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New to FSU? - Guide for New Investigators

Welcome! Florida State University is committed to providing the highest care for, as well as responsible use of, animals in research, teaching, and testing. Any research, teaching or testing, involving vertebrate animals by FSU faculty, staff or students must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, policies and guidelines. This covers both funded (internal and external) and un-funded research as well as class, thesis, dissertation and special projects. University policy is mandated by the Congress through the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as well as various other federal and state regulations. Oversight of compliance is the responsibility of the FSU Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC). Facilitating animal related research and teaching at FSU is the responsibility of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR).

Given the complex nature of the university and research environment, the ACUC and LAR recommend that you begin the approval process and research set up before you arrive at FSU. Investigators require research space, animal housing space, regulatory approvals, and funding to conduct animal research. The sooner you obtain these required elements, the sooner you can begin your animal research.

For assistance in getting started with animal use in teaching or research at FSU, contact Laboratory Animal Resources at 644-4262. LAR and the ACUC are here to help you with your animal use. Personnel are available to assist with protocol preparation, animal as well as space procurement and a variety of other important aspects of animal use.

There are several steps to take before anyone can use animals at Florida State University. These are briefly
summarized below; more information on each can be found on the FSU Animal Care and Use Committee’s
website at www.research.fsu.edu/acuc or you can contact the ACUC Secretary.


Animal Use Protocol: You will need an approved animal use protocol before animals can be ordered or used. Allow a minimum of 6 weeks for an approval turn around. Submitted protocols undergo a pre-review internally to provide feedback to investigators designed to enhance the chances of ACUC approval. The submission deadline is the first of the month for consideration at that month's ACUC meeting.

For more information on the protocol review process visit the Teaching and Research Protocol webpage.


Training: Federal regulations and guidelines require Institutions to provide assurance that individuals working with animals have received appropriate training and are qualified to humanely use animals in the course of research, teaching or testing. The FSU ACUC has established minimum requirements that all individuals must complete prior to beginning any animal work at FSU. All personnel (including honors and volunteer students) listed on the animal use protocol form must undergo mandated ACUC training. Faculty with extensive previous experience may request an exemption from this training as part of the protocol approval process. Approval of protocols and significant changes may be withheld pending completion of mandated training.

For more information on the required training visit the Training webpage.


Medical Monitoring: All personnel who have contact with vertebrate animals or research animal products must be enrolled in the FSU Medical Monitoring Program. Public Health Service Policy requires that each University receiving federal support for research involving vertebrate animals have an occupational health and safety program for personnel with animal contact. For information on how to enroll, please contact the ACUC Secretary, the EH&S Biological Safety office or review the information on the program at http://www.safety.fsu.edu/mmvau.html. The enrollment form is available at http://www.safety.fsu.edu/forms/mmpappa.doc. Failure to enroll in the program may result in delay of ACUC protocol and significant change approval.

For more information, visit FSU Medical Monitoring Program for Vertebrate Animal Exposure program .


Laboratory Animal Resources: We hope that you met with LAR veterinary staff prior to accepting your appointment. If you have not, please meet with the Laboratory Animal Resources veterinary staff as soon as possible to arrange for housing, vivarium space, special needs, etc. for your animals. LAR will also help you with relocation of valuable animal colonies from your former institution to FSU. Animal research space requests are reviewed by the Biomedical Advisory Committee in conjunction with the Department or College prior to job offers or assignment of animal space. Please note that university policy requires that all animal purchases or imports must be routed through Laboratory Animal Resources. To obtain a copy of the animal request form or for questions or concerns regarding the purchase of animals please contact the LAR office at 644-4262.

All animal purchases or imports must be routed through Laboratory Animal Resources.


Environmental Health & Safety: Use of radioisotopes, biological material and chemicals require review by EH&S Biological Safety and Radiation Safety. If your work will require the use of pharmaceutical agents or controlled substances a Florida Department of Health exemption and DEA license will be necessary. Laboratory Safety can help you obtain these items.

The ACUC and EH&S have developed a method for evaluation and approval of animal protocols using hazardous agents. All protocols must comply with the FSU Hazardous Agents Policy.


Contracts and Grants: For information on contracts, grants, transfer and release of funding, contact Sponsored Research at 644-5260 or visit their webpage.

Submission of grant proposals using animals to Sponsored Research does not require signature by the ACUC Secretary on the cover page, however a Sponsored Research Services Animal Subjects Use Form must accompany the proposal at the time of submission.


 

Regardless of specific funding agency requirements, no funds (internal or external) will be released to the PI until an ACUC Animal Use Protocol has been submitted to and approved by the FSU Animal Care and Use Committee. In addition, at the time funds are made available, a copy of the grant will be compared to the ACUC Animal Use Protocol to confirm that all proposed animal work in the grant is covered under the ACUC Animal Use Protocol. Should discrepancies be noted, funds will not be released until any additional procedures or species have been appended to the protocol and approved by the ACUC. If you have questions about timing for this comparison or other issues related to either the ACUC Animal Use Protocol or the SRS Animal Subjects Use Form, contact the ACUC Secretary via email: ACUCsecretary@mailer.fsu.edu or call 644-4262.


 

Budgeting

It is important that research proposals accurately reflect the direct costs of meeting today’s strict animal care standards. For assistance with estimating animal related budget projections for a proposal, contact SRS or LAR.

Costs, Care, and Housing of Animals
Contact Laboratory Animal Resources at 644-4262, for complete information on current per diem rates to make sure that these costs are appropriately budgeted. A complete list of the current per diem rates can be obtained from LAR. LAR is also available to provide information regarding current animal purchase costs.

Special Costs
Items such as remodeling, special transportation of animals, freight costs, technical assistance, special foods, drugs, and related items frequently are often overlooked in planning animal research. For assistance in planning for these budget items, please contact the LAR Administrative Office at 644-4262.


 

When is an Animal Use Protocol Required?

An approved animal use protocol is required for all use of vertebrate animals in the course of applied and basic research, teaching and testing at Florida State University. With regard to teaching, protocol submission and approval is required for all credit earning activities that may employ a vertebrate animal. Failure to procure approval in advance of animal use may lead to project and possibly funding suspension. It may also result in notification of the violation to the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and/or the project funding agency. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Any questions about whether or not an activity involving vertebrate animals needs ACUC approval should be directed to the ACUC Secretary or 644-4262.

Listed below are some examples of items that may use vertebrate animals and that require an ACUC Animal Use Protocol to be filed with the FSU ACUC for review and approval. This list has been generated with regard to typical projects at Florida State University however it is not all inclusive. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contact the ACUC for help in determining if a planned project needs ACUC approval.

  • Basic and applied research;
  • Graduate and undergraduate student research with or without funding;
  • Post-doctoral associates research with or without funding;
  • Courses requiring the use of animals in teaching objectives;
  • Classroom demonstrations using live animals;
  • Film School, Theatre or Fine Arts projects receiving course credit using vertebrate animals;
  • Field observation* to collect, tag, trap or just observe vertebrates;
  • Class field trips or FSU sponsored camps to collect or observe vertebrates**;
  • Animal tissue that others have collected specifically for the individual;
  • Testing of chemical or biological materials for safety or efficacy in a vertebrate animal;
  • Generation of transgenic or other genetically altered animals.

Items that do not require ACUC review and approval under PHS policy but are strongly encouraged for submission on specialized forms (forms available here):

  • Animal tissues obtained as by-products from a slaughterhouse (unless the animal was slaughtered specifically for the project which would require a full protocol);
  • Chick embryos day 17 or younger;

Items that do not require ACUC review and approval:

  • Commercially supplied antibodies, serum, organs and other vertebrate animal products obtained from licensed vendors. If such items are made specifically for the investigator (‘custom’), the investigator must supply the vendor’s PHS Assurance Number by memo to the ACUC Secretary in accordance with PHS Policy. If the company does not have a PHS Assurance number then arrangements must be made to cover the production under an FSU ACUC Animal Use Protocol.
  • Antibodies, serum, organs or other vertebrate animal tissues obtained from another investigator (either at FSU or another institution) must demonstrate approval has been granted for those procedures (provide assurance of approval to the ACUC Secretary).***
  • Surgically altered animals purchased from commercial vendors where the surgery is performed under the vendor’s ACUC protocol. All procedures and manipulations performed after animals arrive at FSU require a FSU ACUC Animal Use Protocol. Custom surgery not covered by a commercial vendor’s ACUC approval does require a FSU ACUC protocol.

** Strictly observational studies, whether the animal is unrestrained in the field or held in an enclosed space, must also be approved in so far as even the presence of the observer could potentially affect the psychological and physical health and well being of the animal. These projects also may require compliance with state and federal wildlife protection laws.

*** Individuals receiving only tissue specimens from dead animals for these activities should discuss the specific circumstances with the IACUC. Under some circumstances, projects involving non-regulated (e.g., not threatened or endangered) species that were used for another fully authorized and unrelated purpose and were to be discarded anyway ("samples of opportunity") may not need review by the entire IACUC or may be approvable using a Tissue Collection Only form. This should not be assumed, however, and it is expected that any faculty, student, or employee of FSU about to engage in these activities will contact the IACUC to discuss specific cases and will complete the necessary forms to obtain approval. Individuals should be aware that tissue from endangered species may require appropriate permits and releases even if not requiring ACUC approval.

*** Projects that involve collection or generation of materials (e.g., chemicals, biological material, etc.) by FSU faculty, students or staff that will be sent to a collaborating group for testing or other work using live vertebrate animals must have documentation on file confirming that the collaborative off campus facility is approved to conduct those procedures. The level of responsibility and involvement of campus personnel in these projects varies and abbreviated documentation may suffice in some cases. Therefore, investigators are encouraged to contact the IACUC about issues that should be addressed in this documentation to ensure that the investigator is meeting requirements.