As principal investigator (PI), you must submit an application to obtain a protocol from the Mount Sinai Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to get authorization to use our facilities at the Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery. The committee has 19 members including a veterinarian, a person not affiliated with the institution, and 17 faculty members from 14 departments. The committee meets during the third week of each month to conduct full-committee reviews of applications. Once you receive approval, you may begin your study or course.
Once we receive your completed application, all IACUC members complete a Review Form within 10 days. Members may approve, disapprove, request further information, propose modification, or request a review by the full committee of any protocol. If any committee member raises an unusual concern, we bring it to the attention of the full committee. Committee members can also ask the Chair to evaluate the responses.
When there is a full committee review, we require a majority vote for approval. When full committee review is not required or requested, we need approval by at least one member of the committee, designated by the chair.
We review all protocols involving vertebrate animals in the same manner, including intramural funded studies, teaching courses, and pilot studies. Before starting any studies involving vertebrate animals, PIs submit an application with a Vertebrate Animal Study Proposal form. Depending on the methodologies required for the study, investigators may also be required to submit additional information, in Appendices, about:
- Major surgery
- Production of genetically modified animals
- Antibody production
We forward a copy of the Vertebrate Animal Study Proposal and appendices to all members of the IACUC for review. In cases of internally funded studies or pilot studies, the complete research proposal is also included. For extramural application, the proposals are available from the Grants and Contracts Office. We review all protocols involving United States Department of Agriculture-regulated species as well as protocols for multiple survival surgery (on any species) at full committee meetings. The full committee also routinely reviews protocols involving the potential for pain and distress. In such cases, the committee often invites investigators to a committee meeting to discuss their protocol. Alternatively, the committee invites the chair and/or director of the vivarium to meet and interview individual investigators and then report to the committee.
We approve protocols for a period of three years. During this time, we require PIs to submit annual progress reports.
All research staff (medical, postdoctoral, and graduate students) must attend our Animal User's Orientation Class prior to gaining access to our animal facilities. We offer the species-specific training program in two phases. All new animal users (new to the institution) must attend a two-hour lecture. We discuss general Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery operating procedures, IACUC policies, state and federal regulations, sources on alternatives to animal use, basic biomethodology, and other topics. We also require investigators with no documented prior experience working with animals to attend our three-hour wet lab training session where we provide hands-on training in basic restraint, anesthetic administration/monitoring, and biomethods of the species. In addition to the general introductory course, each research staff member must participate in a specific facility orientation. This orientation outlines the practices of that particular facility, such as barrier technique and automatic watering.
Investigators designing research studies that involve the use of animals are responsible for informing personnel of the potential risks involved in the project. We recommend you train your research personnel in the care and use of experimental animals, personal hygiene, protective safety measures, safe use of hazardous materials, and preventive medicine, taking into account the risks involved in the particular project. We strongly advise investigators to consult with us and with the Institutional Biosafety Office for risk assessment and to develop an appropriate plan for the laboratory. The IACUC and safety officers may recommend specific actions or changes in the individual programs during the periodic inspections of laboratories.
Access to the Facility
Entry to the facility is controlled by electronic access controls and surveillance systems. Approved research personnel should obtain access from our Business Office.