Working With Animals

Principal Investigators (PIs) who plan to engage in research, training, or teaching that involves live vertebrate animals must obtain approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

To do so, you will need to submit an online IACUC application using Ideate that outlines the:

  • Research value to human or animal health
  • Design of the study
  • Rationale for using animals
  • Choice of animal species
  • Details on specific procedures involving animals
  • Measures you will take to ensure the well-being of your experimental subjects

Submission, processing, and review all take place online, using Ideate.

Who is eligible to be a Principal Investigator for animal research?

In general, only full-time faculty members can serve as PI for IACUC applications. However, we do consider exceptions on a case by case basis, if the project and PI have received approval from Giorgio Martinelli, Dsc, PhD, Director of IACUC.

What types of animals does the Medical School support in research?

The IACUC does not restrict your choice of species for research purposes. But you need to consult with the Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery director to make absolutely sure that the vivaria can accommodate your choice. CCMS can also provide information about ordering, transporting, and receiving animals.

What training do you require or recommend?

You need to complete mandatory training if you are going to work with lab animals.

The Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery (CCMS) Training Coordinator (212-241-3008) provides initial and periodic seminars, online courses, and laboratory demonstrations. Topics include animal care and husbandry; experimental techniques (e.g., animal handling, blood collection, and euthanasia); safe working practices; federal and institutional regulations; IACUC policies; facility access and operations; and security.

If you are working on studies that involve hazardous biological, chemical or radioactive substances, Biosafety and Radiation Safety Officers can provide training on safety practices.

How do I obtain and maintain approvals to conduct animal research?

We grant final IACUC project approval for animal research after we have completed all reviews, including a safety and risk assessment conducted by the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and you have responded to any requests for protocol modifications.

Approvals are valid for three years. Progress reports are due at the beginning of the second and third years. At the end of this period, you need to submit a new IACUC application to continue your research.

How do you monitor my research after I receive approval?

Once your protocol has been approved and you begin research, we oversee your research through reports on your annual progress; animal health; and the progress of protocols that risk morbidity, severe debilitation, or mortality of experimental subjects. We also conduct semiannual inspections and unannounced laboratory inspections.

What resources and support are available?

The IACUC can provide information on animal care and use; IACUC applications; institutional policies; and federal regulations, and external sources of information, resources, and support.

The International Biosafety Committee can tell you about occupational health and safety, and standard operating procedures for handling hazardous materials.