This award aims to refine fluid control and reward practises in behavioural experiments using mice with a home-cage water delivery system.
Fluid can be used as a motivator for mice to encourage the animals to perform experimental tasks. These studies require fluid to be restricted prior to the experiment, which is done on a cage-by-cage basis and often overnight to allow experiments to be performed the next day. Dr Paul Dodson and Dr Riccardo Avvisati have developed WaterR, a system that enables automation of fluid control tailored to each individual mouse. Tailoring fluid control allows monitoring of fluid uptake by each individual animal within a group-housed cage preventing dehydration. The system comprises of readily available parts and costs less than £50 to make.
Paul and Riccardo will use this award to optimise the WaterR system for use with different animal house set-ups. They have partnered with laboratories at the Universities of Bristol, Oxford and Edinburgh as well as University College London and will work with these researchers to make WaterR readily accessible for any laboratory to adopt. The methodology for making WaterR will be released published online to enable wider uptake.