Methodological Considerations for Optimizing and Validating Behavioral Assays

Stacey J. Sukoff Rizzo, Jill L Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Preclinical animal models are indispensable tools for translational research for which behavioral characterization and phenotyping are essential to testing hypotheses and for evaluating the potential of novel therapeutic agents to treat diseases. The methods employed for comprehensive behavioral phenotyping and pharmacological experiments are complex and should be conducted exclusively by trained technicians with demonstrated proficiency. The ultimate goal is to identify disease-relevant and translational behavioral endpoints that are robust, reliable, and reproducible, and that can be employed to evaluate potential of novel therapeutic agents to treat disease. The intent of the present article is to provide a pragmatic outline for establishing and optimizing behavioral assays and phenotyping batteries, ensuring that the assays and the data are reliable such that they can be reproduced within and across technicians and laboratories and, more importantly, that the data is translatable to the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-379
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent protocols in mouse biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • animal models
  • assay validation
  • behavior
  • behavioral testing
  • mouse
  • pharmacology
  • phenotyping
  • reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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