FEB 04, 2016 10:30 AM PST

Stressed out! The consequences of environmentally induced stress on mouse models

Speaker
  • Associate Professor of Animal Welfare, Animal Sciences, Purdue University, College of Agriculture
    Biography
      Brianna received her BS from Kansas State University in 2004 and PhD in Animal Behavior and Well-being from Purdue University in 2011. After graduation, she spent 2.5 years as a postdoctoral research scientist at Charles River. She returned to Purdue University in 2014 and was recently awarded tenure. Her research focuses on developing new animal welfare assessment methodologies, rodent well-being, and elucidating the scientific impact of welfare problems in animal based research. Her previous research has covered behavioral and physiological thermoregulation of mice in laboratories and its impact on mouse well-being. Additionally she has been involved in developing new and improved types of cognitive testing for mice that are used in psychiatric and neuroscience research. Brianna has published in the behavior and well-being, laboratory animal, and experimental psychology literatures and has given presentations on her work nationally and internationally. Her research contributions have been acknowledged by receiving the highly commended paper prize from the NC3R's in 2015, the prize for exceptional service in laboratory animal science from the Swiss Laboratory Animal Science Association, and the New Investigator Award from the International Society for Applied Ethology in 2013. Recently she was honored to consult with NASA about mouse welfare on the international space station.

    Abstract

    The environment has been found to be a major contributor to data variability and many aspects of the laboratory environment are stressful to rodents and do not accurately reflect the human experience. Thermal stress from normal laboratory temperatures reduces immune function, breeding performance, and alters behavior; lighting may be too intense, increasing stress, and lead to immune suppression; noise from ventilators, construction, or ultrasonic noise from monitors can affect breeding performance and stress hormones; cage changing disrupts odor cues that can cause stress and increase aggression and suppress immune function. Chronic uncontrollable stress is widely acknowledged for its negative alterations to physiology, yet, there is a significant gap in the understanding of how the laboratory environment affects mouse physiology and behavior, in particular, as it relates to characteristics of the human disease being modeled. This presentation will provide attendees with information on known causes of stress in common mouse vivariums and how it can be reduced by small changes including environmental enrichment.


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