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SELF-FUNDING MSc BY RESEARCH PROJECT: Do male mice prefer to live on their own?


   School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience

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  Prof E S J Robinson, Dr Jennifer Davies  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Aggression in group housed male mice is a major concern from both an animal welfare and scientific perspective. Surprising little is known about the social behaviour of male mice in the laboratory environment and therefore what factors trigger aggression or beneficial husbandry methods. We are currently working on an NC3Rs funded project to investigate the impact of different housing conditions on aggression-related behaviours and how these impact on the affective state of male mice. Our aim is to develop methods for housing male mice which are optimal for their welfare and based on objective assessments of the affective experience and methods which can generate positive rather than negative affective states. This has been made possible by novel behavioural methods pioneered by our group which mean we can ‘ask the animals’ which environment they prefer. We have available a 1-year self-funded MSc by Research to join this project. The student will carry out studies investigating how the home cage environment might be modified to reduce aggression. Analysis will use a range of home cage monitoring techniques to observe social interactions and affective bias assays to quantify the impacts on affective state. 

Research environment: you will have the opportunity to join our behavioural neuroscience research group where we currently run two main research programmes. The majority of the group is working on projects relating to the emotional and cognitive impairments in psychiatric disorders but our experience with quantifying emotional behaviour in animals has enabled us to develop this animal welfare focused theme.  

 Please apply to: https://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/ and ensure that you select the School of Physiology and Pharmacology, Masters by Research. Please also enter the supervisors name in your application.


Funding Notes

This MSc by Research is offered on a self-funded basis with the student expected to cover the costs of their fees and living costs. There are no bench fees associated with this project.

References

1. NC3Rs website discussion relating to aggression in male laboratory mice https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/laboratory-mouse-aggression-study
2. Study into the incidence of aggression in male mice. Lidster et al., (2019) Cage aggression in group-housed laboratory male mice: an international data crowdsourcing project. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-51674-z
3. Study from our group using our affective bias test to demonstrate the positive welfare benefits of tickling in rats. Hinchliffe et al., (2020) Rat 50kHz calls reflect graded tickling-induced positive emotion https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982220312288?via%3Dihub

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