New ARAC Guideline Approved

On April 27, 2022, the NIH Animal Research Advisory Committee approved a new Guideline on Post-Study Research Animal Disposition. The purpose of this guideline is to assist the NIH Institutes and Centers in developing an animal disposition policy to facilitate the transfer of research animals at the end of their experimental use to a person or organization for non-research use.

The new guideline is available on the OACU website here:

OACU Moderates ORS/CREx Panel on Animal Model Research Services

Moderated by OACU, and hosted by ORS/CREx, a panel presentation was held on February 24, 2022. The presentation focused on NIH's animal model services and provided researchers across the NIH with information about resources and services available. The panel featured presenters from ORS, NHGRI, and NINDS.

The event recording can be viewed here:

OACU Welcomes Deputy Director

OACU is pleased to announce Dr. Susan Harper as the Deputy Director.

Dr. Susan Harper recently served as a special scientific advisor at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, MD. She earned her B.S. in agriculture at West Virginia University and a D.V.M. at Louisiana State University, and started her professional career in food animal medicine. She practiced for 8 years before enrolling in a post-doctoral residency and Master’s degree program at the Penn State University College of Medicine, where she continued to serve as an assistant professor for 2 years following graduation. She left academia to pursue a career with the federal government and has served in a variety of research, clinical, policy, and regulatory roles at NIH, FDA, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and USDA. Dr. Harper has achieved board certification in the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and certification as a registered biosafety professional through the American Biological Safety Association. She also serves on AAALAC Council, the National Research Council Standing Committee for the Care and Use of Animals in Research, and is an active member of numerous scientific and professional organizations associated with veterinary medicine, laboratory animal welfare, research safety, and biosecurity.

OACU welcomes Dr. Harper to her new position.

OACU to Launch New Training Course

Beginning in December 2021, OACU will offer a new hands-on training course - The Biomethodology of the Laboratory Mouse. This four-hour course will focus on basic mouse handling, injection, blood collection, and genotyping techniques.

Classes will be offered three times a week, and registration is available online here:

Please note that due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, class size is limited to four attendees.

Animal Care Workers Appreciated on Director’s ‘Gratitude Tour’ Call

Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director, continued making his rounds to thank groups and individuals for their dedicated work over the last nearly 2 years under pandemic conditions. He recently visited virtually with animal care workers in a call hosted by Dr. Stephen Denny, Director of the NIH Office of Animal Care and Use, and Ms. Heather Smith, Associate Director of the NIH Office of Animal Care and Use.

Read the entire article here:

Dr. Francis Collins to Step Down as NIH Director

On October 5, 2021, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced his decision to end his tenure as the director of the National Institutes of Health by the end of the year. Dr. Collins is the longest serving presidentially appointed NIH director, having served three U.S. presidents over more than 12 years.

Read more here.

The Important Role of Animal Research in mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Development

“The Important Role of Animal Research in mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Development” is now available online.

The National Academy of Sciences Scientist Series educates the public on animal research contributions to science, animal, and human health, with information contributed by an expert in the field. The series was developed by the ILAR Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use and the first article, written in collaboration with the NIAID Policy, Planning, and Evaluation Branch (PP&E), explains how mouse, hamster, and primate research contributed to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. Read the article here.

New ARAC Supplement to Define Major Modifications

The ARAC released a supplement to the DDIR Policy Memo on Scientific Merit Review for the Use of Nonhuman Primates, which required new Animal Study Proposals (ASPs) involving NHPs and their major modifications be reviewed for scientific merit in addition to the review performed by the IC Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) for animal welfare-related issues. The supplement provides additional information and guidance related to this DDIR Policy Memo, including a definition of major modifications.

Updated Animal Bite, Scratch, Splash, and Exposure Guidelines

The OACU updated guidelines contain bite, scratch, splash and other exposure (BSSE) incident response measures and follow up risk assessments required for all research animal bites, scratches, splashes, or other exposure incidents, but primarily address NHP BSSE incidents with a focus on decreasing B virus infections. These guidelines are also meant to supplement NIH Manual Chapter 3044-2: Protection of NIH Personnel Who Work with Nonhuman Primates and DDIR/IO Policy Memo Updates to the Nonhuman Primate Users Safety Program.

Why do NIH Deer Wear Ear Tags?

Have you ever wondered why the White-Tailed Deer on the NIH Bethesda Campus have ear tags? They are part of a wildlife research study done at the NIH through the Division of Veterinary Resources (DVR). This study is designed to provide sterilization surgery to maintain a natural amount of deer to the amount of space on the campus. Dr. Tom Thomas, who oversees the program, said that “this is an alternative to relocating the deer, euthanizing the deer or to providing birth control to the deer, and it is working well to keep our deer population in check.” Read the entire article here.

This page was last updated on Thursday, February 11, 2021