The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is responsible for the Animal Care and Use Program at the University of Southern Maine. The IACUC reviews and oversees all animal use related to research, teaching, or testing activities to ensure the activities are conducted in compliance with all state and federal regulations and that the treatment of animals is ethical.

The IACUC also serves as a resource for investigators, faculty, research staff, and students in planning and conducting animal research pursuant to the highest scientific and humane standards. If you are considering using animals in any activity at the University, please contact the IACUC for guidance.

All investigators, key personnel, faculty advisors and research staff conducting research involving any vertebrate animals are required to complete training before they may begin.  This training is valid for four (4) years.  IACUC applications will not be approved until all necessary people have fulfilled this requirement. 

IACUC Animal Research Training

Please note that only complete protocol submissions will be accepted for review.  A submission is considered complete when it satisfies the following four requirements:

Submission Forms:

The University of Southern Maine (USM) Occupational Health and Safety Program is intended to provide guidelines for establishing a high level of safety for all individuals who are involved in the care and use of animals.  The program is comprised of the following three components:

Policy and Standard Operating Procedures (pdf) – This document serves as the main source of guidance for any individuals involved in the care and use of animals.  

Informational Handout for Individuals Directly or Indirectly Exposed to Animals (pdf) – Any personnel who has direct or indirect contact with animals used for research, teaching or testing at the University of Southern Maine MUST read this information prior to such contact.

Occupational Health Medical History Questionnaire (docx) – Any personnel who have DIRECT and CONTINUOUS exposure to animals while at the University of Southern Maine must fill out this form every September.  DO NOT EMAIL FORMS, please request a secured upload link

The USM Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is mandated and committed to investigate concerns, raised by anyone, regarding the care and use of animals at The University of Southern Maine. If you suspect or observe maltreatment of animals or noncompliance with approved protocols, please report this incident.

Animal Welfare concerns should be reported to:

Ross Hickey, Assistant Provost for Research Integrity

Office of Research Integrity & Outreach (ORIO)

126 Bedford Street, Portland Campus

 (207) 780 – 4340

Information on reporting concerns anonymously (should you choose to remain unidentified) can be found here.

In order to fully investigate your concerns, please provide as much information as possible regarding your concern, such as: description of incident, date & time, locations, names of individuals involved, and the IACUC protocol number (if known). All concerns will be handled as confidentially to the extent legally and reasonably possible.

***Discrimination, reprisal, or retaliation against any person reporting animal welfare concerns in good faith is prohibited at the University of Southern Maine by its whistleblower protection policy, as well as by Federal Law***

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 (docx) for the Occupational Health and Safety Program.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

If you have any questions regarding the care and use of animals at USM, please feel free to contact the IACUC by email at or by phone at 207-780-4517.