AAALAC International, Inc.
Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International, Inc. AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. The College of Veterinary Medicine is currently pursuing AAALAC accreditation.
American Association for Laboratory Animal Science is a nonprofit membership association that is a primary forum for the exchange of information and expertise in the care and use of laboratory animals. Established in 1950, AALAS provides programs, products, and services to the laboratory animal science community, including online training services, journals and national conferences.
Animal Care Committee - the name used for Virginia Tech's IACUC in years past. See IACUC.
Animal Care and Use Committee - another commonly used name for an IACUC. See IACUC.
AALAS Learning Library is the online training service Virginia Tech is using as part of meeting its IACUC Core training responsibility for faculty and staff using animals in teaching and research.
Alternatives to or within animal research represent the guiding criteria used extensively in protocol review stemming largely from the concept of the Three Rs in Animal Research - Refinement, Reduction and Replacement (see Three Rs) of animal use that still meets the goals of the research in question. These three Rs, described in a book by Russell and Birch entitled “The Principles of Humane Experimental Techniques,” are required by federal law to be addressed within each protocol submission.
An amendment is a revision to an approved protocol, which is submitted on an amendment form, that must be submitted for review and approval obtained BEFORE any changes in personnel, procedures, species and/or animal numbers can be made in previously approved research or instruction protocols.
Protocols must be reviewed annually by the IACUC per federal law. Thus, PIs are required by law to supply animal use numbers, protocol status and related information upon request, usually via an emailed query.
This letter must be received before any animal activity may commence, or, in the case of an amendment, before any changes to an approved animal activity may begin. This includes changes in personnel. It is sent in the form of a PDF-formatted letter that is sent electronically via email to all PIs on a protocol when a protocol or amendment is approved.
Attending Veterinarian (also referred to as University Attending Veterinarian at Virginia Tech)
An ex-officio voting member of the IACUC, this role is required by federal law as the veterinarian responsible for research and instructional animal care and use oversight. This may or may not include clinical responsibilities, depending on the institution. At Virginia Tech, clinical duties and/or clinical oversight are included in this person's role. Training and guidance concerning minimizing pain and distress, optimizing protocols and advice on husbandry methods are also key areas where the AV is instrumental in teaching and research procedures.
Animal Welfare Act - the legislative document from which the AWAR derive.
Animal Welfare Act Regulations - those regulations that USDA/APHIS inspectors utilize when conducting their inspections and that we must adhere to in conducting our everyday business in research and teaching utilizing animals.
Certification of Compliance Assurance
The IACUC document wherein the PI signs, attesting to the accuracy and completeness of the submission and that no personnel will participate nor any other changes implemented in the study until and unless approved by the IACUC. This document represents the acknowledgment of the obligations of the PI and contractual relationship between the PI and the IACUC.
A physical and/or teleconferenced meeting of a quorum of the IACUC, wherein all electronically conferenced persons have full access to all meeting materials. A quorum for Virginia Tech's IACUC is defined as 50% of the current membership plus 1.
Designated Member Review (also Designated Member Reviewer). Most protocols are approved via this weekly cycle of distribution to the IACUC members. All members of the IACUC are sent protocol synopses each week and given the opportunity to comment on the protocol. If all questions and comments are resolved, the protocol may then be reviewed by the Designated Member Reviewer. This member may not disapprove a protocol. If the DMR chooses not to approve the protocol, it will then be sent to the full IACUC Committee for review at a convened meeting.
Full Committee Review. All Category E protocols and amendments (See USDA Pain Categories) and any protocol or amendment not approved via the DMR process must be reviewed by a quorum of the full Committee at a convened meeting of the IACUC.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. This is a federally mandated committee that oversees and approves all teaching and research use of animals. In the case of Virginia Tech, this includes all vertebrate animals, including those used in food and fiber research.
Institute for Laboratory Animal Research - a part of the National Academy of Sciences, this agency "prepares authoritative reports on subjects of importance to the animal care and use community; develops and makes available scientific and technical information on laboratory animals and other biological research resources for the scientific community, institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs), the federal government, science educators and students, and the public."
Also referred to as the I/O, the position is federally defined as the individual at a research facility who is authorized to legally commit on behalf of the research facility that the requirements of the regulations included in Title 9 CFR parts 1, 2, and 3 will be met. At Virginia Tech, this person is usually the current Vice President for Research and Innovation.
Institutional Review Board. This is the review and protection committee required in any institution conducting research involving human subjects.
Licensed veterinary technician
National Institutes of Health. This is a federal agency that is responsible for fostering and funding scientific research.
Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. This federal agency is a part of NIH and "provides guidance and interpretation of the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, supports educational programs, and monitors compliance with the Policy by Assured institutions and PHS funding components to ensure the humane care and use of animals in PHS-supported research, testing, and training, thereby contributing to the quality of PHS-supported activities."
Office of Research Compliance (ORC)
This is the Virginia Tech office that oversees IACUC and IRB administrative support activities.
Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
This is the office within Virginia Tech that manages grant applications and awards and releases sponsored funding to researchers with approved protocols.
Post Approval Monitoring - the federal government requires that an institution be aware of the quality of conduct of the protocols that it approves. Any non-compliance, whether found by the institution or by a federal inspector, represents serious risk to the University's ability to gain and retain federal funding and the privilege to perform animal research or teaching at our institution. Thus, it is prudent to monitor the quality of the animal use in research and teaching performed at Virginia Tech.
Post Approval Monitor
The person who conducts PAM visits (See PAM) to PIs, and their labs, using animals in research and instruction. The Post Approval Monitor may also be involved in teaching and training of techniques or in the investigation of alleged non-compliance.
Public Health Service. PHS is one of several governmental bodies that oversee animal research. Because we accept PHS, NIH and similar federal funding, Virginia Tech falls under the auspices of PHS regulations.
PHS Animal Welfare Assurance
Also referred to as the PHS Assurance. This is a comprehensive document written and submitted by Virginia Tech to PHS, detailing our animal care and use program. This document represents a contract between Virginia Tech and PHS and is filed with and approved by OLAW.
This document represents a contract between the PI and the University, as well as between the University and the federal government. It contains the description of the animal activity or activities to be conducted by a PI in the pursuit of teaching or research utilizing animals. Failure to follow the protocol as submitted may result in significant sanctions to the PI and/or the University. Changes may only be made to the protocol in the form of an approved amendment or in the case of a veterinary medical emergency.
This term usually applies to the animal use activity description and related research documents provided to accompany a grant application.
Refinements include the use of analgesia and anesthesia, environmental enrichment for animal housing, better surgical techniques resulting in improved recoveries, etc. Reduction includes better statistical models, the use of self-controls within a study where possible and other innovations that reduce the numbers of animals used in a study. Replacement is typically concerned with using the lowest order of species possible (using a mouse instead of a monkey) or the complete replacement of animal use altogether (computer models, physical/mechanical models such as those used to for teaching suturing, blood draws, injections, etc.). In no way is a researcher expected to use an alternative that does not meet the goals of his/her research. They are, however, expected to examine and utilize alternatives where possible and to account for instances where no alternatives are applicable.
United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This is the regulatory body that inspects our facilities involved in animal care and use in teaching and research. These facilities include animal holding areas (both indoors and outside), surgical suites, laboratories, corridors, etc.
USDA Pain Categories
The categories that are used to describe the type of use in which each animal is utilized:
- Category B: Breeding or holding animals only; no research conducted.
- Category C: Use of procedures that cause no or slight/momentary pain or distress (e.g., observational studies; injection of non-irritating agents; blood collection from peripheral vessels; collection of cells or tissues following euthanasia).
- Category D: Use of procedures that would cause more than slight/momentary pain or distress, but are preformed using appropriate anesthetics, analgesics, or tranquillizers to relieve pain (e.g., minor or major surgical procedures [survival or non-survival] performed under anesthesia; collection of cells or tissues prior to euthanasia; painful procedures performed under anesthesia [retro-orbital blood collection in rodents]).
- Category E: Use of procedures that cause more than slight/momentary pain or distress, but that cannot be performed using anesthetics, analgesics, or tranquilizers without adversely affecting the study (e.g., toxicity and lethal disease studies in which the animals are allowed to die without intervention and mortality is the endpoint). Mechanical restraint may, depending upon duration and type of restraint, be considered a category "E" procedure. Approval to conduct a Category E study requires detailed justification.
Veterinary Medical Officer - the term for the USDA inspector who inspects teaching and research facilities. This person's qualifications almost always include a DVM or its equivalent.
Also referred to as the improper animal care or abuse of animals reporting mechanism, this policy is federally mandated, as are the signs in animal use and holding areas alerting personnel as to how to make such a report if abuse is witnessed. Federal law protects the person making the report from retribution, thus anonymous reports are discouraged where possible as they make investigation very difficult.