Oxytocin U19 BRAIN Initiative Grant Core Facilities
The Oxytocin U19 BRAIN Initiative Grant at NYU Langone’s Neuroscience Institute is supported by four state-of-the-art research facilities.
Oxytocin Antibody Production Core
Led by Moses V. Chao, PhD, the Oxytocin Antibody Production Core manages the generation, maintenance, and distribution of antibodies to study the function of oxytocin signaling. Although it has been extensively studied, a lack of specific antibodies has thus far limited neuroscientists’ understanding of the cellular and network effects of oxytocin signaling.
The Oxytocin Antibody Production Core is in the process of generating and validating antibodies that are the first specific antibodies to mouse oxytocin receptors, opening a novel opportunity to study oxytocin signaling across different brain regions. Our researchers will use these monoclonal antibodies to label and identify neural circuits involved in oxytocin signaling.
The Oxytocin Antibody Production Core ensures a continual production of monoclonal oxytocin receptor antibodies, distributes these antibodies broadly, and facilitates their broader use by project labs and other investigators around the world. By employing a core facility to produce and validate these antibodies, we maintain an essential standardization of production to fulfill the urgent need for this important resource.
Behavioral Optogenetics Core
Led by Adam Mar, PhD, the Behavioral Optogenetics Core provides equipment, facilities, and expertise to investigators studying animal behavior at NYU Langone. Spanning 2,400 square feet in a modern research facility at NYU Langone, the Behavioral Optogenetics Core breeds and maintains valuable transgenic mouse lines that are shared between project labs, generally for cell type–specific manipulation of local circuits, certain receptor-expressing cells, or long-range modulatory projections.
The Behavioral Optogenetics Core also prepares animals for straightforward experimental manipulation via viral injection (mostly of opsins, DREADDs, or fluorescent reporters such as GCaMP6) to significantly accelerate studies performed by project teams. The core is available to aid in troubleshooting as well as resource and reagent validation and replication across labs.
The benefit of these transgenic, viral, and optogenetic approaches is that they allow our researchers to perform intracellular recordings in awake and freely moving mice.
Finally, the Behavioral Optogenetics Core works with lab members across our teams to perform behavioral experiments. This work has been facilitated by incorporating this BRAIN Initiative Behavioral Optogenetics Core into the existing Rodent Behavior Laboratory at NYU Langone, augmenting the capabilities of that facility to enhance the scientific environment throughout the institution.
Data Science Core
The Data Science Core manages the analysis, archiving, and sharing of data as a way to streamline the reporting of our findings with the wider scientific community. Led by Alisa R. Surkis, PhD, MLS, a data librarian with a background in computational neuroscience, the Data Science Core ensures the management and stewardship of the datasets that are collected in our projects and by the other cores. These include behavioral data (short episodes and weeks-long movies), physiological recordings (in vivo and in vitro, whole-cell, and extracellular recordings), imaging (two-photon, confocal, and fiber photometry), and gene expression profiling.
Proteomic data are added to the Gene Expression Omnibus. Electrophysiology, imaging, and behavioral data files are shared through discipline-specific repositories (such as DANDI for electrophysiology data or Databrary for video recordings) and generalist repositories (such as Figshare), making use of disciplinary data standards such as Neurodata without Borders. The Data Science Core also provides training in statistical analysis in partnership with faculty from NYU Langone’s Division of Biostatistics, part of the Department of Population Health.
The Administrative Core assists with the integration of and communication between principal investigators and core facilities for the Oxytocin U19 BRAIN Initiative Grant. The Administrative Core is responsible for supporting training opportunities for scientists involved in the grant, developing initiatives to share the work being done as part of the grant, and serving as a principal contact for National Institutes of Health staff and other laboratories working on similar projects.
If you would like to learn more about this grant or are interested in a collaboration and have questions related to our publicly available resources, please contact Airena Yates-Merilus, senior program coordinator, at email@example.com.