IACUC: Animal Subjects in Research

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

The IACUC is responsible for oversight and ongoing assessment of all aspects of the institution's animal care and use program as described in the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Policy) and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide). The Committee responsibilities include:

  • Review all research and teaching protocols that involve live vertebrate animals
  • Review and approve, proposed significant changes to the use of animals in ongoing activities
  • Inspect the institution's animal facilities (animal housing, investigator laboratories, and satellite facilities)
  • Be authorized to suspend an activity involving animals
  • Investigate animal care concerns
  • Ensure all research personnel are appropriately trained and oversee animal use training/education program
  • Evaluate the University’s animal care and use program and make recommendations
  • Prepare and submit reports of the IACUC’s evaluations to University officials, regulatory bodies, and accreditation agencies

The primary oversight responsibilities of the animal care and use program includes these three (3) components.

The Institutional Official

The institutional official (IO) bears ultimate responsibility for the Program, although overall Program direction should be a shared responsibility among the IO, attending veterinarian (AV), and IACUC. The IO has the authority to allocate the resources needed to ensure alignment of Program goals with the institution’s mission. The Vice Provost for Research serves as the IO for animal care and use at Rice University. The AV, Associate Director of Research Compliance (where the IACUC office is housed), IACUC Chair, and IO maintains an open line of communication regarding all aspects of the animal care and use program.

The Attending Veterinarian

The AV is responsible for the health and well-being of all laboratory animals used at Rice University. The AV has authority, including access to all animals, and resources to manage the program of veterinary care and oversee other aspects of animal care and use (e.g., husbandry, housing) to ensure that the Program complies with the Guide. The AV also provides veterinary pre-review for all animal care and use protocols and serves as a consultant to research investigators in the veterinary aspects of protocol design.


The IACUC is responsible for oversight and routine evaluation of the animal care and use program. Committee membership includes the following: a Doctor of Veterinary, a practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals, a member from a nonscientific background, and a public member to represent general community interests in the proper care and use of animals. Within the IACUC office, the Compliance Administrator 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 is committed to ensuring compliance with all federal, state, and institutional regulations and cares deeply for animals used in research. Rice University ensures that any pain or distress animals experience is minimized, and alternatives to live animals are utilized wherever possible. Rice University is an AAALAC accredited institution (001676) that operates under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Registration 74-R-0031 and maintains an active PHS Assurance A3010-01 with the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW).

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