Overview of The IACUC
Each institution that receives NIH support for activities involving vertebrate animals or is subject to the authority of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) must operate an animal care and use program with clear lines of authority and responsibility. The program must include a properly constituted and functioning Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
By law, the IACUC reports to the Institutional Officer (IO), who bears ultimate responsibility for the Animal Care and Use Program. At TJU, the IO is Dr. Theordore Taraschi, Vice President of Research.
The Secretary shall require that each research facility establish at least one Committee. Each Committee shall be appointed by the chief executive officer of each such research facility and shall be composed of not fewer than three members. Such members shall possess sufficient ability to assess animal care, treatment, and practices in experimental research as determined by the needs of the research facility and shall represent society's concerns regarding the welfare of animal subjects used at such facility.
– Animal Welfare Act, Section 2143
The IACUC has a statutory mandate to oversee all animal research conducted at Thomas Jefferson University under the Animal Welfare Act (7 USC, 2131-2159) to insure the humane care and ethical treatment of animals. The committee meets once a month to review animal use protocols and discuss issues concerning animal welfare at the University. It also conducts semi-annual reviews of the animal care program and the animal facilities, which includes inspections of the animal facilities and laboratories outside the animal facilities in which animal work is done. IACUC members also pre-review animal use protocols to assist investigators through the approval process.
The IACUC Office
The IACUC Office is part of the Office of Research Administration (ORA), and is housed on the second floor of the Sheridan Building, 125 S. Ninth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Please feel free to contact the staff, who are happy to answer any and all questions regarding research animal useage at TJU.
The IACUC Office has three major roles. First, it provides administrative support to the IACUC, maintaining records, organizing training opportunities. Secondly, it works within ORA in its funding oversight role, reviewing the animal portions of grants and sponsorship proposals to insure compliance and interacting with regulatory agencies in the case of compliance issues.
Finally, but most importantly, it directly serves the investigator. Specifically, it:
- Assists investigators in obtaining and maintaining authorization to use animals in research.
- Facilitates communication between reviewers and investigators during the protocol review process,
- Schedules semi-annual laboratory inspections
- Sends reminiders for animal protocol renewals
- Reviews grant applications and contracts for animal use compliance.
- Processes and maintains investigator and research personnel training records.
By law, IACUC membership must include a veterinarian with certification or training and experience in laboratory animal medicine, a practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals, a member with a non-scientific background, and a member of the public, not affiliated with the University, to represent general community interests.
At TJU, the IACUC is much larger. In addition to the community members and the veterinarians, the membership includes investigators with animal research protocols, graduate students, and various non-scientists from within Jefferson. This size is necessitated by the size and complexity of the Animal Care and Use Program at Jefferson.
Join the IACUC
IACUC members are appointed by the President of the University to a three-year term.
The duties of an IACUC member are:
- Attend a training session for new members. At this session you will be introduced to the federal laws and the federal, private and TJU guidelines under which the IACUC operates, you will be given instruction in the protocol review and laboratory inspection process, and you will be pointed towards our online training process.
- Complete the online training.
- Attend at least 9 meetings per year. The committee meets monthly, usually the 4th Tuesday morning of the month.
- Review animal use protocols (AUPs) as needed. Reviewers are assigned between 1 and 5 protocols a month, depending on committee workload.
- Pre-review AUPs if requested. To smooth the review process, PIs must first submit their protocols to an IACUC member for pre-review before submitting it for full review.
- Perform semi-annual inspections of the animal facilities. The IACUC devotes several hours every 6 months to a facility inspection; members are expected to attend 75% of the inspections.
- Perform 6-10 lab inspections per year. The IACUC staff and two members of the committee meet each PI holding an animal protocol once every six months.
If you are interested in serving on the IACUC please contact the Chair of IACUC, Dr. David W. Anderson.