a collaborative adventure
David Pittman, Ph.D.
Wofford College

John-Paul Baird, Ph.D.
Amherst College


gustatory behavioral analysis

Both the Baird and Pittman laboratories conduct brief-access behavioral tests using the MS-160 Davis Rig gustatory behavioral apparatus.
Pittman-Wofford Facility
At Wofford, an acoustic isolation chamber housing the Davis Rig contains air circulation fans, a white noise generator, and a web-based camera to allow observation of the animal during testing.

Pittman-Wofford Facility
The Davis Rig uses a customized computer program to control the presentation order of up to 16 stimuli, the time between each stimulus, and the length of the stimulus presentation while measuring the licking responses with 1 ms resolution.
Rat licks during trial (shutter open)
A rat waits for the shutter to open presenting a taste stimulus.

Rat waits for next trial (shutter closed)
The shutter in the open position allows access to one of sixteen bottle spouts.
View a video clip of a rat responding in the Davis Rig.
Baird-Amherst Facility
MS-160 set-up in Dr. Baird's Amherst facilities.

Baird-Amherst Facility
Animal samples a solution during testing in Dr. Baird's laboratory at Amherst

Both the Baird and Pittman laboratories use the AC-108 lickometer (manufactured by DiLog Instruments) to measure licking responses during long-term behavioral testing.

Pittman-Wofford Facility
The AC-108 is an 8-channel lickometer capable of recording the licking behavior of rats for up to 24 hours. The 8 lickometers can be installed in single cages allowing testing of a single solution for 8 rats at a time or the lickometers can be installed 2 per cage to allow 2-bottle data collection for 4 rats at a time. The time of each lick made by a rat is recorded with a 1 microsecond resolution. Custom software allows microanalysis of the licking behavior. The microanalysis can be used to identify licking behaviors associated with taste-mediated cues such as lick rate and number of licks within a burst or licking behaviors typically associated with post-ingestive cues such as licks per meal and meal durations. Both laboratories have identical AC-108 set-ups (Wofford is shown here).

View a video clip of a rat being tested in the AC-108.

  Pittman-Wofford Facility

Lickometer in action (yellow light indicates lick)

Pittman-Wofford Facility

surgery & histology facilities
Baird-Amherst FacilityPittman-Wofford FacilityBoth the Baird (Amherst shown left) and Pittman (Wofford shown right) laboratories have dedicated areas where students will perform surgery to implant central cannulas and post-mortem histological verification of the cannula placement.  These areas are also used to prepare chemical solutions and multiple computers available for conducting data analyses. 

electrophysiological recording laboratories  

Pittman-Wofford Facility

Pittman-Wofford Facility

Both laboratories at Amherst and at Wofford College have electrophysiological recording facilities.  Dr. Pittman's lab at Wofford (shown above) is primarily investigating peripheral gustatory neural coding in the chorda tympani nerve and geniculate ganglion.  Dr. Baird's lab at Amherst (shown below) focuses on recording gustatory signals in the central parabrachial nucleus (PBN).

Baird-Amherst FacilityEach electrophysiological recording set-up includes: a floating tabletop, homeothermic temperature regulation, cautery, air turbine drill, aspirator, surgical tools, dissecting scope with camera, microdrive manipulator, differential amplifier, micro1401 & spike digital acquisition system, a DELL CPU, 19" LCD screen with PIP for CPU & scope camera dual display, and custom stimulus delivery systems

Visit Dr. Pittman's Web Site 

  Visit Dr. Baird's Web Site

Site hosted by the laboratory of Dr. Dave Pittman
Associate Professor of Psychology, Wofford College
429 N. Church Street, Spartanburg, SC  29303

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Deafness And Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15DC012195. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.