TTUHSC Laboratory Animal Resources Center
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Laboratory Animal Resources Center

New Investigators

The TTUHSC Animal Care and Use Program is centralized under the Office of the Senior Vice-President for Research who also serves as Institutional Official for the program. Oversight for the program is vested in the Laboratory Animal Resources Center (LARC) and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) The Executive Director of the LARC is the Institutional Veterinarian, board-certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, and reports to the Institutional Official. LARC is responsible for overseeing all animal care and husbandry functions. All laboratory animal facilities are under direct supervision and control of LARC. All animals are housed within the LARC vivaria unless taken to the laboratory for tissue harvest.

Program and Facilities

The entire TTUHSC Animal Care and Use program and its associated vivaria are accredited by AAALAC, International (AAALAC #000989) and comply with Animal Welfare Act Standards (USDA Research Facility Registration #74-R-0050) and NIH-OLAW regulations (OLAW Assurance #A3056-01). The vivaria are located at four campuses. The Lubbock and Amarillo campuses have been accredited since June 2000 while the El Paso and Abilene campuses have new accreditation awarded in June 2009. Each vivarium is a central housing facility of conventional and specialized laboratory animals. The Lubbock vivarium (33,347 sq. ft.) contains a centralized cagewash facility, procedural space, housing for conventional rodents, barrier housing for immunodeficient and sterile rodents, and housing for non-rodent species. The Amarillo vivarium (6840 sq. ft.) has two rodent holding sites on the Amarillo campus with a centralized cagewash facility. The El Paso vivarium (9961 sq. ft.) contains a centralized cagewash facility, procedural space, housing for conventional rodents, barrier housing for immunodeficient and sterile rodents, housing for Zebrafish, dedicated biosafety level 2 space, and specialized biosafety level 3 laboratory. The Abilene vivarium (3963 sq. ft.) contains a centralized cagewash facility, procedural space, ventilated microisolator housing for rodents, and sterile change-hoods.  

Transfer of Animals to the LARC

The following are LARC-approved vendors for purchasing animals for research and training purposes. Although subject to acclimation, they are not quarantined for infectious pathogens. We are confident in the quality of the animals they provide: Charles River Laboratories, National Cancer Institute, Covance Research Products, Harlan-Sprague Dawley, National Institute on Aging, Jackson Laboratories, Taconic, and Xenopus Express. In general, animals received from non-approved vendors (i.e. other universities, overseas vendors, research colonies, etc.) must be screened more cautiously to prevent introduction of infectious rodent pathogens into the vivarium. A copy of the last two health reports from the non-approved originating facility must be sent to the LARC Institutional Veterinarian (Fax 806-743-1028) prior to any shipment of live animals. Please check with your local LARC office at each campus when deciding on which animal vendors to use. We would be happy to help you find the right source of animals that will best fit your research and financial needs. Just a reminder...all animals MUST be ordered through your local LARC office.

Animal Housing

The LARC is a full-service animal facility with general and specialized housing for common laboratory animals. Expansion space is available at each of our vivaria for importing additional animals, however caging supplies for transfer of large colonies of rodents rquiers additional purchase fitting your specific needs. With 4-5 month lead-times for acquisition of caging and supplies, be sure to communicate with the LARC both your immediate and future needs for animal housing.

Veterinary Care

LARC employs clinical veterinarians and veterinary technicians to monitor and advise on animal health. They have direct responsibility for aniimal health, euthanasia, and protocol suspension (when appropriate). The Institutional Veterinarian has final decision-makeing authority on these matters. All animals have daily checks (7 days per week) from the LARC animal care staff and veterinary technicians. The veterinarian will observe, diagnose, and supervise animal health concerns (including treatment and euthanasia) with the staff and veterinary technicians. Our philosophy is the veterinary team is an important part of your research laboratory, so should be encouraged to take part in protocol development and lab meetings that directly concern animal use. In addition, these trained professionals are available for assistance in your data collection activities including surgical expertise, humane euthanasia, necropsy, and tissue harvest. 

Animal PerDiems

See the LARC website for a list of animal perdiem fees for each campus. For grant writing purposes, assume an annual increase of 3% on animal perdiem charges. Also, included on the website is site-specific justification information that can be used for justification of animal charges in grant applications. For additional information, please email the LARC office.

TTUHSC Research Integrity Office -- IACUC Resources

TTUHSC's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is a key resource in developing your animal resource protocol.  According to the 1966 Animal Welfare Act (AWA), any institution that uses laboratory animals for research and/or instruction purposes must create and maintain an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee and evaluate the program. Per the AWA, the IACUC should include, at a minimum, a designated chairman, a veterinarian trained and experienced in laboratory animal science and medicine, as well as a member not affiliated with the institution.  Of course, many IACUC committees include more than three members; the only stipulation restricting this states that not more than three members can be from the same administrative unit. At least once every six months, the IACUC must conduct a thorough review of the institution's program for human care and use of animals.  Facility inspections must also be completed biannually to determine if the welfare of the animals is truly upheld.  Furthermore, any protocols (new or renewing), protocol amendments, addition/change/deletion of personnel, etc. must receive IACUC approval prior to authorization and activity. For more general information about the AWA, visit the Animal Welfare Act and Regulations website. For more information about the TTUHSC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, please visit the IACUC website.

Developing a New Protocol

A TTUHSC investigator who seeks to use animals in research must complete the Protocol Application Form appropriate for the type of research to be conducted (research/training or breeding) along with the appropriate supporting documents, including relevant appendices for special provisions.  These documents should be submitted to the TTUHSC Office of Sponsored Programs well in advance of the desired research start date.  Protocol Application Forms may be obtained online at the IACUC website given above.The completed, submitted protocol application/amendment/document will be reviewed during a subsequent IACUC meeting, which occurs regularly on a monthly basis.  As stated on the IACUC webpage:

The primary considerations for approval are that animals are cared for and treated according to applicable Federal and TTUHSC guidelines.  While peer-review is NOT a primary function of the IACUC, all animal research must have a sound scientific basis.  Therefore, investigators must provide an explanation of scientific significance where requested in the application, since this information is essential for the final approval of a protocol.

Each protocol/amendment to be reviewed is assigned a primary reviewer, who serves as liaison between the committee and the investigator for the duration of the protocol.  Any errors, problematic issues, or questions that members of the committee may have are sent to the primary reviewer, who works with the investigator to either correct the errors/issues or develop an alternative approach to the aspect in question, prior to full IACUC review. Once approved, a specific revision of a protocol is valid and active for three years before it warrants complete renewal.  The investigator may, however, request permission to make some adjustments and/or changes to the protocol in the following areas with a complete, submitted protocol amendment:  Addition/deletion/change of a title, procedure location, personnel or PI, animal species, change of procedure, and request for additional animals. Furthermore, an annual progress report must be submitted in order to maintain active status for a protocol.  This is submitted to the IACUC committee in a similar fashion to amendments and protocols.

Resources for Writing Protocols

Gordon Brackee, DVM, MS, DACLAM is the Institutional Veterinarian and a helpful advisor for investigators who are preparing protocols.  The IACUC strongly recommends contacting him early in the process of preparing applications, renewals, or amendments to provide advice on the appropriate and optimal species-specific uses of procedures, anesthesia, analgesia, and euthanasia. Dr. Brackee may be contacted via office phone at (806) 743-2565, cell phone at (806) 787-1603, or via e-mail

Required Training Prior to Protocol/Amendment Approval

The IACUC will not approve an item (i.e., application, amendment, or renewal) until the PI and all personnel have enrolled in the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) program and completed the required CITI-web training. All personnel listed on a protocol are required to enroll in the TTUHSC OHS Program.  However, enrollment in the program does not require participation in the program.  Upon receipt of an application for a new protocol or a protocol renewal/amendment adding new personnel, the LARC will send an e-mail notice to each (new) person listed on the protocol.  This e-mail notice will provide all necessary attachments to be completed and submitted to your local campus health or risk assessment nurse.  The nurse then provides the enrollment form for signature, and submits verification to the LARC that your enrollment in the OHS program is complete. Next, all personnel listed on a protocol are required to complete Citi-web training modules pertaining to their particular study.  The link to the modules will also be provided in your e-mail notice from the LARC.  All protocol personnel are required to complete the basic "Laboratory Animals" module as well as any module available pertaining to the species to be used in the protocol.  Upon completion of each training module, the LARC will verify completion of training to the IACUC. 

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