Office of Research Integrity and Outreach

IACUC Frequently Asked Questions


What is an IACUC and what do they do?

     IACUC stands for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and is a standing committee mandated by Federal law and regulations to oversee the animal care and use program at institutions using animals in research, teaching, or testing, in order to ensure the humane and ethical treatment of animals.


I am applying for IACUC approval for the first time, what forms do I need to complete?

     You will need to complete and submit an Animal Study Proposal Form along with any supporting documentation that is asked for or required for your research. Individuals who have not previously worked with animals at USM must also complete the Animal Use Questionnaire for the Occupational Health and Safety Program.


Under what circumstances do I need to submit a protocol amendment form?        

     You need to complete and submit a Revision/Amendment Form whenever you intend to initiate any change to a previously approved protocol. Please contact ORIO or the IACUC for more guidance.


How long is IACUC approval valid?

    Once a proposal is granted IACUC approval, the approval is valid for one year (365 days). Progress Reports after the 1st, 2nd, and resubmission after the 3rd year, are due 30 days prior to expiration date of the protocol's approval period.


What should I do if my project is going to last longer than my approval period?

     You will need to submit an IACUC Progress Report form 30 days prior to the expiration date of the protocol's approval period in order to continue your research activities.


What do I need to do if my research includes the use of biological agents?

     If your research involves biological agents, rDNA, or 'select agents', you will also need Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval for your research project prior to IACUC approval. You may file both applications at the same time, but the IBC will need to approve your project before IACUC approval will be granted.


What is a transgenic animal?

    A transgenic animal is any animal that has, or will have, a man-made alteration (induced mutation) to its genetic code. These animals are typically developed in order to study the over-expression or under-expression of a specific gene. Transgenic animals typically do not include animals that have spontaneous or naturally  (non-research based) occurring mutations.


How long will it take for my animal study proposal to be approved?

     Animal study proposals are generally approved in 3-5 weeks. However, because certain projects can require more than one review or require review at a convened IACUC meeting, it is recommended that proposals are submitted 45 days prior to the anticipated start date of the project.


I am not doing laboratory research, but am only studying animals in their natural habitats. Do I need IACUC review?

     IACUC approval is required for field or wildlife studies conducted through USM or by USM faculty, staff, students, and personnel. You must contact the IACUC before intiating any research, teaching, or testing involving animals at or through the Institution.


I have completed my research project. Do I need to notify the IACUC?

     When you have finished work on an approved animal protocol, you must notify the IACUC of completion by filing an IACUC Study Completion Form.


I still have questions. Who should I contact?

     If you have any questions regarding the care and use of animals at USM, please feel free to contact the IACUC by email at usmorio@maine.edu or by phone at 207-228-8279.