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: Antidepressant use during pregnancy leads to less detailed investigation strategies in novel environments in the offspring.

Antidepressant treatment is often used for pregnant women who are depressed. Although the treatment with fluoxetine is generally safe and can be necessary to lessen the effects of depression, the drug could still have damaging long-term effects on the children of these mothers. Previously, we have found that adult rats behave differently when their mothers were given fluoxetine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Social behavior, coping with stress, but also prosocial behavior are types of behavior that appear to be changed. In the current study, we found that the children also use a different investigation strategies when exploring a novel (and thus stressful) environment. The findings are published in the journal Psychopharmacology.


Patty Huijgens earned her PhD

Tuesday September 7th marked the end of an era. After years of hard work, Patty Huijgens succesfully defended her PhD thesis entitled "Organization and orchestration of male rat sexual behavior". Professor Juan Dominguez of University of Texas and dr. Susana Lima of the Champalimaud Centre of the Unknown acted as opponents and their engaging discussions allowed then-candidate Patty to show the bredth and depth of her scientific knowledge.For parts of her thesis, Patty traveled to Utrecht in the Netherlands and Minneapolis in the US to perform experiments. Back in Tromsø, she will first stay in our group as postdoc, after which she will start her independent research line as a researcher.


New paper: the pauses during sex

In Snoerenlab, we are very passionate about studying animal behavior in great depth. In our opinion, a thorough understanding of the patterns and structures of complex behavior, such as sexual behavior, is absolutely necessary for the formation of new hypotheses about how the brain regulates the behavior. In the recent decades, many new methods have been developed to study and manipulate the activity of neurons in specific brain regions. The description and analysis of behavioral results in studies using these techniques are often oversimplified. This leads to many missed opportunities in advancing our understanding of the relation between the brain and behavior. Therefore, we decided it was time to up the game for studies of sexual behavior in male rats, focusing on the behavioral organization of the pauses during sex in our latest paper which is now published in Behavioural Processes.



The group:
Eelke Snoeren Group Leader
James McCutcheon Professor
Roy Heijkoop Head engineer
Patty Huijgens Postdoc
Jaume Ferrer Lalanza Postdoc
Linnea Volcko Postdoc
Mette Kongstorp Postdoc
Susana Valente Postdoc
Hamid Taghipourbibalan PhD student
John Oyem PhD student
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