Our group is specialized in the analysis of animal behavior and in particular of mouse behavior. Our laboratory covers a broad spectrum of behavioral functions that can be analyzed ("Established behavioral tests"). Specifically, our interests focus on cognitive function and coping strategies in mice aiming at answering the following questions:

Which cognitive processes use mice to solve specific tasks? Do cognitive processes vary with age and between genders?
(Morellini, 2013; Fellini and Morellini, 2013; Haaker et al., 2013; Fellini and Morellini 2011; Morellini et al., 2010; Fellini et al., 2006).

Which are the proximate and ultimate causes of inter-individual variability in coping strategies? Do coping strategies affect cognitive function, social behavior and susceptibility to stress-induced depression and drugs of addiction?
(Jakovcevski et al., 2011; Desarnaud et al., 2008; Jakovcevski et al., 2008; Morellini et al., 2007; Morellini and Schachner, 2006; Brandewiede et al., 2005)

Which are the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions?
(Haaker et al., 2013; Morellini et al., 2010; Meier et al., 2010; Sawallisch et al., 2009; Morellini et al., 2007; Law et al., 2003; Senn et al., 2002; Evers et al., 2002)

How are specific behavioral repertoires shaped during ontogeny? Which are the long-term effects of environmental insults during adulthood and the perinatal period?
(Desarnaud et al., 2008; Jakovcevski et al., 2008; Palanza et al., 2002, Palanza et al., 1999)


Methods and established behavioral tests

    • Cliff avoidance reflex
    • Righting reflex
    • Geotactic reflex

    • Wire hanging
    • Pole test
    • Accelerated Rotarod
    • Runaway tunnel (footprint test)
    • Beam walking
    • Pencil test
    • Apomorphine-induced rotatory behavior
    • Sensory function
    • Visual cliff test
    • Visual discrimination
    • Olfactory discrimination
    Social behavior

    • Spontaneous maternal behavior
    • Pup retrieving
    • Maternal aggressive behavior
    • Play behavior and ontogeny of social and aggressive behavior
    • Social preference
    • Resident-intruder
    • Urine marking

    • Home cage circadian activity

    • Free-choice open field
    • New cage/new object test
    • Open field
    • Elevated plus maze
    • Light/ dark avoidance test
    • Food neophobia

    • Circular water maze
    • Rectangular water maze
    • T water maze
    • Circular dry maze
    • One-trial spontaneous spatial learning
    • Spontaneous alternation in the T or Y maze
    • Win-shift in the T maze
    • Free-choice win-shift
    • Olfactory learning
    • Spatial / novel object recognition
    • Step-down passive avoidance
    • Step-through passive avoidance
    • Olfactory social recognition
    • Social transmission of food preference

    • Sensitization
    • Tolerance
    • Conditioned place preference

    • Forced swimming
    • Tail suspension
    • Sucrose intake
    • Amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion
    • 8-OH-DPAT-induced hypothermia
    • Unpredictable mild chronic stress