About this Research Topic
Standardized laboratory studies are responsible for much of our progress in behavioral, physiological, and medical research. But these studies were only intended to study genetically- controlled answers to restricted questions in the absence of contexts. ‘Real world’ problems, on the other hand, are often influenced by the very contexts that are removed in standardized tests. Thus, the mismatch between laboratory trials and practice (e.g., bench-to-bedside gap) has increased to the point that some researchers are suggesting their fields are reaching a crisis.
For over 50 years now, researchers from a range of disciplines have been urging the use of alternative naturalistic models to support laboratory findings. These calls have mostly been limited to ‘piling on’ to pre-existing complaints about laboratory conditions or domesticated animals with homogenous gene pools. Consequently, there have been few suggestions as to how other researchers should go about creating naturalistic studies. Despite the increased level of urgency, rarely are field assays considered for their potential usefulness to support lab studies.
The purpose of this special topic is to bring together researchers from a range of disciplines from around the world to present their available field assays and discuss the limitations that must be improved upon in order to propose viable solutions for the longstanding conundrum. Researchers are welcome to submit virtual or simulated designs to provide an additional avenue to encourage more natural contexts into standardized trials. This interdisciplinary Research Topic led by researchers across Europe, Asia and North America, will be cross-listed in several Frontiers journals, and authors from as broad a geographic region as possible are welcome to submit their research, in order to recruit the most diverse and previously unexplored assays from a broad range of disciplines. It is expected that by exploiting these new research connections, we will increase our understanding of mechanisms to supplement or replace laboratory animals while addressing the growing crises.
This topic has the objective of highlighting innovative approaches by researchers of a broad range of disciplines (behavior, physiology, psychology, pharmacology, and medicine) that benefit from some combination of standardized laboratory trials, naturalistic field assays and/or semi-naturalistic field conditions. such as zoos or wildlife sanctuaries. For this topic, we are targeting original research, reviews, and methodological contributions, but our focus will be on identifying researchers who have innovative field techniques, particularly with small mammals that are geographically widespread, and exposing these fresh approaches and new uses of technology across disciplines.
Keywords: Bench-to-Bedside-Gap, Domesticated Laboratory Animals, Lab-to-Field Studies, Real-World Neuroscience, Translational Medicine
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.