ARAC Approves New Appendix on Enrichment of Aquatic Species

On January 24, 2024, the NIH Animal Research Advisory Committee approved a new Appendix for Environmental Enrichment of Aquatic Species. The purpose of this document is to serve as a resource to help ICs establish an environmental enrichment program for aquatic animals to include zebrafish and Xenopus spp.

The appendix is available on the OACU website here:

New ARAC Guideline Approved

On July 26, 2023, the NIH Animal Research Advisory Committee approved a new Guideline for Assessment and Reporting of Adverse Events, Unexpected Outcomes, and Animal Welfare Concerns. The purpose of this guideline is to describe the plan for assessment and reporting of events that may adversely impact animal health and welfare.

The new guideline is available on the OACU website here:…

OACU Hosts Curious Science Writers

OACU opened its doors to two high school science writers on July 13, 2023 as part of the Americans for Medical Progress Curious Science Writers event. In collaboration with the NINDS animal program and several science writers, the students learned about the intersection of science and communication at NIH.

This event was featured in the August 18, 2023 edition of the NIH Record. Click here to read more.

NIH Policy Manual Chapter 3040-2 Revised

The full revision of NIH Policy Manual Chapter (MC) 3040-2 - Animal Care and Use in the Intramural Research Program was approved on April 14, 2023. This is the foundational policy document for the IRP’s program of animal care and use that describes the roles and responsibilities of all individuals involved in the care and use of animals, and ensures the IRP is in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, standards, and policies (i.e., PHS Policy, Animal Welfare Regulations, U.S. Government Principles, etc.). Familiarity with this document is important for all individuals working with animals at the NIH/IRP.

The revised document is available here:

OACU to Present Poster at AALAS and NCAB Meetings

OACU will present a poster titled, "Harmonizing Animal Care and Compliance in a Large Decentralized Federal Research Program" at the upcoming NCAB and AALAS annual meetings in September and October 2022, respectively.

This poster describes how OACU contributes to the success of the decentralized organizational structure of the NIH/IRP animal program by advocating global strategies to ensure compliance with regulations and accreditation standards and enhancing the humane treatment of research animals, while respecting the unique geographic and programmatic needs of the 24 Institutes and Centers.

Click here to view the poster.

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.

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