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Animal Research and the IACUC Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who do I contact if I have questions regarding the animal care and use program or the IACUC at WVU?
A. IACUC  Administrative Assistant, Lauren Burhans, in the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance or the IACUC Chair, Dr. Peter Mathers, Professor in the Davis College Division of Animal Science and Nutrition.

Q. Who do I contact if I have questions regarding clinical / veterinary issues with my research laboratory animals?
A. You can contact the Attending Veterinarian, Dr. Ida Washington, or the Clinical Veterinarian, Dr. Matt Kessler, in the Office of Laboratory Animal Resources.

Q. How do I login to the IACUC Sharepoint system (IACUC Members only)?
A. You can login into Sharepoint using your WVU MyID and password as your credentials. Please note that you must be given access to be able to login.

Q. What is the PHS Animal Assurance Number?
A. The PHS Animal Assurance Number is D16-00362 (A3597-01). The current approval period for the assurance is February 27, 2017 to February 28, 2021. Approval letter

Q. Is the Animal Care and Use Program at WVU Accredited by AAALAC International?
A. Yes. The AAALAC International accreditation number is 1646. Accreditation letter

Q. I need to amend my IACUC protocol to add/change procedures / personnel / animals.
A. An amendment to the protocol must be submitted. See the instructions for submitting amendments to protocols. Please note that even the most MINOR changes MUST be approved via submission of an amendment.

Q. What kind of IACUC training is required?
A. Everyone working with animals must receive basic regulatory training as well as procedural and species-specific training. Regulatory training, which requires renewal every 3 years, is done through CITI.
Additional details

Species-specific and procedural training is also required for all personnel.

Q. What training documentation do I need to maintain?
Training documentation for regulatory training is maintained in the IACUC Office within ORIC. All protocol/procedural specific training must be kept by the laboratory/PI. More information regarding training documentation that is required from the laboratory.

Q. What is the Occupational Health Program?
Any person working with animals must complete the Occupational Health Questionnaire annually to ensure that any employees at WVU coming into contact with animals are monitored medically. If you complete the survey and are NOT cleared, it is imperative that you contact WVU Occupational Medicine (304) 293-3693 OR call Well WVU (Student Health) (304) 293-2311, if you are a student, before you can be added to a protocol.

Q. What types of experiments need IACUC approval?
A. WVU requires IACUC approval for all work involving direct interaction with live vertebrates.

Q. Do I need an IACUC protocol to use dead animals or animal parts?
A. If the animals are specifically euthanized for your purposes, then you may need a protocol. If you are obtaining animals or tissue that were already dead (rat livers from another laboratory, steaks from the supermarket, game from DNR) then you do not need an IACUC protocol. However, all work with wild mammal tissue needs a Biosafety protocol.

Q. Where do I get a protocol form?
A. From the WVU IACUC web page: Protocol Submission. The protocol forms change from time to time due to changes in federal regulations. We do not accept protocols on expired forms, so be sure to ALWAYS download and use a new copy every time you submit a protocol.

Q. How long does it take to get IACUC approval?
A. Protocols are reviewed at monthly IACUC meetings via the full committee review (FCR) process or rolling reviews via the designated member review (DMR) process. It may take 1-8 weeks to get IACUC approval for an amendment or protocol.

Q. When are the meetings and when is the deadline for submitting protocols?
A. The meeting is the first Wednesday of every month. The deadline is the 15th of the month.

Q. My grant is for five years but the protocol says that I can only get approval for three years. How do I get an extension?
A. The three year limit on animal protocols is explicitly stated in the Federal regulations. Extensions cannot be given for any reason. You must file a new protocol.

Q. Why did it take four months to get my protocol approved?
A. The most common factor that delays approval is that the IACUC decides that the protocol needs revision. Then approval will not be granted until these concerns are satisfactorily addressed. The IACUC, the Chair, the veterinarians, and the Research Compliance staff are all willing to advise you on preparing your protocol to avoid these delays. We cannot anticipate everything that might arise in the committee meeting, but we can always identify the major problems. Ask for help!

Common problems:

  • Numbers: Make sure that the numbers add up and that the reasons for using all of the animals are clear. The numbers in the protocol total, experimental design and justification for use of the number of animals requested should all be the same.
  • Euthanasia: You must either use an AVMA approved method or provide justification for an alternative method. If you want to use an alternative method, talk to the attending veterinarian before submitting the protocol.
  • Literature searches: We are required by the USDA to get two of these for all studies other than those that are Category A. If you want help in designing the searches, contact the veterinarian, the IACUC Chair, or Research Compliance.
  • Justifications: Federal regulations say that cost is never a justification; therefore never state that you chose to use a species because it is the cheapest alternative.