Animal Behavior Phenotyping Facility (ABPF)

The Animal Behavior Phenotyping Facility (ABPF) provides a broad spectrum of state-of-the-art behavioral tools to characterize novel animal models of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The behavioral diagnostic includes measures of cognition, exploratory behavior, social interaction, motivation, anxiety-related behavior, and motor performance. To complement the classical tests (such as water maze, elevated plus maze, and open field), we are heavily engaged in developing and implementing novel tools that monitor rodent behavior, with a focus on increasing ethological relevance, attention to social interactions, and high-throughput capacity.

Services Offered

Full service package

All behavior phenotyping tests will be performed and analysed by ABPF staff. At the end of the study, ABPF will provide all raw data, analysed results, and necessary documents as a final project report and present the result at a final project meeting if desired. 

Training service package

All behavior phenotyping tests will be performed by staff from your own group after training in the experimental procedures by ABPF staff. Analysis of the data can be performed either by your or ABPF staff. At the end of the study, ABPF will provide all raw data and necessary documents. 

Minimum service package

All behavior phenotyping tests will be performed and analysed by staff from your own group after introduction. At the end of the study, ABPF will provide all raw data and necessary documents as a raw project report.

Please note: Only persons who have received equipment-specific training and are included on the official documents are authorized to work in the ABPF.


Working memory, reference memory with spatial and non-spatial components

Barnes maze
Water maze
Open field for object recognition

Exploratory and species-specific behaviour

Video automated detection of behavior
Hole board
Open field
24h/7d Activity monitor (in home cage)
Nest building cages
Burrowing test
Marble burying test

Motor functions

Beam walking
Grip strength meter
Reaching grasping test
Automated motoric battery of tests

Social interaction

3-partite chamber
Sociability cage
Resident intruder test
Tube test

Associative learning and memory

Shuttle boxes for active/passive avoidance
Conditioned place preference box
Contextual and cued fear conditioning box
Shuttle boxes for latent inhibition test
Shuttle boxes for pre pulse inhibition test
Skinner boxes

Anxiety-related behavior and emotion

Elevated plus maze
Elevated zero maze
Light/dark box
Tail suspension
Sucrose preference test

Neurological and sensory functions

Acoustic and tactile startle box
Plantar test
Tail flick test
Hot plate
Von Frey system
Visual cliff
Habituation/dishabituation olfactory test
SHIRPA: General Health Screening

FEM Animal Housing

The Animal Behavior Phenotyping Facility uses the animal housing unit of the Forschungseinrichtungen für Experimentelle Medizin (FEM) at the Charité Campus Mitte.
For further information about animal housing conditions and animal welfare, please refer to the following web pages:

How to initiate a project

Project initiation

To initiate a behavioral phenotyping experiment with the ABPF, please download and submit the ABPF Project initiation form to ABPF.

The following information is required before the project initiation meeting:

  1. Background information about your research group (i.e. group leader, project supervisor and current affiliation, as well as other individuals involved in the project). The names and positions of the responsible people communicating with the ABPF.
  2. Background information on the planned behavioral phenotyping project. The hypotheses you would like to test, any ideas about behavioral diagnostics you may already have, the time frame and the animals involved (species, strain, manipulation).
You may include PDFs of relevant publications (from yourself and others) relating to the background of your research.
  3. Information about a relevant animal experimentation license (e.g. LaGeSo) and S1 genetic organism documentation (e.g. Dokumentationsblatt für Gentechnik; if genetically modified animals are planned for use).
Please note that the official language of the ABPF is English.

Once we receive this document, we will contact you to arrange a meeting and discuss possibilities and ideas for a behavioral phenotyping project or collaboration.
At this meeting, we will consult on scientific background and rationale, appropriate age, strain and number of animals, and the most appropriate tests to be used. These tests must be incorporated into your animal welfare request forms. All documents should be completed well in advance of the start of the experimental part.
Once approval for all testing is granted, mice will arrive in the CCO FEM facility, and will be moved to the adjacent ABPF facility for acclimation and behavioral testing. All mice undergo a general health screen.
Workgroups are responsible for collecting their animals after finishing the behavioral assessments.