Information for New Investigators Who Use Animals
The IACUC at the University of Rochester is called the University Committee on Animal Resources (UCAR).
Before you work with animals at the University for the first time, you should arrange a meeting with either Dr. Jeff Wyatt, University of Rochester Attending Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Animal Resource, or his designee. Call the Animal Resource office at 585-275-2653 for an appointment.
You will also need to obtain an account for our on-line protocol system Topaz, and complete our required training. The information below outlines transferring a grant, transferring animals, animal use protocols, required training, grant information, contact information, and suggested references.
Transferring a grant from another institution:
If you are coming from another institution and will be transferring grants and/or animals to the University of Rochester, you should review your needs with Dr. Wyatt or his designee well before you arrive.
In general, animals cannot be ordered, and animal work cannot be started until you have an approved Animal Use Protocol, submitted in our on-line system (Topaz), and reviewed and approved by the IACUC (University Committee on Animal Resources or UCAR). However, if you are transferring grants to the University, UCAR will accept a Letter of Verification (certifying that the work described in the grant has been reviewed and approved) from your former institution for the purposes of grant transfer if:
- The institution has a PHS assurance (supply the number), and
- Dr. Wyatt’s (or his designee's) review of the Animal Use Protocols from your former institution raises no serious concerns about being able to do the work here.
Although this process will allow you to transfer your grants, you will not be able to begin work with animals until you have an approved University of Rochester Animal Use Protocol.
Transferring animals from another institution:
If you wish to transfer animals from your former institution before you get here, we have a process that can facilitate the transfer. Make sure to discuss it with the veterinarians as soon as possible. You will need to submit a protocol and have it reviewed by the veterinarians before the transfer can be done. While the animals are being transferred and undergoing quarantine, you can finish the protocol approval process.
Creating and submitting an Animal Use Protocol:
In order to create and submit an Animal Use Protocol, you must have access to the server that hosts Topaz, our on-line protocol management system. This requires a URMC domain account. If you work at the Medical Center, your department has probably already requested this for you. You will also use these credentials to log into Topaz and to access the server running Topaz via VPN when you are not at the University.
If you work on River Campus or certain sites off campus, ask UCAR to request an account for you. This URMC domain account is used to access VPN and the server hosting the Topaz database, but will not be used for your email or other computer access. As a result, you will also need to provide us with the email address you do use for University communication.
Once you have a domain account, you will need to email UCAR to obtain a Topaz account. Our office staff will set up the account, have you verify that you have access, then arrange for Topaz training. It is best to do the training in person, but if necessary, it can be done over the phone, and the protocol itself can be created and submitted from off site using VPN to access the Medical Center network.
We ask that you submit your Protocol at least 60 days before you require a verification letter. For the PHS Just-in-time process, please do not submit forms until the grant has been reviewed, and has received a score that suggests funding is likely. However, it is best not to wait for your letter requesting Just-in-Time information, because it usually doesn’t allow enough time to get a protocol approved, which will delay funding.
If you do not have grant funding, UCAR requires that you submit a form to the Dean’s Research Advisory Committee (DRAC) for verification that the work has scientific merit. UCAR will provide information about this process at the time you do your Topaz training.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the UCAR office at 585-275-1693, email the office or email the UCAR Chair, Chris_Stodgell@URMC.Rochester.edu
All people who work with animals and all protocol PIs are required to take the Animal Resource Orientation and animal use training before they begin working with animals. The UCAR office will inform you what training is required and how to sign up for it.
You may be asked for a statement about Veterinary Care by your granting agency. Our currently suggested statement is:
The facilities and programs of the Vivarium and Division of Comparative Medicine of the School of Medicine and Dentistry are fully accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC) and are in compliance with state law, federal statute and NIH policy.
The University of Rochester’s Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) faculty consists of four laboratory animal veterinarians (three ACLAM Board Certified). They are assisted by four licensed veterinary technicians as well as a full staff of animal care technicians. DCM is responsible for providing preventive, diagnostic, and clinical services for all laboratory animals, providing guidance to investigators regarding handling, immobilization, anesthesia, analgesia and euthanasia, as well as monitoring all surgery programs and the provision of appropriate post surgical care. A veterinarian is always available during or after normal working hours, weekends and holidays. Animal care staff are trained to recognize signs of ill health, and a well-defined reporting mechanism is in place to ensure that such animals are examined by appropriate DCM personnel in a timely manner.
The University of Rochester’s IACUC is called the University Committee on Animal Resources (UCAR). The office number is 585-275-1693, and the email is UCAR@URMC.rochester.edu.
The University Attending Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Animal Resource is Dr. Jeff Wyatt (585-275-2651).
The Director of the Animal Resource is Dr. Diane Moorman-White (585-275-2651). She or one of the other veterinarians will be glad to help you with surgeries, anesthesia, analgesia, euthanasia and other veterinary issues. She should also be made aware of any unusual housing or care requirements. You may also visit the Animal Resource home page.
Depending on what kind of work you are doing, you may also need to get in touch with Environmental Health and Safety. New investigators should read their introduction (PI Welcome).
The following are important documents, sources and web sites for your reference:
University of Rochester PHS Assurance (Our PHS Assurance is D16-00188 (A3292-01) as of May 1, 2018.
Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th ed.
PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals
AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition
Animal Welfare Act and Regulations "Blue Book" (May 2019)
What Investigators Need to Know About the Use of Animals (NIH)