Protocol Review

What activities are exempted from review? 

NONE!  Any activities involving the use of live vertebrates (captive or free-ranging) must be reviewed by the IACUC.  Even if all you are doing is watching free-ranging animals through a spotting scope.

Do I need an approved IACUC Protocol to trap wild animals if I already have the required ADF&G trapping permit and landowner permission?

YES!  Any activity involving vertebrate animals that is part of teaching or research at UAF or by UAF personnel requires approval of the IACUC.

I am working on a project running through a wildlife management agency. Do I need to file a protocol?

YES!  If you are a UAF faculty member, graduate student, or staff member you must file a Protocol Application form.  Although the UAF IACUC has no jurisdiction over agency (ADF&G, USF&WS, etc.) projects, we still review UAF involvement in the research and may ask for clarification of, or suggest modifications to objectives, research design, and procedures.  This committee may terminate UAF involvement if the agency project does not comply with applicable regulation, policy, guidelines, or accepted practices for the responsible conduct of research involving live vertebrates.

I am a Research Associate - do I need to file a Protocol Application?

Research Associates and Research Faculty come in a wide array of types.  You must file a Protocol Application any time you are involved in a project with ties to UAF (for example: funding is channeled through UAF, a UAF student is using the project for his/her thesis research, or you are using UAF animals/animal facilities).  In other words, any time you use your UAF affiliation you must file a protocol.  Research Associates and Affiliate Faculty employed by another organization (e.g. ADF&G) who are conducting work for their own agency or institution need not file. If you are unsure -- please ask!

I am a graduate student - how do I file a Protocol Application?

As a graduate student you will likely be required to fill out the form; however, you must list your supervisor as the Principle Investigator.  He or she is responsible for your training, the successful completion of your project, and the well-being of animals used in your research project; therefore, they must review and approve the application.  If there is another PI (i.e. an agency employee) please contact the IACUC Chair to determine who gets listed as the PI on the Protocol.

I am just catching fish and killing them to collect tissues for my study. Do I need to file a protocol? 

Yes.  The capture and euthanasia of fish are covered activities.  You must provide the following minimal information about your work in the appropriate sections of the form: objectives, sample size, scientific methodology, capture technique, and euthanasia technique.  What you are collecting (liver for p450 analysis, kidney for heavy metal analysis, liver stable isotopes, stomach content for prey species, etc) addresses the scientific methodology and ultimately the justification to kill fish.  However, the specifics of blood and tissue collection techniques are only required if you collect samples PRIOR to killing the animals.  You need not describe details of the tissue collection in your protocol if you humanely euthanize the animal first.

I am collecting tissues from animals killed by subsistence hunters. Do I need to file a protocol?

Only if the funding agency requires a review.  The hunting and killing of these animals are not part of the scientific protocol and are not subject to IACUC review.  You are not working on the animals until after they are dead and, since you are not the one doing the killing, a review is not required.  On the other hand, if you hire a hunter to kill animals for the purpose of scientific collection then you must justify your work and you must submit a Protocol Application to the IACUC.

I am using chick embryos. Do I need to file my protocol?

Only if your research will take the embryo to the stage of hatching.  You need not file a Protocol if the chick embryos are killed prior to hatching.

Can the IACUC stop my research project after a protocol has been approved?

Yes.  The IACUC can suspend activities if animals under your care experience a high morbidity/mortality rate, animal welfare is at risk, or activities taking place have not been reviewed and approved by the IACUC. The IACUC with the PI will review the situation and, if required, make modifications to the protocol.  NIH's OLAW and USDA must be notified if any suspension of activities occur.  Suspension of a protocol by vet services to correct unforeseen problems is not typically a reportable event.  A PI typically runs into problems if they are conducting unapproved projects or they have been negligent in their animal care.