SoundsGood! – An integrated platform for studying ultrasonic vocalizations in rodent models for brain disorders.
Modeling human mental disorders in rodents is an extremely daunting challenge, given the subjective nature of many symptoms, the lack of relevant biomarkers and objective diagnostic tools, together with the early state of the pertinent neurobiology and genetics. The identification of new therapeutic targets is at a near standstill. We are convinced that a deeper understanding of the natural rodent behavior repertoire and its relevance for modeling human mental disorders is needed to overcome current limitations of translational research. We need to listen to our animal models. Therefore, we will establish an integrated platform for studying ultrasonic vocalizations in rodent models for brain disorders (SoundsGood!). The platform SoundsGood! will integrate multiple pieces of equipment that together allow the quantitative assessment of socio-affective communication through ultrasonic vocalizations in sender and receiver. SoundsGood! will include (1) the upgrade of existing behavioral assays together with the integration of ultrasound recording, (2) new behavioral assays for ultrasound recording and playback, and will be supplemented with (3) tools andcomputing power needed for in-house implementation and development of computational methods for sound analysis. SoundsGood! will help to refine biomedical research.