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The IACUC at Eckerd

Composition and functions, and the research review process

The IACUC, according to PHS Policy, must be composed of at least 5 members, and must include a veterinarian, a scientist, and a public member (unaffiliated with EC). The IACUC reviews each proposed research project, and significant changes to ongoing projects, to confirm that they will be conducted in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, are consistent with the Guide, and meet a variety of additional requirements including the minimization of pain, discomfort and distress.

More specific IACUC functions:

  • Inspection of animal facilities
  • Evaluation of programs and animal-activity areas
  • Submission of reports to responsible institutional officials
  • Review of protocols for proposed uses of animals in research, testing, or education
  • Establishment of a mechanism for receipt and review of concerns involving the care and use of animals at Eckerd College
  • Meet at least once every 6 months
  • Keep records of meetings and results of deliberations should be maintained
  • Review the program and inspect facilities at least once every 6 months, and send written report to the responsible administrative officials on the status of the animal care and use program

Use of Animals in Research

Conducting research with animal subjects

Research involving living animals has contributed significantly to the fields of science, and to the advancement of medicine in the last century. As undergraduates, Eckerd students are fortunate to have the opportunity to engage in high quality student-faculty research. Such opportunities dramatically enhance their ability to matriculate to prestigious graduate and veterinary/medical programs. To continue to provide these opportunities for the growing number of interested students, the College and its faculty must continue to secure funding from local and national sources. Most agencies that provide funding for research involving animals, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association, require proof of approval by an official Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before an application involving the use of animals will even be considered for an award.

An IACUC is necessary to provide legal protection for the College should persons within or outside the Eckerd community take issue with any research or educational activities on campus that involve live animals. All activities involving animals must be in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, such as the federal Animal Welfare Regulations (AWRs; CFR 1985), and Public Health Service Policy on Human Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy 1996). The IACUC oversees and evaluates the teaching and research programs at EC to ensure that they are in compliance with the policy regarding the care and use of laboratory animals in teaching and research.

Research with animal subjects at Eckerd

Eckerd College is a small private four-year liberal arts college on the west coast of Florida in St. Petersburg. The institution has a strong history of graduating scientists who go on to obtain advanced degrees. Because of its location on Boca Ciega Bay, it has also had a natural affinity towards marine science, biology and environmental studies. The over thirty-five members of the natural science faculty are dedicated to teaching, mentoring, and doing active research with students. Although the research projects sometimes use invertebrate animals or preserved animal tissues, certain concepts can only be taught or investigated when living vertebrate organisms are employed. Thus, one of Eckerd’s goals is to provide training and a commitment to the humane care and use of animals in both the laboratory and the field. Eckerd students develop an appreciation for both the responsibility and privilege of using animals in educational or research endeavors.

The Eckerd Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews all proposals for the use of animals in research and education on Eckerd’s campus to make sure that they are “in accord with the highest scientific, human and ethical principles” (Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals).