About the IACUC Program

By law, the IACUC must be composed of, at a minimum, three members: a chairperson, a veterinarian with training or experience in laboratory animal medicine, and a non-affiliated member. A committee of this size would not be able to accomplish the numerous regulatory tasks required of the committee. To share the responsibility, as well as the work-load, the university IACUC is composed a variety of members including:

  • Chair
  • Veterinarian
  • Scientist
  • Non-scientist
  • Non-affiliated Member

The IACUC utilizes consultants, when required, for specific protocol review. The consultant may offer opinions and advice, but may not vote on any application for use.

According to the 9th Code of Federal Regulations (CFR9), it is the responsibility of the chief executive officer (CEO) of the institution (in our case, Georgia State President Mark Becker) to appoint all members of the IACUC, and the institutional official (IO). The CEO has delegated, in writing, the authority to appoint the IACUC members to the IO, James A. Weyhenmeyer, Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

As a Georgia State decision making body, the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) ensures that all animals in experimental research are used appropriately and treated in accordance with the highest standards of humane care. The program must include:

  • a properly constituted and functioning Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC);
  • procedures for self-monitoring;
  • an adequate veterinary care program;
  • an occupational health and safety program;
  • a personnel training program;
  • an environment, housing and management program for animals; and
  • appropriately maintained facilities for housing and support.
  • The IACUC represents society's concerns regarding the welfare of animal subjects used and is expected to be the conscience for the institute on animal welfare concerns.

    The IACUC is responsible for keeping abreast of changes in animal use legislation and guidelines and recommending modifications to the institution's program to ensure that research and the animal use program fully comply with the letter and spirit of the law.

    The IACUC is not a scientific review group, per se. All projects should have received appropriate, mission related and scientifically sound reviews (by the grant review process) prior to reaching the IACUC. However, humane treatment and scientific methodology are closely related and often inseparable concepts. Therefore, the committee may discuss and review science only as it relates specifically to animal use.

    While the IACUC has numerous responsibilities in terms of program oversight, the duty most identified with IACUC is protocol review. IACUC conducts a thorough and comprehensive review of all new proposals and amendments to existing protocols.

    All continuing protocols that involve covered species under the Animal Welfare Act also receive annual review to ensure that no significant deviations from established and approved procedures have occurred. All principal investigators that work with AWA covered species are required to complete an annual review report as part of this process.

    When reviewing protocols, the IACUC ensures that:

    • All procedures involving animals will avoid or minimize pain and distress to the animal(s).
    • The principal investigator has considered alternatives to procedures that cause more than momentary pain or distress to the animals.
    • The principal investigator has provided written assurance that the protocol proposed does not unnecessarily duplicate previous experiments.
    • Appropriate anesthetics and analgesics are used when necessary.
    • Personnel are properly trained to perform the proposed procedures.
    • Activities that involve surgery provide for appropriate pre-operative and post-operative care and that aseptic practices are followed.
    • Methods of euthanasia are consistent with methods set forth by the  American Veterinary Medical Association's Panel on Euthanasia.

    The IACUC is required to inspect, at least once every six months, the research institute's animal facilities, including animal study areas, which are defined as any area in which animal work is performed. Not only is the physical facility inspected, such as animal housing and facility maintenance, but the entire animal program is reviewed. This involves reviewing animal health records, observing surgery, reviewing post-operative records, and reviewing the biosafety, chemical safety, radiation safety and occupational health program, as well as all USDA inspections; deficiencies, if noted, and responses to those deficiencies in order to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare ActGuide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
    The IACUC makes a written report of its findings following the programmatic review and inspection. This report must be signed by a majority of committee members and must include any minority views, if such views are expressed during the program inspection. This report is submitted to the IO along with copies of the previous six month's meeting minutes. The results of the programmatic review and the inspections are transmitted to the Divisions of Animal Resources management and the individual researchers with recommendations or suggestions for improvement or corrections of noted deficiencies. The time frame correction is given with each individual review. Problem areas not satisfactorily resolved by this communication mechanism are subsequently transmitted (with recommendations) to the institutional official for ultimate resolution.

    The IACUC reviews and investigates, if necessary, any concerns involving the care and use of animals at the research institution resulting from complaints or reports of noncompliance. The IACUC has the authority to suspend an activity that it previously had approved if it determines that the activity is not being conducted in accordance with the description provided by the investigator in his/her protocol.

    If you have any questions, please contact the IACUC office:

    Margaret “Casey” Kilcullen-Steiner, MS, LATG
    Assistant Director, IACUC
    Telephone: (404) 413-3508
    E-mail: iacuc@gsu.edu