Office of Research Integrity

Responsibilities When Using Animals in Research and Teaching

Introduction | Principal Investigator, Staff & Students
Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee | University Administration

Medical University of South Carolina

Research and instruction at MUSC using animal subjects must be conducted in compliance with the requirements set forth in the Animal Welfare Act and the U.S. Government's Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research and Training. The privilege of using animals is granted based on the University's assurance to the federal government that faculty, staff and studies will comply with all applicable regulations. The responsibilities of those involved are set out below.

Principal Investigators, Staff, and Students

Before initiating, modifying, or extending any research project that uses animals, Principal Investigators must submit an application to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for review and approval.

Principal Investigators are responsible for assuring that everyone under their supervision involved in the care and use of laboratory animals is properly trained and understands his or her obligation to comply with federal regulations, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, policies and procedures set forth by the IACUC, and the specifics of the approved protocol.

Principal Investigators must provide the IACUC with written verification that any institution to which they grant or subcontract any PHS-supported animal use activity (including antibody production) has an approved Assurance of Compliance for the use of laboratory animals.

Anyone who witnesses or has reliable information about noncompliance with an approved protocol or an incident of mistreatment of animals is obligated to report this to the Division for Laboratory Animal Resources or the IACUC.

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

The IACUC oversees all animal research and instruction at MUSC in order to ensure that ethical regulatory, and policy mandates governing the use of animals in research and instruction are met. The Committee is comprised of members, including representatives of the public, qualified to oversee MUSC animal program, facilities, and procedures. The IACUC'S charge is to:

  • Review and approve the animal welfare aspects or all research and instruction at MUSC;
  • Review MUSC's program for the humane care and use of animals twice annually;
  • Conduct inspections twice annually on all MUSC animal facilities;
  • Prepare and submit reports of its evaluations to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs;
  • Make recommendations to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs regarding any aspect of MUSC's animal program, facilities, or personnel training;
  • Suspend any activity involving animals which violates applicable regulations, policies, or procedures, or an approved protocol. 

University Administration

Annually, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs must assure the federal government that MUSC is in compliance with all provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and the U.S. Government's Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals .

Through the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, MUSC provides administrative services for ordering, husbandry and veterinary care for all animals, and an occupational health program for personnel who work in laboratory animal facilities or have frequent contact with laboratory animals.

MUSC administration provides the resources to support the activities of the IACUC, maintain necessary records, and report as required on the status of the animal care program and the membership of the IACUC.

MUSC administration must report to the NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the circumstances and actions taken with respect to:

  • Any serious or continuing protocol violation;
  • Any serious deviations from the provisions in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals;
  • Suspension of any activity by the IACUC.

MUSC grants whistle-blowing protection to anyone who reports protocol violations or other acts of noncompliance.

Under the provisions of the Federal Freedom of Information Act, MUSC is required, upon request, to release to the public details of any specific, funded research project.

To inquire about acquisition, housing, or veterinary care of animals, or training in or assistance with experimental techniques, including anesthesia and analgesia, call the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources at 876-5212.

For assistance in the preparation of applications for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, call the Committee's office at 792-6553. To report incidents of non-compliance or mistreatment of animals, call the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (876-5212), or the Office of Research Integrity (792-6553).