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Interpretation of social behaviours among mice with Parkinson’s disease

Department of Informatics

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Dr H Zhou , Dr J Liu No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The extensive use of rodents (e.g., mice) in basic science and animal modelling has created a need for behavioural analytic tools which are reliable and high throughput. In recent years, automated systems for the quantitative analysis of animal behaviours have offered a promising approach to reducing the inherent high labour cost and inter-investigator variability associated with the manual annotation of data. However, these systems rely on the use of specialised sensors and are thus limited to the analysis of relatively simple and pre-programmed behaviours. Evidence shows that an interesting opportunity arises from the significant advances obtained in the past decade of research in artificial intelligence.

In this project, we propose to develop a fully automated and trainable computer vision system to monitor and analyse complex mouse behaviours and interactions using videos recorded by calibrated cameras as the only input. In particular, we will first investigate novel computer vision algorithms and apply them to recognise behaviours of 2-3 mice. Afterwards, we will extend the developed systems to analyse interactions of mice and abnormal behaviours of mice in the context of neurological disorders, e.g. Parkinson ’s disease.

This is a multi-disciplinary research project, pulling together expertise in neuroscience, artificial intelligence and computer science at Leicester. The following specific objectives form the core activities of the proposed research programme:

1. To develop a real-time computer vision system for monitoring and analysing behaviours of multiple mice with multiple calibrated cameras.
2. To extend the developed system for the recognition of complex behaviours and interactions of multiple mice.
3. To experimentally demonstrate that the proposed software tool at a system-level can produce better performance (efficiency and accuracy) than current state-of-the-art techniques.

The expected outcome of the work is a novel automated software tool for identifying complex behaviours and interaction of mice. In regard to the dissemination of our work, in the short term, we aim to publish at least three papers in top journals, such as IEEE Trans. On PAMI, and three papers at top conferences such as CVPR. In the longer term, we may pursue possible commercialisation of the developed system.

Entry requirements
Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject. The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

How to apply
The online application and supporting documents are due by Monday 21st January 2019.

Any applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted for the studentship scheme.

References should arrive no later than Monday 28th January 2019.

Applicants are advised to apply well in advance of the deadline, so that we can let you know if anything is missing from your application.

Required Materials:

1. Online application form
2. Two academic references
3. Transcripts
4. Degree certificate/s (if awarded)
5. Curriculum Vitae
6. CSE Studentship Form
7. English language qualification

Applications which are not complete by the deadline will not be considered for the studentship scheme. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application form and documents are received by the relevant deadlines.

All applications must be submitted online, along with the supporting documents as per the instructions on the website.

Please ensure that all email addresses, for yourself and your referees, are correct on the application form.

Project / Funding Enquiries
Application enquiries to [Email Address Removed]
Closing date for applications – 21st January 2019

Funding Notes

This research project is one of a number of projects in the College of Science and Engineering. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project that receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding.

Home/EU Applicants:

This project is eligible for a fully funded College of Science and Engineering studentship that includes:

• A full UK/EU fee waiver for 3.5 years
• An annual tax free stipend of £14,777 (2018/19)
• Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

International Applicants:

This project is eligible for a College of Science and Engineering studentship that includes:

• A full international fee waiver for 3.5 years
• Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)

International candidates must be able to fund their living costs for the duration of the studentship.


1. Burgos-Artizzu, X.P., Dollár, P., Lin, D., Anderson, D.J. and Perona, P., “Social behaviour recognition in continuous video”. Proc. of CVPR, p. 1322-1329, 2012.
2. Crabbe, J.C., Wahlsten, D. and Dudek, B.C., “Genetics of mouse behavior: interactions with laboratory environment”. Science, 284(5420), p. 1670-1672, 1999.
3. Dankert, H., Wang, L., Hoopfer, E.D., Anderson, D.J. and Perona, P., “Automated monitoring and analysis of social behavior in Drosophila”. Nat. Meth., 6(4), p. 297-303, 2009.
4. de Chaumont F, Coura RDS, Serreau P, Cressant A, Chabout J, Granon, S. and Olivo-Marin, J.C., “Computerized video analysis of social interactions in mice”. Nat. Meth., 9(4), p. 410–417, 2012.
5. Giancardo, L., Sona, D., Huang, H., Sannino, S., Managò, F., Scheggia, D., Papaleo, F. and Murino, V., “Automatic visual tracking and social behaviour analysis with multiple mice”. PLOS ONE, 8(9), e74557, 2013.

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