Behavioral and translational neuroscience

Using a combination of traditional behavioral testing, modern manipulation methods, and advanced imaging, our research mainly focuses on the neurobiological basis of behavior, both in physiological and pathological circumstances.

Our research group consists of researchers with a variety of backgrounds. Since summer 2019, the group consists of two teams: Snoerenlab and McCutcheonlab.


New paper: Rat ultrasonic vocalizations and novelty-induced social and non-social investigation behavior in a seminatural environment

Babies cry, dogs bark, horses neigh and birds sing. Every animal makes its own sounds which can serve different functions. Babies might cry because they are hungry and want attention from their mothers, dogs bark to communicate they want to play or to warn for intruders, and birds sing to attract a mate partner. Rats also make sounds, and some of these sounds, ultrasonic vocalizations, are sounds that we as humans cannot hear. In our latest study, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, we investigated the role of these vocalizations in more detail: do silent rats behave differently or similarly to vocalizing rats when we put them in a seminatural environment with multiple unfamiliar rats?


New paper: Distracting stimuli evoke neural responses in rats during ongoing saccharin consumption

Why do we sometimes get distracted by things around us and what is happening in the brain when this happens? Distractions are a way of pausing what we are doing to check whether something important is occurring in our environment. In an animal like a rat this might mean being alert to potential threats (eg predators) even while in the middle of a meal.


New paper: Cafeteria diet as model to study excessive junk food consumption

Junk food is both appetizing and consists of high-energy nutrients, which is why the consumption of junk food plays a central role in weight gain, obesity and the associated health risks.  To study the effects of junk food on different on different aspects of health, researchers have to use standardized diets, very often in animal models. The Cafeteria (CAF) diet model for animal experiments consists of the same tasty but unhealthy food products that people eat (e.g. hot dogs and muffins), and considers variety, novelty and secondary food features, such as smell and texture. This model, therefore, mimics human eating patterns better than other models.



The group:
Eelke Snoeren Group Leader
James McCutcheon Professor
Roy Heijkoop Head engineer
Patty Huijgens PhD student
Jaume Ferrer Lalanza Postdoc
Linnea Volcko Postdoc
Mette Kongstorp Postdoc
Geed Assadi Staff engineer
Håkon Nestvold Staff engineer
Former members
Bernd Coester Guest PhD
Indrek Heinla Postdoc
Jesper Solheim Johansen Profesjonstudent
Ole Christian Sylte Profesjonstudent
Jasmin Wilhelmsen Bachelor student
Aslaug Angelsen Bachelor student
Thor-Arne Sørlie Bachelor student
Jan Hegstad M. Psych.
Bjørn Skagen M. Psych.
Danielle Houwing Guest PhD