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Neuroscience Institute Core (NI Core)

Overview of Services

Neuroscience Institute Core (NI Core)

     The Neuroscience Institute Core consist of the Neuroscience Imaging Center and the Neuroscience Behavioral Core. Its mission is to provide service, training, and access to equipment for imaging and behavioral studies to faculty, staff, and graduate students at the University of Tennessee, as well as the Memphis research community and institutions nationwide.

     The Neuroscience Institute at UTHSC is a Neuroscience Center of Excellence, one of several Centers of Excellence established by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in 1985. The Neuroscience Institute supports the Neuroscience Institute Imaging Center and the Neuroscience Institute Behavioral Core. The Neuroscience Imaging Center provides access to advanced imaging equipment, as well training, experimental design, imaging services and data analysis. Areas offered include transmission electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, conventional fluorescent and light microscopy, and tissue preparation. The Neuroscience Institute Behavioral Core provides access to rodent behavioral testing equipment, as well as training and assistance with experimental design and data analysis.

Imaging Center Services
     • Sample preparation
     • Histology
     • Technical assistance

Imaging Center Equipment
     • Zeiss 980 Confocal
     • Zeiss 710 Confocal
     • Keyence BZ-X fluorescence
     • JEOL 2000
     • Cryostat
     • Ultramicrotome
     • Rotatory Microtome

Behavioral Core Equipment
Mouse behavioral testing equipment, including:
     • Operant chambers
     • Running-wheel system
     • Activity monitors
     • Startle/prepulse-inhibition chambers
     • Rope climb
     • Rotorod
     • Imaging station for water maze, elevated plus maze, circle maze, Y-maze, cross maze, light/dark, large open field, etc.
     • Discrimination chamber (tactile/olfactory discrimination, object recognition, social recognition/discrimination)
     • Ethanol sleep-time chambers
     • Grip strength meter
     • DigiGait automated gait analysis
     • Horizontal balance beam
     • Hot plate
     • Digital von Frey apparatus


Esther M. Marquez-Wilkins, Ph.D. Imaging Manager
Dr Michael McDonald Behavioral Core Director

Location and hours of operation

Hours/Days Open Hours/Days Staffed (if different)  
8:30 AM- 5:00PM/ Monday-Friday 8:30 AM-4:30 PM/ Monday -Friday  
8:00 AM- 5:00PM/ Monday-Friday    


Links and Resources

Neuroscience Imaging Core Website

Neuroscience Behavioral Core Website


Name Role Phone Email Location
Esther Marquez-Wilkins
Imaging Center Technical Manager

Brandi Reed
Neuroscience Institute Program Coordinator

Mike McDonald
Behavioral Core Director