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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

To Submit a Proposal

The IACUC research proposal form is available to download and complete.

IACUC Proposal Form

Note: If you are a student, do not submit your proposal until you have received consent to do so from your faculty sponsor or research advisor. The faculty sponsor must review the IACUC form and all required materials before submission. The faculty sponsor should add their name and the date to the Form indicating that they have reviewed the proposal and approve of sending it to the IACUC for review. The IACUC will include the faculty sponsor on all email correspondence related to student proposals. 

Once you have carefully reviewed the IACUCs website and finalized your proposal, submit them to the IACUC by email to IACUC@whitman.edu with the subject line “IACUC research proposal”. Feel free to include supplemental materials as additional attachments. Make sure all files are clearly named with the last name of the principal researcher.

IACUC proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis. Initial review is typically completed within three weeks from receipt of the complete proposal. Proposals received during academic breaks may take longer. 

IACUC Structure

At Whitman College, the IACUC is appointed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who also serves as the Institutional Officer. Consistent with Public Health Service policy, the IACUC consists of at least five members including the chairperson, a veterinarian with direct or delegated program authority, a practicing scientist, a member whose primary concerns are in a nonscientific area, and a member who is not affiliated with the institution other than as a member of the IACUC.

Policies and Guidelines

Research using animals at Whitman should conform to standards established by The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW). OLAW is a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the regulating body for all activities funded by the federal government, including the NIH and NSF. OLAWs primary standards are the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the Guide for the Care and Use of Animals. Both documents are freely available at the linked locations. Researchers should familiarize themselves with the relevant portions of these documents, and use them to guide their research activities.

Risks To Consider

Whitman College prohibits any lab animals in our care from being subjected to severe and unrelieved pain and distress without approval of the Whitman IACUC. New protocols that involve animals should be submitted to the current Chair of the Committee who will distribute them to members of the IACUC. The committee reviews are intended to protect animal welfare and to ensure that any use of animals is justified and scientifically meaningful. Physical and health risks to animals need to be considered and addressed in any IACUC proposal. Possible adverse effects on animals should be specified, as well as methods established to limit harm (including methods to control pain and minimize distress).

The investigator must make appropriate provisions for care of animals in the course of the study. The investigator is responsible for terminating the study if hazards or risks become apparent or may be incompatible with the benefits of the study. Investigators must report to the IACUC any injuries or adverse reactions associated with the study.

Student Research

At Whitman College, part of the educational process includes understanding and participating in research. Students participate in the full scope of a research project, including formulating research questions, devising protocols, writing a careful description for proposed activities, carrying them out and reporting the results. In particular, students must learn to consider the ethical dimension of activities involved and any risks to animal subjects.

As with faculty and staff research, student research (or research practice) that involves animals must have approval from the IACUC.

All researchers, including students, are required to have adequate training in research ethics prior to receiving IACUC approval. Adequate training may includ undergraduate or graduate level training in research methods and ethics (e.g., a research methods course). Additional training by the supervising faculty may also be necessary.

The results of research projects involving animals may not be presented outside a classroom setting unless the research was approved by the IACUC in advance, and approval can never be given retroactively to work already done. Because federal law explicitly prohibits retroactive approval, no appeal can be made to any campus body to overturn this requirement of the policy.

Special note regarding student thesis projects: Projects that include animals must be approved by the IACUC before the research begins. This enables all student theses to be presented publicly (e.g., at a conference, a professional publication or filed in Penrose Library). Additionally, submitting a proposal serves an educational purpose for students. Senior theses are meant to be an introduction to original research, which, in graduate school and beyond, does include the process of considering the ethical implications of one’s research project and submitting a proposal to an IACUC.

Provost and Dean of the Faculty
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