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Animal Care and Use Policy

The federal government regulates the care and use of vertebrate animals to assure their appropriate and humane treatment in research projects. Fisk University must also be certain that laboratory animals used for both research and educational purposes conducted at the University or under its sponsorship are properly cared for, and humanely treated. Working with the NIH, OPRR, Fisk University has established an agreement with Meharry Medical College (MMC) to care for animals involved in research at Fisk. Accordingly, research projects at Fisk involving vertebrate animals will be reviewed by the MMC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and research applications involving animals will use the MMC Animal Care Assurance Number on proposals. Fisk University investigators who will use animals in research and education must receive appropriate training in animal care and use, and as well, assure that any students and/or associates under their control who are involved in the care and use of animals also are appropriately trained. Copies of the NIH publication “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” are available in the Office of Sponsored Programs.

The following procedure for the care and use of animals in research projects has been established with the MMC office of Research Support Services.

  1. The Fisk investigator wishing to do research involving animals is to identify a “collaborator” at MMC with knowledge in the field of the proposed research. If there is any difficulty in identifying an appropriate collaborator, the MMC Office of Research Support Services (ORSS) will provide assistance.
  2. The MMC collaborator is to be provided with a copy of the research proposal to review and if necessary, suggest changes in the animal care protocol so that the proposal will receive approval when presented to the MMC-IACUC.
  3. Amounts must be included in the proposal budget for a subcontract with MMC which will cover the MMC fee for care of the animals as well as an appropriate reimbursement for work of the collaborator. The Meharry collaborator will provide these amounts for inclusion in the budget. If the MMC collaborator is unclear about procedures, he/she should contact the MMC ORSS.
  4. The MMC collaborator, with the help of the MMC ORSS, will provide an “Agreement to Subcontract” and also a subcontract budget and budget justification on appropriate agency forms. These documents must be included with the full application.
  5. Once it is agreed that the proposal is ready for presentation to the MMC-IACUC, the collaborator will present the proposal to the Committee (which meets once per month). The IACUC will either approve the proposal or suggest further changes. Once the MMC-IACUC has approved the proposal, then the MMC Animal Welfare Assurance Number may be included on the proposal Face Page along with the date on which the IACUC gave its approval. The Investigator must be certain to allow enough advance time for this entire procedure.
  6. When a proposal is funded, it will be necessary for the MMC-IACUC to review the animal care protocol on an annual basis.
  7. The Fisk OSP must be informed whenever a research proposal involves animals, by checking the appropriate box on the “Information Form to Accompany All Proposals”. The OSP is willing to assist the investigator in this process and should be kept informed of progress in obtaining the necessary approval.

In view of the lengthy process, it is suggested that the proposal be given to Meharry for review at least two months prior to the due date.

PHS and NSF will allow new grant applications a grace period of 60 days from the application's deadline for the investigator to receive and document IACUC approval. Although not all federal funding agencies allow this grace period, contact with the funding agency will verify one way or the other. If the proposed animal use protocol is not approved by the IACUC, the sponsor must be notified of the action taken or modification required. The application may need to be revised or withdrawn.

When "pending" approval is indicated on the face page of a grant, efforts should be made to submit necessary items to the MMC-IACUC as soon as possible. A grace period is not extended to expedited AIDS proposals or non-competing renewals.

Animal Services

Since Fisk University does not have approved vertebrate housing for research subjects, animal receipt and care will be handled by Meharry Medical College. Animals ordered will be shipped to the animal care facility at MMC, where proper care and facilities are available. Through the collaboration with a MMC research scientist, facilities for conducting the animal portion of the research will be made available at Meharry.

Training and Instruction Available to Scientists and Other Personnel

When required, training of individuals in appropriate animal research techniques will be provided by MMC, via the collaborative relationship. It may include individual training by professional veterinary staff, printed resources, audiovisual aids or other methodologies. There may be an additional charge for other services, which may be included in the project budget.