Nicole Monts de Oca, Clincial Veterinarian
Charles Sikes, Assistant Director
Latisha Gray, Sr. Animal Resources Supervisor
Shelley Harkness, Animal Resources Supervisor
What is the difference between ACO and the IACUC?
Animal Care Operations (ACO): ACO provides professional veterinary and husbandry services to support animals used in biomedical and behavioral research, including the maintenance of standards for animals, facilities, equipment, and procedures defined by the governing regulations and accreditation organizations. This is attained by providing such services to the Investigative staff as: animal procurement, training, veterinary consultation in research design, transportation of animals, and veterinary care. ACO is not involved in the administrative aspects of the IACUC office (e.g. receipt, routing and processing of IACUC protocols), although the Attending Veterinarian is a voting member of the IACUC.
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC): The IACUC is not involved in the day-to-day business operations of ACO,with respect to billing, per diem charges, and/or housing assignments. The IACUC is a standing committee of the university whose primary responsibilities include the review of animal research protocols (no animal work may begin until final approval is secured), oversight of the University of Houston’s Animal Care and Use Program (primarily through semi-annual program reviews and facility inspections), post-approval monitoring of ongoing research, and conducting compliance investigations as necessary.
Animal Care Operations provides professional veterinary medical, husbandry and proposal review services to support animals used in biomedical research. The Animal Care program at the University of Houston has been accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, AAALAC International, since February 1986. The accreditation process provides continuing voluntary peer review of the Animal Care Operations program by internationally recognized experts.
The Animal Care Operations program is registered as a research facility with the United States Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act. The care and use of animals used for research at the Animal Care Operations program is based on national guidelines and Federal Regulations, including:
- The U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research and Training (PDF)
- The USDA implementing regulations, 9CFR, of the Animal Welfare Act
- U.S. Public Health Service Policy Assurance for the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PDF) negotiated with the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, OLAW
- The Guide (PDF) for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the University of Houston IACUC Guidelines for the Care and Use of Live Vertebrate Animals