Research Involving Animals

Guideline Date: September 2017      Revision: 1     Last Review: August 2017

The University complies with all federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to the use of animals in its research and teaching programs, as well as by any other entities which utilize the University's program of animal care and use. Important aspects of compliance includes registration with the USDA-APHIS as a research facility (license 88-R-0005) and Animal Welfare Assurance #D16-00311 (A3500-01) on file with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare at the National Institutes of Health to verify our compliance with the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Through a federal interagency memorandum of understanding, the Assurance document also envelopes the scope of animal welfare compliance and reporting for NSF funded work. Importantly, federal rules dictate that work involving the offsite production of customized reagents (such as monoclonal antibodies), or custom surgical or genetically engineered strains of mice, rats, or other animals (such as transgenic, knock-in, or knock-out), can only be done at academic centers or private companies which have a PHS Animal Welfare Assurance of their own, if NIH or NSF funds are being used to pay for those services.  

The University is also fully accredited by the peer-review system of AAALAC International, with our initial accreditation achieved in 2007, and hosts triennial site visits by area experts to review our programs and facilities in detail. The primary standards used by AAALAC in its review are the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC, 2011) and the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching (FASS 2010), as well as a number of supplementary resources.  

To comply with its legal and ethical obligations to ensure that animal subjects used in research are treated humanely and in accordance with contemporary standards of care, all research, teaching and testing involving the use of live vertebrate animals must first be approved by the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Approval is documented when the Principal Investigator (PI) has received official notification by an official representative of the IACUC, and this requirement also holds for significant changes to ongoing studies. Please note that IACUC approval must be obtained before ordering and/or transferring of animals from another investigator or conducting field work that involves invasive procedures, harms, or materially alters the behavior of the animals under study. Many projects involve the sharing of strains of mice (incoming or outgoing) and those animals are generally defined as tangible research material which require a signed material transfer agreement prior to the transaction; this step is coordinated by the University's Sponsored Projects office.  

The University's IACUC uses a web-based version of the eSirius protocol management and animal order management software. The IACUC is comprised of faculty members from all animal user domains at the University, plus two non-affiliated public members and the attending veterinarian and the clinical veterinarian. In addition to reviewing protocols and amendments to protocols, the IACUC conducts semi-annual inspections of the animal facilities and laboratories where animals are used. A semi-annual review of the program elements which provide verification that all topics are properly covered is also done by the IACUC, and any concerns regarding the care and use of animals at the University may also be made to this committee without concern for reprisals.

The University's IACUC and Research & Innovation Animal Resources staff can assist PIs in complying with animal welfare regulations pertinent to their work. Individualized training is organized based upon the need, including assistance with the logistical support for non-standard housing or unusual research model features. The University's IACUC approved policies help provide investigator guidance in writing their animal use protocols within the framework of standards adapted by this campus and are available upon request.  

Prior to beginning a study involving live vertebrate animals, principal investigators should complete the following steps:

Who to Contact

Animal Resources

Additional Information