Dr. Jamie Ahloy Dallaire received his B.Sc. in Biology from McGill University (2004-2007), in Montréal, Québec, then went on to study fundamental and applied ethology with Dr. Georgia Mason at the University of Guelph, in Ontario. There, his M.Sc. work (2008-2011) pertained to abnormal repetitive behaviors, environmental enrichment, and animal welfare in American mink and in Asiatic black bears. In his doctoral research (2011-2015), Dr. Ahloy Dallaire studied the developmental effects and evolutionary functions of play in mink and in lambs. Since 2015, he has been working on automated behavioral assessment of pain in laboratory mice, with Dr. Joseph Garner in the Department of Comparative Medicine at Stanford University. Since 2017, he has additionally been working on barbering and ulcerative dermatitis in laboratory mice as models of trichotillomania and skin-picking disorder, and planning a first-in-human clinical trial of a therapeutic candidate in collaboration with UCLA clinician researchers. He also frequently collaborates with animal researchers and clinical scientists on aspects of experimental design and statistical analysis, to help them conduct powerful and informative experiments.

In terms of fundamental ethology, Dr. Ahloy Dallaire's research interests include animal play as well as using behavior to assess emotions, motivation, and welfare in animals. In particular, he is fascinated by the long-standing question of why a behavior so seemingly frivolous as play was selected and maintained by evolution. His research on mink suggests that, at least for this species, rough-and-tumble play in young animals may serve as crucial preparation for adult sexual behavior. In terms of applied ethology, Dr. Ahloy Dallaire's current work aims to decrease the negative impacts of biomedical research on laboratory animal welfare, and to deliver better outcomes for human patients through improved research. He believes that good welfare makes for good science, and that these two goals can be achieved in conjunction through a focus on the 3Rs (h

Dr. Ahloy Dallaire's work has been recognized with awards from organizations including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. He has presented his work at meetings of the Animal Behavior Society, the International Ethological Congress, the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, the International Society for Applied Ethology, and the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. His research has been published in journals such as Animal Behaviour, PLoS One, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Behavioural Brain Research, Lab Animal, and Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Honors & Awards

  • Early Career Award, The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (2018)
  • Foundation Grant - Effects of corncob bedding on aggressive behavior in male laboratory mice, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (2018)
  • International 3Rs Prize (Highly Commended) - Walker et al. 2016 BMC Med Res Methodol article, National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (2017)
  • Final nominee for the CAGS/Proquest-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award, University of Guelph (2016)
  • Final nominee for the University of Guelph Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, Ontario Agricultural College (2016)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2014)
  • Gartshore Memorial Sheep Research Fund, University of Guelph (2013-2014)
  • Arlen Kerr Memorial Scholarship, Canada Mink Breeders Association (2013)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2013)
  • Animal Welfare Student Scholarship, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (2012)
  • Arlen Kerr Memorial Scholarship, Canada Mink Breeders Association (2012)
  • Canada Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (2011-2013)
  • Animal Welfare Student Scholarship, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (2010)
  • Care-a-thon Animal Welfare Research Scholarship, Ontario Veterinary College (2009)
  • Dean's Tri-Council Scholarship, University of Guelph (2008-2012)
  • Post-Graduate Scholarship (Master's), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (2008-2010)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, International Society for Applied Ethology (2010 - Present)
  • Member, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (2015 - Present)
  • Member, Stanford Medicine Teaching and Mentoring Academy (2016 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Guelph (2015)
  • Master of Science, University of Guelph (2011)
  • Bachelor of Science, McGill University (2007)

Stanford Advisors

Research & Scholarship


  • Body-focused repetitive behaviors and their treatment in mice and in humans, Stanford University (7/1/2017)


    Stanford, CA

  • Patient-controlled analgesia: assessing pain in mice the same way we do in humans, Stanford University (2/1/2015 - Present)


    Stanford, CA

  • Functions and developmental benefits of play in American mink and in domestic lambs, University of Guelph (2011 - 2015)


    Guelph, Ontario, Canada

  • Environmental enrichment and reduction of stereotypic behavior in captive American mink, University of Guelph (2008 - 2010)


    Guelph, Ontario, Canada

  • Enrichment use by physically disabled former bile bears at the Animals Asia Sichuan Longqiao Black Bear Rescue Centre, University of Guelph / Animals Asia (2010 - 2010)


    Chengdu, Sichuan, China


All Publications

  • Play and optimal welfare: Does play indicate the presence of positive affective states? Behavioural Processes Ahloy-Dallaire, J., Espinosa, J., Mason, G. 2018; in press
  • Juvenile rough-and-tumble play predicts adult sexual behavior in American mink ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR Ahloy Dallaire, J., Mason, G. 2017; 123: 81-89
  • Aggression in group housed laboratory mice: why can’t we solve the problem? LAB ANIMAL Weber, E. M., Ahloy Dallaire, J., Gaskill, B. N., Pritchett-Corning, K. R., Garner, J. P. 2017; 46 (157-161)

    View details for DOI 10.1038/laban.1219

  • Mixed-strain housing for female C57BL/6, DBA/2, and BALB/c mice: validating a split-plot design that promotes refinement and reduction BMC MEDICAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Walker, M., Fureix, C., Palme, R., Newman, J. A., Dallaire, J. A., Mason, G. 2016; 16


    Inefficient experimental designs are common in animal-based biomedical research, wasting resources and potentially leading to unreplicable results. Here we illustrate the intrinsic statistical power of split-plot designs, wherein three or more sub-units (e.g. individual subjects) differing in a variable of interest (e.g. genotype) share an experimental unit (e.g. a cage or litter) to which a treatment is applied (e.g. a drug, diet, or cage manipulation). We also empirically validate one example of such a design, mixing different mouse strains -- C57BL/6, DBA/2, and BALB/c -- within cages varying in degree of enrichment. As well as boosting statistical power, no other manipulations are needed for individual identification if co-housed strains are differentially pigmented, so also sparing mice from stressful marking procedures.The validation involved housing 240 females from weaning to 5 months of age in single- or mixed- strain trios, in cages allocated to enriched or standard treatments. Mice were screened for a range of 26 commonly-measured behavioural, physiological and haematological variables.Living in mixed-strain trios did not compromise mouse welfare (assessed via corticosterone metabolite output, stereotypic behaviour, signs of aggression, and other variables). It also did not alter the direction or magnitude of any strain- or enrichment-typical difference across the 26 measured variables, or increase variance in the data: indeed variance was significantly decreased by mixed- strain housing. Furthermore, using Monte Carlo simulations to quantify the statistical power benefits of this approach over a conventional design demonstrated that for our effect sizes, the split- plot design would require significantly fewer mice (under half in most cases) to achieve a power of 80%.Mixed-strain housing allows several strains to be tested at once, and potentially refines traditional marking practices for research mice. Furthermore, it dramatically illustrates the enhanced statistical power of split-plot designs, allowing many fewer animals to be used. More powerful designs can also increase the chances of replicable findings, and increase the ability of small-scale studies to yield significant results. Using mixed-strain housing for female C57BL/6, DBA/2 and BALB/c mice is therefore an effective, efficient way to promote both refinement and the reduction of animal-use in research.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12874-016-0113-7

    View details for Web of Science ID 000368654200001

    View details for PubMedID 26817696

  • Play in juvenile mink: litter effects, stability over time, and motivational heterogeneity DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY Ahloy Dallaire, J., Mason, G. J. 2016; 58 (8): 945-957

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dev.21425

  • Plastic animals in cages: behavioural flexibility and responses to captivity ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR Mason, G., Burn, C. C., Dallaire, J. A., Kroshko, J., Kinkaid, H. M., Jeschke, J. M. 2013; 85 (5): 1113-1126
  • Individual differences in stereotypic behaviour predict individual differences in the nature and degree of enrichment use in caged American mink APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR SCIENCE Dallaire, J. A., Meagher, R. K., Mason, G. J. 2012; 142 (1-2): 98-108
  • Recurrent perseveration correlates with abnormal repetitive locomotion in adult mink but is not reduced by environmental enrichment BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH Dallaire, J. A., Meagher, R. K., Diez-Leon, M., Garner, J. P., Mason, G. J. 2011; 224 (2): 213-222


    We analysed the relationship between abnormal repetitive behaviour (ARB), the presence/absence of environmental enrichment, and two types of behavioural disinhibition in farmed American mink, Neovison vison. The first type, recurrent perseveration, the inappropriate repetition of already completed responses, was assessed using three indices of excessive response repetition and patterning in a bias-corrected serial two-choice guessing task. The second type, disinhibition of prepotent responses to reward cues, a form of impulsivity, was tested in a locomotive detour task adapted from primate reaching tasks: subjects were required to walk around, rather than directly into, a transparent barrier behind which food was visible. In older adult females, recurrent perseveration positively predicted pre-feeding abnormal repetitive locomotion (ARL) in Non-enriched housing. High-ARL subjects also performed repeated (same-choice) responses more rapidly than low-ARL animals, even when statistically controlling for alternated (different-choice) response latency. Mink performed much less ARL following transfer to Enriched housing, but there was no corresponding change in recurrent perseveration. Thus, elevated recurrent perseveration is not sufficient for frequent ARL; and while captive environments do determine ARL frequency, in mink, they do not necessarily do so by modifying levels of perseveration. Disinhibition of prepotent responses to reward cues, meanwhile, did not predict ARL. In a separate sample of differentially housed young adults, neither type of behavioural disinhibition predicted ARL, and again, whether or not housing was enriched did not affect behavioural disinhibition despite affecting ARL. Thus, the relationship between recurrent perseveration and ARB may only develop with age; longitudinal studies are now required for confirmation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.061

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294795600001

    View details for PubMedID 21466825

  • Plasma anandamide concentrations are lower in children with autism spectrum disorder MOLECULAR AUTISM Karhson, D. S., Krasinska, K. M., Dallaire, J., Libove, R. A., Phillips, J. M., Chien, A. S., Garner, J. P., Hardan, A. Y., Parker, K. J. 2018; 9: 18


    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by restricted, stereotyped behaviors and impairments in social communication. Although the underlying biological mechanisms of ASD remain poorly understood, recent preclinical research has implicated the endogenous cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid), anandamide, as a significant neuromodulator in rodent models of ASD. Despite this promising preclinical evidence, no clinical studies to date have tested whether endocannabinoids are dysregulated in individuals with ASD. Here, we addressed this critical gap in knowledge by optimizing liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methodology to quantitatively analyze anandamide concentrations in banked blood samples collected from a cohort of children with and without ASD (N = 112).Anandamide concentrations significantly differentiated ASD cases (N = 59) from controls (N = 53), such that children with lower anandamide concentrations were more likely to have ASD (p = 0.041). In keeping with this notion, anandamide concentrations were also significantly lower in ASD compared to control children (p = 0.034).These findings are the first empirical human data to translate preclinical rodent findings to confirm a link between plasma anandamide concentrations in children with ASD. Although preliminary, these data suggest that impaired anandamide signaling may be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13229-018-0203-y

    View details for Web of Science ID 000427704800001

    View details for PubMedID 29564080

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5848550

  • Introducing Therioepistemology: The study of how knowledge is gained from animal research LAB ANIMAL Garner, J. P., Gaskill, B. N., Weber, E. M., Ahloy-Dallaire, J., Pritchett-Corning, K. R. 2017; 46 (103-113)

    View details for DOI 10.1038/laban.1224

  • Benefits of a ball and chain: simple environmental enrichments improve welfare and reproductive success in farmed American mink (Neovison vison). PloS one Meagher, R. K., Ahloy Dallaire, J., Campbell, D. L., Ross, M., Møller, S. H., Hansen, S. W., Díez-León, M., Palme, R., Mason, G. J. 2014; 9 (11)


    Can simple enrichments enhance caged mink welfare? Pilot data from 756 sub-adults spanning three colour-types (strains) identified potentially practical enrichments, and suggested beneficial effects on temperament and fur-chewing. Our main experiment started with 2032 Black mink on three farms: from each of 508 families, one juvenile male-female pair was enriched (E) with two balls and a hanging plastic chain or length of hose, while a second pair was left as a non-enriched (NE) control. At 8 months, more than half the subjects were killed for pelts, and 302 new females were recruited (half enriched: 'late E'). Several signs of improved welfare or productivity emerged. Access to enrichment increased play in juveniles. E mink were calmer (less aggressive in temperament tests; quieter when handled; less fearful, if male), and less likely to fur-chew, although other stereotypic behaviours were not reduced. On one farm, E females had lower cortisol (inferred from faecal metabolites). E males tended to copulate for longer. E females also weaned more offspring: about 10% more juveniles per E female, primarily caused by reduced rates of barrenness ('late E' females also giving birth to bigger litters on one farm), effects that our data cautiously suggest were partly mediated by reduced inactivity and changes in temperament. Pelt quality seemed unaffected, but E animals had cleaner cages. In a subsidiary side-study using 368 mink of a second colour-type ('Demis'), similar temperament effects emerged, and while E did not reduce fur-chewing or improve reproductive success in this colour-type, E animals were judged to have better pelts. Overall, simple enrichments were thus beneficial. These findings should encourage welfare improvements on fur farms (which house 60-70 million mink p.a.) and in breeding centres where endangered mustelids (e.g. black-footed ferrets) often reproduce poorly. They should also stimulate future research into more effective practical enrichments.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0110589

    View details for PubMedID 25386726

  • Sleeping tight or hiding in fright? The welfare implications of different subtypes of inactivity in mink APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR SCIENCE Meagher, R. K., Campbell, D. L., Dallaire, J. A., Diez-Leon, M., Palme, R., Mason, G. J. 2013; 144 (3-4): 138-146
  • Environmentally enriched rearing environments reduce repetitive perseveration in caged mink, but increase spontaneous alternation BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH Campbell, D. L., Dallaire, J. A., Mason, G. J. 2013; 239: 177-187


    Studies spanning 15 species (including American mink, Neovison vison) demonstrate that within similarly-housed populations, individuals displaying high levels of stereotypic behaviour (SB) typically show perseverative responding (e.g. during set-shifting, or reversal/extinction learning). Similar correlations in autism and schizophrenia suggest this indicates captivity-induced cortico-striatal circuit dysfunction. However, this pattern does not prove developmental impairment: SB, perseveration and their inter-correlations also occur in normal humans. We therefore differentially-reared enriched versus non-enriched mink to investigate whether treatments that exacerbate SB correspondingly increase perseveration (Study 1). Enriched-rearing did reduce SB and perseverative response repetition (in two-choice guessing tasks), while increasing spontaneous alternation: a strategy yielding more rewards, and suggesting enhanced hippocampal development. This complements previous research demonstrating cortical/hippocampal impairments and reduced behavioural flexibility in non-enriched animals, with implications for research animals and wild animals captive-raised for reintroduction into nature. Consistent with previous data, highly stereotypic subjects repeated guessing task responses most rapidly, suggesting disinhibition during repetition. However, unexpectedly, SB and perseveration did not co-vary across individuals. We therefore suggest that behavioural changes manifest as increased perseveration are important but do not fully explain captive animals' SBs, possible reasons including the contributory role of differential motivations for underlying source behaviours. Re-analyses of old data (Study 2) confirmed that spontaneous alternation is profitable; and demonstrated that the precise methods used for quantifying perseveration and SB can modify the strength of apparent relationships between them, as can statistically controlling for feeding motivation: as predicted, partialling out motivational effects increased the variance in SB predicted by perseveration.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.11.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314146600022

    View details for PubMedID 23159704

  • Activity and enrichment use in disabled Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) rescued from bile farms Animal Welfare Dallaire, J. A., Field, N., Mason, G. J. 2012; 21 (2): 167-176
  • Middle-aged mice with enrichment-resistant stereotypic behaviour show reduced motivation for enrichment ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR Tilly, S. C., Dallaire, J., Mason, G. J. 2010; 80 (3): 363-373
  • Murid stress odours: a review and a ‘low tech’ method of collection Animal Welfare Mason, G. J., Dallaire, J., Ware, N. 2009; 18 (3): 301-310