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Information for Animal Research

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The following list provides more information about getting started with animal research at UTMB.

Clinical Trials Studio - Animal Research

Researcher training and safety – Researchers working with animals must complete mandatory training with AALAS as well as with ARC (see below).

Animal Resource Center (ARC) Training: UTMB’s ARC provides access to training on use of Cayuse for animal orders and for animal handling.  Basic animal handling classes using mice, rats or hamsters, include behavior, restraint, signs of pain and distress, SQ & IP injections and saphenous vein blood collection.  On request classes are structured to your specific protocol needs.

Employee Health Annual Research Questionnaire:  All personnel directly working with animals must receive a health clearance from Employee Health.  Animal allergies are a significant occupational health hazard for animal users. Personnel are expected to speak with their care provider when changes in their health status occur and will be expected to complete a yearly update with the Employee Health.

Animal Resources Center (ARC):  UTMB's Animal Resources Center is responsible for provision of care to all vertebrate animals on campus. The ARC provides a comprehensive program of veterinary care, animal husbandry, technical advice and assistance and facilities to advance research involving animals on the UTMB campus. The ARC is fully AAALAC  International accredited, PHS assured and USDA approved. It comprises eight campus facilities with approximately 108,000 square feet of assignable space. Housing and care is provided for all common research species from amphibians and rodents to primates, sheep and swine. Biocontainment housing is available up to animal biosafety level 4 (ABSL 4).

Post-Approval Monitoring Program (PAM): UTMB’s PAM Program is designed to interact with the research staff in a collegial, educational manner. The program helps to ensure the well-being of the research animals as well as provide opportunities to refine IACUC protocols through protocol review and observation. Every animal research laboratory is visited by the program’s Protocol Advisors and Liaisons (PALs). These visits consist of Protocol Discussions with lab staff, observations of animal procedures, and debriefing meetings when needed. Outcomes of these visits are beneficial to the researcher by either confirming that procedures are humane and compliant, or, identifying protocol ‘drift’ and helping to amend protocols to prevent future concerns.

The PAM program offers these services:

  • Updates in animal program information through laboratory staff meetings
  • Comparison of IACUC protocols with procedures to maintain compliance and animal welfare
  • Review protocols/amendments prior to IACUC submission
  • Annual training course on writing IACUC protocols and other topics related to animal research

Notification of Use (NOU):  Principal Investigators are required to submit a Notification of Use (NOU) for biological agents, recombinant material, Human and Non-Human Primate Products for Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval prior to any work being conducted. Materials that require IBC approval prior to work commencing are the following:

  • All human and non-human primate material (including commercial cell lines)
  • All risk group 2-3-4 infectious agents
  • All recombinant material (purchased or manipulated) regulated by NIH-OSP guidelines

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS):  The Radiation & Occupational Safety (ROccS) Program works to ensure UTMB employees, students, patients, and visitors are free from recognized safety & health hazards.   ROccS works to ensure that UTMB is in compliance with regulations and recommendations for the use of radioactive materials, X-rays, other radiation devices and lasers.  ROccS also provides resources and consultation related to occupational safety issues to ensure a safe work environment for UTMB employees, visitors and staff.  Services include but are not limited to chemical safety, hazard exposure monitoring (chemical, noise, etc.), hazard communication act training, respirator fit testing, and food safety inspections.  The program supports the Radiation Safety Committee, Radioactive Drug Research Committee, Chemical Safety Committee and has representation on the General Safety Committee and subcommittees of the Environment of Care.

Required language for all clinical research studies: All research involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the UTMB IRB. The review level (exempt, expedited, and full board) and submission requirements are study specific and stratified by risk. More information can be found on the IRB website: