The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), as mandated by federal law, oversees and evaluates all aspects of the institution's animal care and use program. The IACUC assures that animal research conducted at the University of Houston remains in full compliance with federal, state and local regulations and institutional policies.
The administrative structure of the animal care and use program includes three (3) components. These components work hand-in-hand to ensure the highest standards:
The animal care and use program is the ultimate responsibility of the Chancellor/President of the University of Houston, who has delegated responsibility for the program to the Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer. The VC/VP for Research and Technology Transfer serves as Institutional Official (IO), a position defined by federal law and PHS Policy. The Attending Veterinarian/Executive Director of Animal Care Operations and the Director of Research Compliance (where the IACUC office is housed) report directly to the IO. The Chair of the IACUC and the IO meet on a regular basis and maintain an open line of communication regarding all aspects of the animal care and use program.
The Attending Veterinarian
The Attending Veterinarian (AV) is responsible for the well-being and clinical care of animals used in research, testing, teaching, and production. This responsibility extends to monitoring and promoting animal well-being at all times during animal use, and during all phases of the animal's life. The program of veterinary care must uphold the highest standards of care and ethics. The AV at UH is also the Executive Director of Animal Care Operations, and has oversight over all aspects of the veterinary care program, including housing and husbandry.
Oversight of the animal care and use program with respect to compliance with laws and policy is the responsibility of the IACUC. Committee members are appointed by the IO, and fulfill specified roles including veterinarian, practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals, non-scientist, and at least one member who is not affiliated with the University. Responsibilities of the IACUC are federally mandated and include (but are not limited to) protocol review, semi-annual review of facilities and the complete animal care and use program, ensuring all research personnel are appropriately trained, and investigating/reporting noncompliance.
Within the IACUC office, the IACUC Coordinator handles the administrative processes related to committee function, such as the receiving and routing research protocols based on submission deadlines, supporting IACUC meetings and follow-up communications with investigators, and organizing and following up with investigators regarding facility inspections. The IACUC veterinarian provides veterinary pre-review for all research involving animals and serves in an advisory capacity to research investigators in the veterinary aspects of protocol design. Both positions are actively involved in post-approval monitoring and the education of committee members and research teams.
The main phone line for the IACUC office is (713) 743-5671, and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitting a Protocol
In order to use vertebrate animals in research or teaching, an animal protocol must be completed and reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). No ordering or use of animals may begin prior to receiving written approval of the IACUC. Animal Care and Use protocols are submitted via the ICON online system: IACUC Submission