) 898-0476
10-160 Smilow Center for Translational Research
Charles Molli
Business Administrator
(215) 898-7335
10-153 Smilow Center for Translational Research
Brianna Ciesielski
Research Specialist
6-103 Smilow Center for Translational Research
Nathaniel Dyanick
Research Specialist
6-103 Smilow Center for Translational Research