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Institutional Animal Care Program (IACUC)

Institutional Animal Care Program
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

The mission of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is to assure the well-being and proper care of all vertebrate animals used for research and educational purposes at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and to serve the public by ensuring institutional compliance with all legal and ethical standards regarding the use of animals in research. In addition, the IACUC is engaged in assisting animal research investigators with their animal-related needs. Please refer to the important dates and deadlines drop-down menu below for specific dates of meetings and submission deadlines or click HERE to see the meeting schedule.

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Information

Fiscal Year 2023

  • Prior to submission, schedule a Veterinarian (UV) consult/pre-review LARC@utsa.edu
  • Submit completed IACUC applications (New/Renewal, Amendments and/or Annual Progress Report (APR) with UV consult/pre-review (no UV consult/pre-review is required for APR submission, no later than deadline date of scheduled meeting. This will give all members of the committee adequate time to conduct thorough evaluations of each submission.
  • Submit to IACUC@utsa.edu by 5:00 p.m. on the application deadline. For assistance please contact the IACUC office at (210) 458-7733
The Meetings for FY2023 are scheduled for the SECOND FRIDAY of each month, starting at 1:00 PM.
Application Deadline Date IACUC Meeting Date
August 23, 2022 September 09, 2022
September 27, 2022 October 14, 2022
October 25, 2022 November 11, 2022
November 22, 2022 December 09, 2022
December 20, 2022 January 13, 2023
January 24, 2023 February 10, 2023
February 21, 2023 March 10, 2023
March 28, 2023 April 14, 2023
April 25, 2023 May 12, 2023
May 23, 2023 June 09, 2023
June 27, 2023 July 14, 2023
July 25, 2023 August 11, 2023

NOTE: It is essential to submit protocols by the deadline in order to give all members of the committee adequate time to do thorough evaluations of each protocol.

Submit completed New/Renewal Applications, Amendments and/or Annual Progress Reports written on the MS Word forms found on the IACUC website electronically to IACUC@utsa.edu by 5:00 p.m. on the application deadline. For assistance please contact the IACUC office at (210) 458-7733.

The Semi-Annual Animal Facilities Inspections and Program Evaluation will be conducted in September/October 2022 and March/April 2023. The Facilities Inspections will include all laboratories where animals undergo procedures to include satellite labs.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at UTSA requires all individuals engaged in animal-based research to complete the UTSA Animal User Training Program. This training requirement is in accordance with the policies and guidelines set forth in the “Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals”; the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals”; the USDA Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations; and UTSA policies.

UTSA enjoys AAALAC International accreditation, that is recognized around the world as the “Gold Standard” of animal care and use.

The IACUC, in partnership with the Laboratory Animal Resources Center (LARC), is pleased to offer this training program to investigators and research staff to promote safe, humane handling of animals as well as teach the latest techniques that are often required in experimental studies.

Animal Training Requirements

Please click HERE to review the UTSA Animal User Training Program Requirements Checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the FAQ document (PDF)

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  1. Submit completed UTSA protocol application form(s) electronically to the IACUC Office on or before the applicable submission deadline.
  2. Application is placed on Agenda for next meeting and distributed to IACUC for Full Committee Review.
  3. Chair assigns Primary Reviewer to present for discussion by committee at regular meeting on 2nd Friday of each month.
  4. Possible outcomes of IACUC review are reflected in the Score assigned to the application:
    1. Approved as written
    2. Tabled Pending Modifications and Re-review by Chairman
    3. Tabled Pending Modifications and Re-review by IACUC at next convened meeting
    4. Declined (Disapproved)
  5. Decision Notification. With a Score of 2, 3 or 4, the protocol application is returned to PI with written notification of the concerns of the committee.
  6. Time required for subsequent actions/approval is heavily dependent upon the actions taken by the PI. A Score of “2” means that the revised application needs only to be re-reviewed by the Chairman (and any other IACUC member who either specifically requests to be involved in the re-review or is asked by the Chairman to participate). That re-review can be done as soon the PI revises the application in light of the Decision Notification. If an application receives a Score of “3”, there are more substantive concerns with it, and the committee has voted to have the revision re-reviewed by the Full Committee at the meeting for which the submission of the revision meets the submission deadline. Clearly, the PI has the larger role in determining how long it takes to get his/her application approved.
  7. Under certain limited circumstances, application can be reviewed by Expedited Review. Contact the IACUC office (iacuc@utsa.edu, (210) 458-7733) for information. This procedure imposes an added burden to the committee members, so it is used sparingly and only when justified. Only the Chairman can approve the use of this procedure.

Why must we have an IACUC?

All institutions that use vertebrate animals for research, teaching, research training and biological testing are required to create an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee and evaluate all aspects of the institution’s animal care and use program. The IACUC is a self-regulating body mandated by two Federal agencies and the regulations and policies they are charged with enforcing: 1.) the Animal Welfare Act and its amendments, which are administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and 2.) the Health Research Extension Act and its amendments, which are administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW).

Who sits on the IACUC?

The IACUC must be comprised of a minimum of five members including a veterinarian with special knowledge of laboratory animal medicine who has prescribed program responsibilities; a scientist experienced in laboratory animal procedures; a non-scientist; and a non-affiliated member (a person who has no affiliation with the university other than being a member of the IACUC and who represents general community interest in proper animal care). The UTSA IACUC consists of 9 voting members possessing the qualifications listed above, and two non-voting members involved in supervisory aspects of the Laboratory Animal Resources Center (LARC). Two alternate members have also been appointed.

What are the responsibilities of the IACUC?

The responsibilities of the IACUC include, but are not limited to the following list.
The IACUC will:

  1. Inspect all of the animal facilities, including animal study areas and satellite facilities at least once every six months.
  2. Review the Animal Care Program for the utilization of animals in research at least once every six months.
  3. Review and approve, require modifications to, or withhold approval of animal care and use protocols.
  4. Review and investigate legitimate concerns involving the care and use of laboratory animals raised by the public, employees or students.
  5. Suspend animal use activities if non-compliance is verified; take corrective action and report both the non-compliance and the corrective action taken to the Institution al Official and funding agencies.

Is the IACUC responsible for judging the scientific merit of proposals?
According to OLAW FAQ D.12:

Peer review of the scientific and technical merit of an application is considered the purview of the NIH Scientific Review Groups (SRGs), which are composed of scientific experts from the extramural research community in a particular area of expertise. However, SRGs also have authority to raise specific animal welfare concerns that can require resolution prior to a grant award.

Although not intended to conduct peer review of research proposals, the IACUC is expected to include consideration of the U.S. Government Principles in its review of protocols. Principle II calls for an evaluation of the relevance of a procedure to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society. Other PHS Policy review criteria refer to sound research design, rationale for involving animals, and scientifically valuable research. Presumably a study that could not meet these basic criteria is inherently unnecessary and wasteful and, therefore, not justifiable.

The primary focus of the SRG is scientific merit and the primary focus of the IACUC is animal welfare. The two bodies have differing constitutions, mandates and functions. However, since it is not entirely possibly to separate scientific value from animal welfare some overlap is inevitable. SRGs may raise concerns about animal welfare and IACUCs may question the scientific rationale or necessity for a procedure. [A1]”

There are situations in which it would be necessary or advantageous to the IACUC to have non-members attend meetings to provide input or advice, or simply to observe the operational procedures of the committee. Examples of such situations would include clarifications of proposals to use unusual or novel equipment, materials and/or procedures to enhance the committee’s understanding of the details of specific animal use proposals.

  1. At times it may be important for certain UTSA administrators to be aware of IACUC operations or agenda items to be discussed in specific IACUC meetings. Thus, if invited by the IACUC Chair or Director, administrators at or above the level of Department Chair, or likewise, Chairpersons of other compliance or safety committees that have oversight over issues of common interest, will be allowed to attend all or certain portions of specific IACUC meetings. Such persons will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement in a form acceptable to the IACUC prior to attending any IACUC meeting.
  2. The IACUC Chair or Director may also invite a PI (or his/her designated representative) to attend a portion of an IACUC meeting that includes an agenda item relating to that PI. The PI (or his/her designated representative) will be allowed to attend the meeting solely to provide IACUC members with information about the pertinent item and must leave the meeting before the IACUC begins deliberations thereon. All PIs (or their designated representatives) will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement in a form acceptable to the IACUC prior to attending any IACUC meeting.
Policies  

Contact Staff

Yolanda Acosta
Senior Research Compliance Coordinator
Location: GSR 2.128F
P: (210) 458-7733
E: IACUC@utsa.edu