Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

 

Navigating Sponsored Programs During the COVID-19 Response

At this time, ORSP, Grants Accounting, and other business units are conducting business as usual for research administration.

There is not yet any federal-wide or state-wide guidance published regarding the effects of the evolving COVID-19 response on recipients’ ability to fulfill our programmatic and administrative obligations.

 As such we are relying on individual sponsors’ websites and list serves for updates on the agency-specific responses/plans regarding submission deadlines, reporting deadlines, work stoppages or slow-downs, and possible project period extensions. 

 Do not hesitate to contact your Pre-Award Specialist or Award Manager with any questions about your awards or proposals.

 MTSU’s response plan at this time does not impose any limits on the conduct of research and other sponsored work other than the 1) out-of-state travel cancellation, and 2) unavailability of undergraduate student workers.  Please know that MTSU’s generous continuation of wages for undergraduate students who are unable to report for work is not an allowable expense for sponsored projects, and will not be charged to your grants.

 While individual agencies may ultimately allow compensation paid during work stoppages, we do not expect that to be a state-wide or federal-wide response.  Additionally, in those cases where the compensation is allowed, we have no indication that additional funding will be available to pay for the effort necessary to fulfill the project once work resumes.  If grant-funded student workers do report for work, their time should be reported and charged to the grant.  Also, pursuant to the message from Human Resources on the matter, graduate student assistants must to report to work in order to receive compensation, in the form of wages or stipend, and to continue to qualify for tuition assistance.

 ORSP recommends that faculty with active or planned work with federal agencies periodically visit the Council on Government Relations’ (COGR) comprehensive directory to federal agency guidance during the public health emergency:  Institutional and Agency Responses to COVID-19 and Additional Resources.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a regulatory body comprising MTSU faculty who are appointed by the University's President through the recommendations from the Institution's Faculty Senate.  The IACUC is responsible for reviewing the activities that involve the use of animals to enforce humane & ethical practices to be adopted by the University employees.  MTSU adopts the following minimum requirement for the Committee's constitution thereby complying with the requirements of both USDA and PHS.

IACUC Membership

Voting Members
  1. Chair – The leader of the oversight program who does not have to be a scientist but he/she fosters conversations by ensuring the review processes are fair
  2. Attending Veterinarian (AV) – Trained and experienced in laboratory practices & medicine relating animals who also serves as a liaison to animal sciences by critiquing animal treatment
  3. Scientist – Expert(s) in animal research with a strong scientific ability to critique, assess and propose alternatives to the proposed activities
  4. Nonscientist – A person with no science background who provides critical ethical views from a nonscientific perspective thereby serving as a strong advocate to the research subjects
  5. Nonaffiliated – A community member who is not affiliated with MTSU and in most instances is also a nonscientist who provides unbiased views thereby representing the opinion of the general public
Non-Voting Members
  • Institutional Official (IO) – The administrative leader of the University’s animal program who is a ranking official with Institutional authority to commit and allocate resources for the program
  • Compliance Officer (CO) – The chief enforcer of the federal guidelines and serves as a liaison between the IACUC and the MTSU research community
  • Ex-Officio – Campus-wide administrative members who oversee other regulatory process at MTSU

The role of the non-voting administrative officials in the MTSU IACUC is to ensure that the University’s commitment to foster a culture of compliance is adequately met.  The chief duties of these administrative members is to provide additional Institutional support to the review process but not to intervene with the committee’s decisions thereby allowing total autonomy to the IACUC members.  Although the institutional authorities will not interfere with the IACUC’s approval process, they can however hold or defer a protocol that has been approved by the IACUC for reasons relating to resource constraints or feasibility to conduct the study at MTSU. 

IACUC Roles & Responsibilities

As stated before, the primary role of the IACUC is to provide regulatory oversight for animal use in activities leading to research, testing or teaching.  In addition, the IACUC also conducts routine audits and inspections of various University facilities to ensure they function within the University's assurance for compliance.  
 
Semi-annual Inspection - A team comprising of voting and non-voting members of the IACUC will conduct bi-annual inspecttion all of the animal facilities within MTSU.  An exhaustive check list is used to determine if the facilities are compliant with the federal code.  The IACUC will make recommendations when deficiencies are noticed and will take prompt action if their recommendations are not implemented immediately.  
 
Semi-annual Program Review - Along with the inspection, the IACUC also reviews the policies and procedures through a quorum at a convened meeting.  Action items are identified by the members to be completed appropriate individual(s).  A report highlighting the current status of the animal program and potential challenges is drafted by the IACUC. 
 
Annual Report - The IACUC also compiles an delivers an annual report to the Institutional Official (IO) at the end of each calendar year.  This will be a compilation of the two semi-annual reports from the same year.  The annual report from the IACUC will be forwarded to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW).  

USDA Definition of "Animal"

Animal means any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warm blooded animal, which is being used, or is intended for use for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. This term excludes: Birds, rats of the genus Rattus and mice of the genus Mus bred for use in research, and horses not used for research purposes and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to livestock or poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber." With respect to a dog, the term means all dogs, including those used for hunting, security, or breeding purposes.

Public Health Service (PHS) Definition

The PHS defines research-use animals as any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research, research training, experimentation, or biological testing or for related purposes. MTSU's PHS assurance number is A4701-01.

 

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Office of Compliance

Sam H. Ingram Bldg. 010A
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Phone: 615-494-8918
Fax: 615-898-5028

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