Smith IDDRC - Biobehavioral Measument Core

The goal of the Biobehavioral Measurement Core (BMC) is to provide timely and cost-effective solutions to biobehavioral measurement problems encountered by KIDDRC investigators. Across the KIDDRC, behavioral measurement problems range from studies of transgenic mice to assessments of learning in at-risk children in pre-school environments. In providing solutions to these problems, BMC staff strive to fulfill five specific objectives:

  • Consult with investigators about problems and solutions relevant to research measurement.
  • Design effective solutions to research measurement problems.
  • Develop software and/or hardware to solve measurement problems.
  • Maintain hardware and software instruments used by MRDDRC investigators and other cores in support of research activities, and provide assistance where appropriate.
  • Inform, educate and train investigators regarding new measurement approaches and technologies.

The basic structure of the BMC revolves around four technology areas: measurement, mechanical engineering, electronics, and software development. Although these areas are named as separate entities for the sake of simplicity, in many instances these areas must be integrated to solve a measurement problem. For example, measurement of tremor in rodents requires an instrument that integrates mechanical, electronic, and software features (e.g., Fowler et al., 2001). This melding of technical domains should be kept in mind when the reader examines the BMC organizational chart. In particular, the Manager of the core is expected to be conversant in these domains of measurement and technical knowledge. The unique generative power of this core arises from its ability to join these areas together with the specific scientific expertise of a Center investigator to produce novel and effective biobehavioral measurement instruments. Of course, it is also the case that new measurement solutions emerge from the joining of computer technology (not requiring mechanical or electronic considerations) with expertise in behavioral science as illustrated by the software measurement creations of Dr. Greenwood and collaborators and described later in this narrative.

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