Advancing Tools for Systems Neuroscience


Significant progress in science often occurs because of the development of new technologies allowing for new questions and measurements, or significantly improving the efficiency of current approaches. Therefore, as part of our efforts to understand the mPFC-HC system in memory, we spend time significant time developing new tools. For example, we have developed alternative methods for stereotaxic surgical approaches in rodents and pigs (US Patents 9,707,049; 1,0251,722; and 10,492,882), and new data-driven analytical tools for electrophysiological mode analysis (Schultheiss et al., 2019, bioRxiv) . In addition, we make our resources freely-available to the academic research community because we support Open Science goals, such as through contributions to OpenBehavior.

RatHat: A new method for stereotaxic surgery

There has not been a major change in how neuroscientists approach stereotaxic methods in decades. We developed a new alternative stereotaxic method that improves on traditional approaches helping to reduce costs, surgical time, and aiding repeatability called the “RatHat” (Allen*, Jayachandran* et al., 2020, eNeuro).

The RatHat brain implantation system is a 3D-printable stereotaxic device for rats that is fabricated prior to surgery and fits to the shape of the skull. RatHat builds are directly implanted into the brain without the need for head-leveling or coordinate-mapping during surgery. The RatHat system can be used in conjunction with the traditional u-frame stereotaxic device, but does not require the use of a micromanipulator for successful implantations. RatHat print files are easily created, can be modified in CAD software for a variety of applications, and are easily shared, contributing to open science goals and replications. The RatHat system has been adapted to multiple experimental paradigms in our lab and should be a useful new way to conduct stereotaxic implant surgeries in rodents.

RatHat builds are freely available to academic researchers, achieving open science goals. Academic researchers interested in receiving the 3D files (editable and printable) can contact We will first provide you a license to be executed by your institution, and upon completion, 3D files of the implant system.

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