The Scientific Core

The NMARC Scientific Core is a shared research resource that provides investigators with services, expertise and equipment that supports, enhances and integrates pre-clinical and clinical research to promote the common goals of the NMARC.  The Scientific core supports both Center Components and independently funded research project related to the NMARC Center's theme to expand the breadth of alcohol-focused research.

Kevin Caldwell

Dr. Kevin Caldwell, (KCaldwell@salud.unm.edu), Scientific Core Director

Scientific Core Mission:

  • Standardize and manage prenatal alcohol exposure models.
  • Facilitate research integration by allowing investigators to query relationships between their findings and those obtained in other research projects.
  • Support the development of new research and help implement novel, behavioral and alcohol exposure paradigms. 
  • Provide statistical support for all NMARC Center components. 
  • Provide opportunity for interaction among investigators through formal monthly Synergy Meetings.

Pre-Clinical Model Generation

The Scientific Core will produce and manage all pre-clinical research models prior to distribution to Center Investigators.  Scientific Core Staff maintains and tracks all environmental conditions, tracks all variables for models produced and maintains all relevant information in the NMARC Scientific Core database for future use.

Please contact Dr. Kevin Caldwell, (KCaldwell@salud.unm.edu), Scientific Core Director, for information regarding these services.

Pre-clinical Behavior Services

The Scientific Core manages a preclinical behavioral suite housing a variety of equipment for assessing behavior in pre-clinical models.  These behaviors include:

Learning and Memory Assessment

  • Fear Conditioning Paradigms (video recorded, blind scored)
  • Context Discrimination (video recorded, blind scored)
  • 8-way radial arm maze (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Morris Water Maze (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Y-maze olfactory discrimination (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Novel Object Recognition (automated tracking and scoring)

Mood-Anxiety and depression Assessments

  • Learned helplessness (video recorded, blind scored)
  • Forced Swim task (video recorded, blind scored)
  • Elevated plus maze (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Zero maze (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Startle response (automated scoring)
  • Social interaction (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Open field exploration (automated tracking and scoring)

Sensory and Motor Assessments

  • Pain threshold (blind scored)
  • Accelerating Rotarod (automated scoring)
  • Balance beam (blind scored)
  • Home cage behavior (automated tracking and scoring)
  • Prepulse inhibition (automated scoring)

Advanced Cognition/ Executive Control

  • Puzzle box (blind scored)
  • Attentional Set-Shifting (blind scored)
  • Acquisition, Extinction and Reinstatement of operant behavior (automated scoring)
  • Discrimination and Reversal Learning (automated scoring)

For access to the behavioral facility please contact:

Dr. Andrea Allan (aallan@salud.unm.edu) or Dr. Jonathan Brigman (jbrigman@salud.unm.edu).

Statistical Support Services

Preclinical

The NMARC Scientific Center Core uses SPSS and R as the primary computer analysis packages for statistical tests based on the general linear model, including univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA), univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), multivariate ANOVA and ANCOVA (MANOVA, MANCOVA) and multiple regression analyses.

For research design planning and statistical support contact:

Dr. Allan (aallan@salud.unm.edu) and Dr. Hamilton (dahamilt@unm.edu)

Clinical
For clinical studies requiring SAS based multivariate and principal component analyses, NMARC center participants are directed to biostatisticians who serve in the Design, Biostatistics and Clinical Research Ethics (DBE) Core which is part of the UNM HSC CTSC.  The NMARC Scientific Core will subsidize the costs related to the use of the DBE for Center Investigators. 


DBE web site: https://hsc.unm.edu/research/ctsc/biostatistics/index.html