Animal Behavior Laboratory


In animals, behavior is the key link between the organism and the environment. The activity of the nervous system is one of the fundamental aspects of the life of all animals, including humans, which integrates all sub-functions arising at the molecular and physiological level into a single system, and it is through it that the organism as a whole relates to the surrounding world.

Behavioral studies thus enable the organism to be examined at the whole-system level, and are also a sensitive indicator of pathological processes. The biology of animals, especially mammals, is essentially very close to human biology, and many domains of behavior are shared, which makes the study of the behavior of model organisms an irreplaceable source of information for clinical and preventive medicine, especially in the field of mental health.

The Preclinical Research Program is largely devoted to the study of the behavior of experimental animals. We investigate animal models mimicking neurological and psychiatric disorders, with the aim of understanding their mechanisms and finding new approaches to their treatment.


Zeiss AxioImager Z1 fluorescence microscope

For classical brightfield and fluorescence imaging, the Zeiss AxioImager Z1 upright motorized microscope with a full set of dry and immersion objectives and a manual stage is available in the laboratory. For image recording, the microscope is equipped with a Zeiss digital sensitive camera. The microscope and camera are controlled by AxioVision software for conventional single and multi-channel fluorescence imaging, time-lapse and 3D imaging.

The microscopes can be used independently by trained users from among the employees of the National Institute of Health, as well as amedical and corporate staff. For untrained users, assistance is available both for the microscopy scanning itself and for optimizing the scanning procedure with respect to the samples.

Leica TCS SP8 X confocal laser scanning microscope

The main microscope at the NUDZ is a state-of-the-art confocal microscope equipped with a white tunable laser allowing the selection of any excitation line or combination of up to eight excitation lines simultaneously from the visible spectrum 470-670 nm. In addition to the white laser, the microscope is equipped with classical single and multibeam lasers from the near UV region (405 nm) through the entire visible region (Ar laser, DPSS laser, HeNe laser). Any combination of excitation laser lines and corresponding detection settings is possible with the filterless AOBS (Acousto-Optical Beam Splitter) beam splitter for any combination of up to eight excitation laser lines simultaneously. The detection part of the system includes a combination of spectrally tunable confocal detectors - photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and hybrid detectors (GaAsP-based HyDs). The microscope allows imaging by a variety of different methods for fixed samples as well as for live cells thanks to a culture chamber with temperature and CO2 concentration control.