June 29, 2016

The AAALAC Council on Accreditation has extended U-M's probationary accreditation status for an additional two months, effective June 21, 2016. The Council is pleased with the advances made thus far to implement several long-term, campus-wide strategies to strengthen and enhance U-M's Animal Care & Use Program, and acknowledges that additional time is needed to continue these advancements.
By August 21, leadership will provide AAALAC with a progress report detailing the latest programmatic updates, with an emphasis on:
  • Updated metrics used to create a more efficient, effective, and transparent
    Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC),
  • Ongoing efforts to develop a more simplified program structure, and
  • The University's continued commitment to comprehensive changes and improvements
    to its Animal Care & Use Program.
Throughout these ongoing discussions with AAALAC, U-M has remained an accredited institution. Ensuring that all faculty and staff use best practices in their research and day-to-day operations continues to be a key component of our program's collective success and in strengthening a culture of sustained excellence in animal care and use. We thank you for your diligence in this matter.
If you have any questions regarding AAALAC or our accreditation status, please contact the Animal Care & Use Office at acuoffice@umich.edu.

Latest Animal Care & Use Program Activities:
Revisit Your Continuity of Operations Plan
in Light of Recent Power Outage COOP

Many of you may have experienced the short power outage on Tuesday, June 21 that affected several buildings on campus. These smaller, unexpected interruptions to normal operations are good reminders to revisit and update our larger disaster plans. The U-M Department of Emergency Management has now begun using the term "COOP" (Continuity of Operations Plan) more widely across campus, and ALL units/departments should have one. If you care for your own research animals, you are required to have a COOP.
Projects involving animals often occur around the clock, 365 days a year; having a plan that identifies points of contact at least three individuals deep, and ensuring that you have the appropriate back up plans in place, is critical. Please take this opportunity to revisit your area's COOP and make updates accordingly. You may even want to consider a small group exercise to walk through what your team would have done if your lab lost power for 3 - 4 hours or longer. Think about the following when drafting/revising your plan:
  • What would be impacted?
  • How would you respond?
  • Who would serve as the main point of contact for your lab?
  • What if your main point of contact was unavailable at the time of the outage?
Remember, we plan so that if the unexpected occurs, we can be ready. For more information on how to create a COOP, or to download a template to start your planning, visit the Division of Public Safety & Security's Emergency Management website. (The editable template can be downloaded as a Word document from the left sidebar. Level-1 U-M login is required to download).
Making a Move? Check the Cage Card Twice! Cage.Card.Check

In recent weeks, several incidents in which animals went missing from a room and were found to be taken by the wrong lab have been reported. This is not only a compliance issue; it can cause significant delays in research.
These mistakes also add time and labor costs that had gone into caring for the animals, whose purpose is no longer valid for the intended study, to both the affected lab and to the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM). The Animal Care & Use Program would like to ask that you take the time to check and double-check the name, protocol number, and other details listed on the cage card BEFORE removing any mice from an animal room.
ULAM cannot assure that cages and racks will always be in the exact same location on a day-to-day basis. To ensure that studies are not negatively impacted and that additional costs are not incurred, please make sure that you and your staff take time to validate that the animals do indeed belong to you and are the correct animals for your study PRIOR to moving them.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your area's animal care supervisor
or the ULAM Business Office at ULAM-QUESTIONS@umich.edu or (734) 764-0277.
What Your Lab Needs to Know About HEPA Filters HEPA.Filters

AAALAC inspectors have noted the use of shop and hand-held vacuums being used in animal areas to remove bedding, hair and dander from floors, biosafety cabinets, and other areas. These types of vacuums, without proper high efficiency particular air (HEPA) filters, can aerosolize bedding dust, allergens and infectious agents, and spread them throughout the work area. This makes these vacuums inappropriate for this type of application unless a HEPA filter is installed.
Each individual user should evaluate their use of vacuums in animal care facilities according to the following scenarios:
  1. If a vacuum is present in the area but is not being used for any purpose, please relocate, discard, or put it into storage so that AAALAC inspectors have no reason to question why it is present.
  2. If a non-HEPA filtered vacuum is present in the area but is not used for animal-related activities, please make sure it is clearly labeled "NOT FOR ANIMAL USE" and ensure that everyone in the area understands this restriction.
  3. If a vacuum is needed in the area for animal use, it must either be a certified HEPA vacuum or, if it is a shop-type vacuum, it must only be used with a HEPA filter. Many shop vacuums do have HEPA-style filters that can be installed. Please check with the manufacturer or supplier of the vacuum to determine if it can be fitted with a HEPA filter, and purchase the filter system appropriate to your specific model. 

Proper HEPA Filter Maintenance

While HEPA filters become more efficient at filtering out the dust particles as the filter loads, you will reach a point where the suction is inadequate to pick up the debris. You should follow the manufacturer's recommendations on filter replacement. If no recommendations are available, the filter should be changed at least annually, or sooner, if it becomes overloaded. Please do not attempt to wash the filters, as it may promote mold growth.  
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Department of Occupational Safety & Environmental Health (OSEH) at (734) 647-1142.
First Deadline for New Training Requirement Fast Approaching Training.July15

As a reminder, Principal Investigators (PIs) with last names beginning in A-M are required by the IACUC to complete the online MLearning course ULAM-60000 Orientation for Animal Care and Use Refresher by Friday, July 15, 2016.
Department Chairs will be notified of any PIs in this group with incomplete training on Friday,
July 1. On July 15, any remaining non-compliant PIs will be subject to IACUC review and suspension of protocols.
To complete the training, login to MLearning at https://trainingportal.med.umich.edu. If you have already completed this training, no further action is required.
Self-help steps for using MLearning are available here. For additional assistance, or if you have any questions, please contact the ULAM Training Core at (734) 763-8039 or ulam-trainingcore@umich.edu.
The next training requirement deadline is Friday, August 19 for Principal Investigators with last names beginning in N-Z. Complete your training today to avoid a possible non-compliance notification!
Additional Enrichment for Singly Housed Animals Single.Housed.Enrichment

Image courtesy of Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.
In social species, social housing can significantly reduce stress. As singly housed animals lack access to this resource, The Guide recommends that singly housed animals receive additional enrichment. Examples of environmental enrichment include nesting materials for mice and hide or gnawing opportunities for rats. The objectives of environmental enrichment are to provide sensory and motor stimulation and aid in the expression of species-specific behaviors. 
Therefore, beginning on Friday, July 1, all singly housed animals will be provided additional enrichment. This additional item will be added to the home cage on the first cage change an animal is noted to be singly housed. Any additional enrichment provided will be listed in the species-specific Approved Animal Enrichment Database and will be different from the enrichment item already present in their home cage.

Please see the updated Environmental Enrichment for Animals SOP for more information. This SOP change will not supersede any study specific requirements for withholding enrichment as justified in your approved animal use protocol.

If you have any additional questions please contact Dr. Jennifer Lofgren, Associate Attending Veterinarian for Practice Standards and Enrichment, at jlofgren@umich.edu
Fowlkes to Step Down as UMOR AVP Fowlkes.AVP

Dr. Brian Fowlkes will be stepping down from his position as Associate Vice President for Research - Health Sciences in the U-M Office of Research (UMOR) as his term expires on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Dr. Fowlkes has played a leading role in dealing with a wide range of animal care and use issues across the University during his time as AVP. He will return full-time to his duties as Professor of Radiology in the Medical School and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering and the Medical School. 
Animal Research Spotlight Animal.Research.Spotlight

What if it didn't take an embryo to make a truly pluripotent stem cell -- just a temporary infusion of a drug that keeps cells from reading key chapters of their DNA? In a surprising new finding, U-M Medical School scientists have shown that a drug developed at U-M can achieve this -- at least in mice.

Writing in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the team reported that more than half of mouse epiblast stem cells treated with the drug reversed course within three days. They regained an embryonic "be anything" state, also called pluripotency. Read more
For more information about the Animal Care & Use Program at the University of Michigan, CLICK HERE.
Our mission in the Animal Care & Use Office is to support the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, fostering sustained excellence in animal care and use in scientific research and education, and promoting the philosophy that the highest animal welfare standards are necessary for impactful science.