Roland the One-Eyed Wonder Rat

Having, for some unfathomable reason (being a group of one: group leader, postdoc, technician, dogsbody), been invited into our select ‘P.I. Forum’, which meets monthly to discuss grant ideas on a rotating basis, I was this morning reminded of Benny Hill, who’s buried just across the road from here. My colleague was describing the afflicted gait of rats following inflicted nerve damage. This is assessed by transferring the rat to another, empty, cage, separated from its own cage by a beam walkway. When the cage doors are opened, the rat will walk across the beam in order to get back to its own ‘home’. The effects of the nerve damage are assessed by observing the rear limbs; specifically, the angle of the feet to the top of the leg (or something like that), the disruption of which results in a less “elegant” walk, which improves over time as the nerves regenerate.

So, in explanation, we were treated to images of the rat, viewed from the temporary cage as it determinedly traversed the beam towards home, with its tail in the air. Who said science is dull?

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