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Extending WAAVES+: An animal and environment-agnostic, automated USV scoring platform for high-throughput social, behavioral, and neuropharmacological studies

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41MH121119-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41MH121119
Amount: $906,384.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 101
Solicitation Number: PA18-579
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-07-31
Small Business Information
2750 INDIAN RIPPLE RD
Dayton, OH 45440-3638
United States
DUNS: 130020209
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 RYAN SNYDER
 (937) 320-1877
 snyderrd@crgrp.com
Business Contact
 CHRISTOPHER HEMMELGARN
Phone: (937) 296-0154
Email: hemmelgarncd@crgrp.com
Research Institution
 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN
 
3925 WEST BRAKER LANE, SUITE 3.340
AUSTIN, TX 78759-5316
United States

 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract

Project SummaryUltrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are known to reflect emotional processing, brain neurochemistry and brain
function - key observations in animal model studies. Collecting and processing USV data is time-intensive,
manual, and costly. Most importantly, it limits researchers’ ability to employ fully effective, and nuanced
experimental designs, and is a barrier to entry for other researchers. Automated tabulation of rodent
vocalization data would reduce cost and enable researchers to fully explore mechanisms through multi-hour,
multi-session studies. Addressing this limitation will enhance the efficiency of research and could accelerate
new mental health advancements.Our overall goal is to serve a community-wide need for superior, automated USV scoring - alleviating the
manual burden of USV analyses while facilitating and enhancing rodent- and mouse-based emotional
processing research. Our specific objectives are to (a) develop an environment-agnostic, automated USV
scoring tool that works “out-of-the-box” without extensive tailoring or environment-specific training sets; (b)
automate call classification and expand the parameterization of acoustic properties to provide researchers with
additional data for investigating significant and behaviorally-relevant outcomes.This work will eliminate the cost and time barrier associated with USV-based research while simultaneously
expanding the quantity of relevant data. We conservatively estimate an annual cost savings in the $100Ks, if
not $1Ms. This work will form the foundation of a product that will enhance research throughput, reduce
treatment development time and cost, and allow researchers to design and implement more complex
experimental designs accelerating advancements addressing mental health disorders.Project NarrativeUltrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are known to reflect emotional processing, brain neurochemistry and
brain function - key observations in animal model studies; however, collecting and processing USV data is
time-intensive, manual, and costly. Our overall goal is to serve a community-wide need for superior, automated
USV scoring - alleviating the manual burden of USV analyses while facilitating and enhancing rodent- and
mouse-based emotional processing research for cost-effective, high-throughput social, behavioral, and
neuropharmacological studies impacting wide-ranging research including mental health.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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