The Animal Behaviour and Physiology Core facility was established in 2009 and provides a state-of-the-art facility equipped to serve as a time-efficient and cost-effective service for researchers in need of mouse and rat behavioural analyses.

Advisory Committee mandate

To advise the Director and Facility Manager on all operational and management aspects of the Behaviour Core Facility including usage, equipment, fee structure, financial viability, facility management, and planning activities to ensure sustainability.

Your feedback is always appreciated and welcome.



Stephen Ferguson, PhD
Dr. Ferguson’s research is focused on the functional regulation and activity of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) as a consequence of their interactions with other proteins expressed inside and outside of the cell and how these interactions regulate both normal pathological cell signaling.  His current research efforts are primarily focused on the role of metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling in Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, the regulation of serotonin receptor activity by corticotrophin releasing factor receptors in response stress with a goal of understanding the effect stress has on anxiety and depression behaviours, as well as understanding the molecular changes in GPCR signaling associated with hypertension.


Kerstin Ure, PhD
Kerstin was born in the United States and completed her PhD and postdoctoral work in neuroscience in Texas.  She is fascinated by genetic and neural underpinnings of childhood neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly Rett syndrome and autism.  She has published papers in NeuronNature NeuroscienceeLife, and Journal of Neuroscience.  Kerstin loves assisting labs with developing new projects and interpreting their data and training the next generation of behaviourists.  When not at the Core, she can be found testing new baking recipes and playing Assassin's Creed poorly.


Sarah Kealey
Sarah was born in Montreal and grew up in Orleans in Ottawa’s East End. She graduated from Carleton University in 2018 with a B.Sc. in Neuroscience and Biology Combined Honors. Sarah is interested in psychology, the brain, and learning how the intricate systems of the body function. She is a passionate advocate for animal welfare in her work and loves that her job involves working with animals. She is also a creative thinker and talented engineer. Her favorite part of her job is solving problems with equipment or computers using only common lab equipment and the internet. In her free time, you can find Sarah advocating for climate and disability justice or playing clarinet in the Ottawa New Horizons Band.


Katherine Tacay
Katherine Tacay was born and raised in the Philippines, where she studied Veterinary Medicine for 2 years. After arriving in Ottawa, she completed her Veterinary Assistant degree at Algonquin College. She has worked with the Ottawa Humane Society and has volunteered extensively at Little Ray’s Reptiles, working with reptiles and other exotic animals like the sloth and lynx. Katherine has a passion for taking good care of animals and is comfortable working with any kind of animal, especially exotic ones. She loves learning new things and getting out of her comfort zone to build her expertise and skill base. Her 3 years with the Behaviour Core has taught her a lot about research animals and the importance of animal research, and she has quickly become an expert in mice and rat behaviour testing. When not testing, Katherine is involved in a Young Professional Community and is passionate about music and media ministry.

Scientific Advisory Committee

Chair (Director)Dr. Stephen Ferguson
BMI RepresentativeDr. Mary-Ellen Harper
CMM RepresentativeDr. Maxime Rousseaux
OHRI RepresentativeDr. Paul Albert
Faculty of Health Sciences RepresentativeDr. Yan Burelle
CHEO RepresentativeDr. Kyle Cowan
ACVS RepresentativeDr. Holly Orlando
ISS RepresentativeSean Geddes
Advisor and Former DirectorDr. Diane Lagace
Core ManagerDr. Kerstin Ure

Contact us

Faculty of Medicine Animal Behaviour and Physiology Core

Room 2538, Roger Guindon Hall (RGH),
451 Smyth Road,
Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada

Office: 613-562-5800 Ext: 8621
Manager: Kerstin Ure, PhD
Email: [email protected]