Program for the Utilization of Animals in Research
- The UMass Dartmouth is a public university dedicated to education and research as they relate to all fields of science.
- The UMass distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development.
- Within a climate that is inclusive, open, and diverse, UMass Dartmouth strives to be the university of choice for students seeking high quality liberal arts and science programs as well as professional academic programs that build a foundation for civic responsibility, individual skills and professional success.
- UMass Dartmouth will distinguish itself by providing a personalized academic environment where the scholarly research and creative activities of faculty and graduate students are interwoven with the undergraduate experience.
- UMass Dartmouth aspires to create additional Masters and Doctoral programs, with commensurate support, in addition to enhanced technological capabilities for the delivery of our educational and outreach programs. With the advancement of degree programs in the sciences comes a reliance on animal models in research pursuits. The experimental animal facilities represent a vital resource that is central to the research mission of UMass Dartmouth. However, other than within the research programs themselves, not testing is done utilizing animals.
- At UMass Dartmouth, the use of animals in research, and the conditions under which those animals are used, ultimately are the responsibility of the Provost. The Provost appoints the Chairman of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the members of the committee. The committee reports directly to the Provost on all aspects of animal use in research. The relatively small size of UMass Dartmouth allows direct and convenient communication, both formally and informally, between the IACUC and the Provost.
- The UMass Dartmouth program for the use of animals in research is reistered with the U.S Public Health Service Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare and abides by all the guidelines of that Federal Agency as detailed in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
Reviewing the use of Animals in Covered Research
1. Covered Research
All use of animals in research, for any purpose whatsoever, requires prior approval by the UMass Dartmouth IACUC. The use covers any research protocol carried out under UMass Dartmouth aegis that involves animals. If the animals are purchased using funds under UMass Dartmouth administrative responsibility, regardless of the sources of those funds, the protocols must be reviewed and approved whether the animals are housed on the UMass Dartmouth Campus or at other approved animal facilities. The production of animals, including but not limited to transgenic and knockout specialty animals, must be reviewed and approved, as must protocols utilizing such produced animals in research. Protocols involving animals that are provided without charge from other institutions and agencies for the conduct of research supported by funds under the UMass Dartmouth aegis must be reviewed ad approved.
2. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
The UMass Dartmouth Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is composed of 7 members drawn from within and outside the University. The Chairman is a member of the Biology department with experience in the use of animals in research and IACUC service. Other UMass Dartmouth members of the IACUC include other researchers, and other faculty who are not directly involved in the use of the animals. The consultant veterinarian for the animal facilities is a member of the committee. The membership of the committee also includes and individual not from UMass Dartmouth who is interested in animal welfare and who brings to the IACUC the outlook from informed citizenry. Meeting with the committee, but not as members, are representatives from the administration, staff from the animal facilities, as well as support staff for the committee.
3. The IACUC Review Process
All protocols are reviewed by the entire IACUC. Protocol forms are completed and submitted to the IACUC by the Principal Investigators. Deadline dates for submission of the protocols are published and are set for two weeks before the 2 established meeting dates for the IACUC every year. A preliminary review may be conducted by the Chairman to make certain all requested information is included. Any significant shortcomings of the protocol are identified. The Principal Investigator is asked to clarify and complete the protocol so that it can be reviewed by the IACUC in a timely manner.
A protocol may be:
- given Full Approval as presented,
- given Approval with Modifications- pending receipt of additional minor information from the Principal Investigator,
- Withholding Approval pending significant changes recommended by the IACUC.
Principal Investigators are notified within three days following the IACUC meeting about the disposition of their protocols. If a protocol is Approved with modifications, any additional information provided by the Principal Investigator undergoes designated review by the Chairman, the consulting veterinarian, and one other member of the IACUC. If that subcommittee agrees that the additional material adequately answers the concerns raised by the IACUC, then final approval is given by that subcommittee, with a report of that action presented to the full IACUC at the next regular meeting. Any protocols that have approval Withheld are reviewed by the full IACUC at subsequent regular meetings if they are resubmitted by the Principal Investigator.
Animals can only be ordered by the animal facilities manager. No animals can be ordered until the IACUC approval has been given for the protocol. The animal facilities manager receives notification of the disposition of all animal protocols and uses that notification as the basis for ordering the animals when requisitions for the animals are presented by the Principal Investigator.
Renewal by the IACUC of all protocols is required annually, based on summary reports from the Principal Investigators. If a protocol extends beyond 5 years, it is necessary for the Principal Investigator to re-submit the entire protocol for a review and approval by the IACUC, following the procedures as if it were a new protocol.
The IACUC conducts semiannual review of the entire UMass Dartmouth animal program, including a review of policies and procedures as well as an inspection of the animal facilities. A report of these reviews is sent to the Provost.
The information contained in this Manual refers to a Zebrafish Facility, and Eel Facility a Seawater room located at SMAST and a future rodent facility. The reader should understand that s/he must read the appropriate sections of this manual for the appropriate facility.
The Zebrafish Facility occupies 176 square feet of space in a single room. The Eel Facility occupies 1,379 square feet and includes 4 rooms. The Seawater room is a large 2,000 square foot room located on the SMAST campus.
Veterinary Care for the animals is provided through an agreement with the Center for Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The current veterinarian is Dr. Steven Niemi. Dr. Niemi visits the animal facilities at least once a month and is readily available for consultation by telephone and may visit the facility more frequently if needed. Dr. Niemi serves on the UMD IACUC committee and meets with the committee at least twice a year to conduct semi-annual inspection of the facilities.
Training for personnel involved with Animals
Training programs in humane and ethical use of animals in research are given once a year. Everyone involved in the use of animals in research are required to attend these programs.
New staff members, graduate students, and technicians are required to undergo the formal hands-on training by qualified personnel before they are allowed to conduct or participate in animal experiments.
Occupational Health and Safety Program
The UMass Dartmouth maintains an Occupational Health and Safety program for everyone involved in using animals in research. Included in the program are physical examinations, tetanus immunizations, and evaluation of allergic sensitivities to animals.
Regulations and procedures for the use of hazardous materials, including carcinogens and other hazardous agents, are covered under the UMD Safety committee and its teachings and policies. The UMD IACUC endorses all of these policies and incorporates them by reference in all approvals of protocols involving such hazardous materials.