• Project Title: Mapping the Development of Repetitive Behaviors in Mice

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Hight

  • Internship Location: Graybiel Laboratory at MIT

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Emily Hueske

What does instigating and quantifying the development of repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) model mice reveal? The SHANK3 gene, which is found in the 22q13 chromosome, is one of the autism gene candidates. A mutation in this gene has been found in 1-2% of individuals with ASD. To this end, SHANK3 mice are used in studies focused on the development of repetitive behaviors, an aspect of autism. For my internship, I will work with Dr. Emily Hueske at Graybiel Laboratories to research the development of repetitive behaviors in SHANK3 model mice through the use of softwares: DeepLabCut and B-SOiD. DeepLabCut provides a marker-less (as opposed to the old method of attaching physical markers to animals) pose mapping software. B-SOiD can provide specific clustering of pose movement data from DeepLabCut. These softwares will provide information on model mice that have been affected by Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs), which will allow for manipulation of the striatum, part of the brain involved in motor function. The goal of this project is to develop a better understanding of the development of repetitive behaviors in autism model mice.