Sometimes you need a small bit of information and you are not sure who to ask. Here are some common questions we hear on a regular basis.
What is the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)?
The IACUC is a federally mandated body charged with the oversight of research and teaching that uses vertebrate animals. This body is mandated by Congress as stipulated in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Health Research Extension Act (HREA). Both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Public Health Service (PHS) outline specific requirements with respect to animal use in research and teaching.
This committee is also required by the PHS Policy, and the UK Administrative Regulation 7:5.
What are the functions of the IACUC?
Functions of the IACUC include: review, at least once every six months, the University of Kentucky’s program for humane care and use of animals; inspect, at least once every six months, all of the animal facilities and locations where animals are used; prepare reports of its evaluations and submit the reports to the Institutional Official; review, and, if warranted, investigate concerns involving the care and use of animals; make recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the research facility's animal program and facilities; review and approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or withhold approval of proposed activities and significant changes related to the care and use of animals; be authorized to suspend an activity involving animals.
What is the composition of UK’s IACUC?
UK’s IACUC currently consists of an IACUC Chair, Attending Veterinarian, Scientists, Non-Scientists, a Community member and several alternates. Scientists come from several different departments on campus including researchers in the Colleges of Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Engineering and Agriculture. Other members are from DLAR, USDA-ARS, Library Sciences, and Environmental Health and Safety. Ex-officio members include those with expertise in administration, statistics, pharmacy, legal services, and facilities management.
What is the Institutional Official (IO)?
The IO is a federally required individual who has authority to allocate any resources needed to ensure the Program of Animal Care and Use is effective. At the University of Kentucky, the Vice President for Research serves as the IO.
What is the Attending Veterinarian (AV)?
The AV is also a federally required position. The AWA defines the AV as “a person who has graduated from a veterinary school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education, or has a certificate issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates, or has received equivalent formal education as determined by the Administrator; has received training and/or experience in the care and management of the species being attended; and who has direct or delegated authority for activities involving animals at a facility subject to the jurisdiction of the Secretary.”
The AV has institution wide authority to ensure the provision of adequate veterinary care and to oversee the adequacy of other aspects of animal care and use. The AV is a member of the IACUC.
What is the difference between the AV and the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) and the IACUC?
The AV ensures that animals receive adequate veterinary care and oversees the adequacy of other aspects of animal care and use.
DLAR is a service unit under the Office of the Vice President for Research. DLAR supports the biomedical research community at UK by providing the highest quality veterinary services and humane care and treatment to the animals under their care. DLAR serves as a resource for knowledge and technical expertise for researchers. DLAR has been continuously accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation for Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC, International).
The IACUC is charged with oversight and routine evaluation of the Program of Animal Care and Use. This includes all the activities as listed above (see FAQ 2)
In summary, the Program of Animal Care and Use requires the collaborative effort of the IO, the AV, the IACUC, as well as that of DLAR to ensure it functions effectively and in compliance with the law and other regulations.
How long does it take to get a protocol approved by the IACUC?
The IACUC strives to review protocols in a timely fashion. Protocol approval is granted only after all required items (training, OHSP clearance, IBC/Radiation safety, etc.) have been completed and all reviewer questions have been satisfied. As a general guideline, protocols should be submitted to our office 2 months before the anticipated date of approval. For additional information see Guidance on Protocol Submission Deadlines.