Core Services

Neurobehavioral Evaluation Core

The mission of the Neurobehavioral Evaluation Core (NEC) is to provide the District of Columbia Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (DC-IDDRC) investigators with resources to link underlying biological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders with behavioral and cognitive outcomes as measured in humans and animal models.

DC-IDDRC investigators have access to robust platforms of state-of-the-art neurobehavioral assessment tools in humans and cognate animal models. The NEC is comprised of two complementary subcores: the Human Neurobehavior Core (HNEC), directed by Madison Berl, Ph.D., and the Animal Neurobehavior Core (ANEC) directed by Joshua Corbin, Ph.D.

Primary Objectives

The primary objectives of the NEC are to provide:

  • Overall vision, planning, training and implementation of human behavioral tasks and complementary behavioral assessments in cognate animal models of human neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • To develop, maintain and implement state of the art platforms and resources for human and animal neurobehavior investigation and across multiple animal models.
  • To collaborate and integrate with all DC-IDDRC cores to unravel neurobiological mechanisms from genes to circuits to behaviors underlying a host of neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • To facilitate the conduct of robust, reproducible and rigorous scientific investigation with a high impact on the field of neuroscience and neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • To disseminate findings broadly to the scientific and academic communities via publications, presentations and international conference forums.
  • To use the knowledge gained from human and animal behavior assessments to test and translate findings from the bench to the bedside. 


  • To define the consequences of IDDs on human neurobehavior and animal behavioral correlates. 
  • To expand and implement the use state-of-the-art technologies for human and animal behavior assessment.
  • To develop/identify longitudinal assessment paradigms that are sensitive to change in IDDs in humans and animal models and that will be critical for monitoring success of intervention studies.  

Provided Services and Technology

The HNEC subcore has over 80 measures to assess over 10 domains of human function. The ANEC subcore has over 20 animal assessments to test over seven animal behavior domains. Both the HNEC and ANEC provide investigators with training, access to technologies, behavioral measurement tools, assistance with planning, data interpretation and analyses, as well as directly conducting a number of tasks for investigators. Both subcores use state of the art technologies for assessment and data analyses.