Every institution that receives U.S. Public Health Service or Department of Defense funding for vertebrate animal-based research, or which conducts animal research involving species regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or has accreditation from The Association for Assessment and Accreditation for Laboratory Animal Care must have an IACUC. This group provides on-campus oversight and helps to ensure compliance with all laws, regulations and policies governing the care and use of research and teaching animals. Once the study is underway, IACUC inspects
all of the research animal facilities including animal study areas at least once every six months. They review and, if needed, investigate any concerns involving the care and use of animals at the research facility.
This committee is charged with the task of determining the scientific merit, safety and welfare of the laboratory animals and acts in several capacities.
- Review all proposed activities related to the care and use of animals. IACUC approval is required before all proposed studies involving laboratory animals can begin.
- Administer training to researchers and staff in proper handling and use of animals in research. Certain courses are required before a person may handle laboratory animals. Please visit the Training in the Proper Care and Use of Animals in Research webpage for further information.
- Provide oversight to research in progress and enforce all polices related to the responsible, humane care of animals.
- Review all proposed significant changes regarding the care and use of animals in ongoing activities.
- Review, at least once every six months, the facility’s program for humane care and use of animals.
- Inspect, at least once every six months, all of the research animal facilities including animal study areas.
- Prepare reports of all evaluations conducted.
- Make recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the research facility’s animal care program, facilities, or personnel training.
- Review, and, if warranted, investigate concerns involving the care and use of animals at the research facility. IACUC is authorized to suspend an activity involving animals in accordance with the specification set forth.
Each IACUC, including UTMB’s, is composed of a chairperson, veterinarians trained in laboratory animal science and medicine, practicing scientists, a non-scientist and an individual not affiliated with the institution.