1) What is IACUC?

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of UMCES is a committee of scientists, non scientists, and a veterinarian that must approve all research to be conducted using live fish, amphibians, or reptiles. The committee consists of a scientist Chair, scientist members from Horn Point and Appalachian Lab, one administrator, one representative of the community not affiliated with UMCES, and a veterinarian. The IACUC is charged with ensuring that all research involving vertebrates satisfies requirements set by the federal government. Details of the UMCES IACUC as well as the identities and affiliations of the committee members can be found on MYUMCES Animal Care and Use Policies.

2) When do I need IACUC approval to conduct my research?

If you are working with any vertebrate you must obtain IACUC training and approval of the research PRIOR TO starting the research. A good rule of thumb is if you will be bringing live vertebrates into the laboratory or restraining or physically touching or using an instrument to touch a live vertebrate in the field or laboratory, you must obtain IACUC approval. If you are only observing vertebrate animals from a distance, if you are working with only non-living specimens, or if your work involves only invertebrates, IACUC approval is not required. UMCES is only authorized to conduct research with the following vertebrates: fish, amphibians, reptiles. Manipulative studies of birds and mammals cannot be approved by the UMCES IACUC, although non-invasive field studies on these taxa are permitted if approved by the IACUC.

3) IACUC training:

IACUC Training session is now on line. Any researcher (including students and technical personnel) who will be working with vertebrates must complete this training PRIOR TO conducting any research involving vertebrate animals. You only need to complete this training once while at CBL. Please contact the IACUC Chair for instructions and webpage information.

4) Obtaining IACUC approval for research.

In order to obtain IACUC approval for research on vertebrate animals, you must complete a protocol form detailing the research form, which must be followed, is available on MY UMCES Animal Care and Use Policies. After completing the proposal, an approved electronic copy must be provided to mail to: Elissa Lee (elee@umces.edu) in the Director's Office for signature and transmittal to the UMCES IACUC.

Protocols are reviewed by the committee typically within 4 weeks of submission. The committee may 1) approve your protocol, 2) approve your protocol pending clarification, or 3) decline approval of your protocol. The latter would be a very rare occurrence. Typically protocols require some clarification which can be directly communicated to the committee or, if substantial clarification is required, a new protocol may need to be submitted. The committee will advise you of necessary actions. If you are required to submit a new protocol, please allow at least 4 more weeks for committee action. It is important that you consider the time involved in reviewing and possibly re-reviewing your protocols when planning your research.

Upon approval, a protocol is active for a maximum of 3 years. If your research extends beyond 3 years, a de novo protocol must be submitted and approved prior to continuing research. You will receive annual questionnaires regarding your research and any changes to protocols that may be required. You must complete this form and return it to Elissa Lee in a timely manner. Any changes to a protocol must be communicated to the committee via an email to Elissa Lee and the committee must approve any substantial changes prior to continuation of the research.

5) Ensuring you and your staff are trained.

It is your responsibility to obtain training and approval by the UMCES IACUC prior to research involving vertebrates. Conducting research on vertebrates without having completed IACUC training or without having an approved IACUC protocol is a violation of federal law and could impact all UMCES scientists involved in research on vertebrate animals.