The device constructed by Dr. He and his team, which can be used to conduct a variety of behavioral assessments, uses custom-made syringe pistons that push water through more than 100 feet of hydraulic tubing to open and close hundreds of small wooden doors. The team is able to control the position of these doors in order to create 25 different types of mazes—including a T-maze, a radial arm maze, a key maze, an elevated plus maze, an open field maze, and a light/dark maze—to test brain function and decision-making skills in mouse models. Preliminary data collection was done with five mice over a two-week period in order to calibrate the intricate device. Currently, Dr. He and his team are working with a cohort of 18 mice to test the device in the Neurodevelopmental Behavior Core at Boston Children’s Hospital, which was designed to test novel therapeutic drugs and interventions in mouse models of human neurological emergencies.


Dr. He’s device provides a potentially exciting new way to conduct preclinical testing for neurological emergencies, as it is expected to create efficiency, cost-saving, and simplicity for the dedicated clinician-researchers looking to change outcomes for patients who suffer neurological emergencies. Dr. He and his team will continue to collect and analyze data, and we look forward to updating you on their progress made possible by your generosity.