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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

About the IACUC

The use of animals in research, testing and teaching is primarily governed by two federal laws and their associated regulations, policies and guidelines –

  • The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Animal Welfare Act Regulations (AWR)
  • The Health Research Extension Act (HREA) with the associated Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy; 1985) and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (1963, 2011, 8th ed).

In 1985, the Animal Welfare Act was amended to include a requirement that all research institutions establish an institutional oversight board with specified duties for assuring compliance with the AWA. At about the same time, the Health Research Extension Act required research institutions that receive PHS funding to establish animal care oversight committees. Together, these requirements led to the birth of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, or IACUC. While the specific requirements of each law and their associated regulations and policies differ slightly from one another, the overall goals are the same – to ensure the proper care of animals used for teaching and research. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is instrumental in implementing federal and local policies, and ensuring excellent care for animals.

The composition of the IACUC committee is mandated by the PHS policy and the AWARs to include:

  • Scientists (faculty researchers/educators)
  • The attending veterinarian (AV) or a veterinarian with authority to act on behalf of the AV.
  • Nonscientists (e.g. ethicists, statisticians, etc.)
  • Individuals (1 or 2) not associated with the Campus
  • Chair (Sufficient stature, e.g., seniority or tenure)

Our practice is to include faculty researchers and educators from all major units that participate in animal research or teaching at the University of Maryland (e.g. Biology, Animal Sciences, Psychology, etc.) so that protocol review is informed by expertise as much as possible.

PIs may wish to view IACUC members from their unit as resources through which the PI may obtain assistance, information, and/or clarification on protocol submission and processing.

Catherine Carr, Professor, Department of Biology

Position Statement

The IACUC adheres to the belief that the development of knowledge necessary for the improvement of the health and well-being of humans as well as other animals requires in vivo experimentation with a wide variety of animal species. In particular, the IACUC observes the principles espoused in the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources' Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

  • Procedures should be designed and performed on the basis of relevance to human or animal health, advancement of knowledge, and/or the good of society.
  • The appropriate species, quality, and number of animals should be used.
  • Discomfort, distress, and pain should be avoided or minimized in concert with sound science.
  • Appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia should be used.
  • Humane and experimental end points should be established.
  • Appropriate animal husbandry should be directed and performed by qualified persons.
  • Experimentation on living animals should only be conducted by or under the close supervision of qualified and experienced persons.

Additionally, the IACUC advocates the use of animal alternatives as described by the 3 Rs in The Principles of Humane Experimental Techniques (Russell & Burch, 1959), specifically:

  • REPLACEMENT of animals when possible,
  • REDUCTION in the animal numbers used, and
  • REFINEMENT of the animal procedures to minimize discomfort as much as possible

We also believe in a fourth R -- REPRODUCIBILITY

Currently, IACUC review applies officially only to vertebrate animals. However, it is assumed that invertebrate species (PDF) will be handled with the same degree of care and concern.

Accreditation, Assurance, and Registration


Date of Initial Accreditation: October 25, 2011
Status: Full Accreditation
Most recent site visit: October 2020


Assurance Number: A3270-01 or D16-00172 (under the new numbering system)


Customer ID: 91
Certificate Number: 51-R-0095

Committee Statistics

Request Type Type of Review Average Days to Approve
Amendments Designated Member Review (DMR) & Full Committee Review (FCR) 15 days
Amendments Veterinary Verification and Consultation (VVC) 4 days
New Protocols Designated Member Review (DMR) 20 days
New Protocols Full Committee Review (FCR) 20 days

To request a text-only version of any PDF on this page, please contact the IACUC.

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