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Research with Animals at RIT

As RIT grows in Life Science-related research, questions involving the use of animals in research need to be addressed.  Below is a quick reference in the form of an FAQ about RIT’s current capacity for research with animals.


  1. What kinds of animal research can I do at RIT?
    1. All proposed research with vertebrate animals (all fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals – except human) requires RIT IACUC (Institute Animal Care and Use Committee) advance notification and approval.  Email the IACUC chair Susan Smith-Pagano ( for a proposal template that must be completed, submitted, and approved prior to any vertebrate animal research. 
    1. Currently there are no AALAC Assured animal care facilities on RIT’s campus. Federally funded (NSF and NIH) research involving vertebrate animals requires an NIH Animal Welfare Assurance that RITcurrently does not possess.  Consequently, you are strongly encouraged to contact your funding agency program officers and ask whether your proposed research with vertebrate animals requires documentation including an Institutional NIH Assurance of Compliance. 
    1. RIT IACUC (Institute Animal Care and Use Committee) advance notification and approval is sufficient for certain non-federally funded research with some species of vertebrate animals (all fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals – except human).  
    1. Research with invertebrate animals (all but fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) requires no IACUC (Institute Animal Care and Use Committee) notification or approval. 
    1. Research with microorganisms (bacteria, protozoans, etc) is sometimes permissible (depending on pathogenicity of proposed species) and does not require IACUC approval, but may require approval from the RIT Biosafety Committee.  Specialized equipment is usually required for containment and culturing these species so the PI and department hosting the research are responsible for procuring the necessary equipment (incubators, autoclaves, etc). Please see the Biosafety website for specific information (


  1. Can I work with mice?
    1. Permission for the use of mice as model organisms depends on regulations of the agency sponsoring the research.  NIH and NSF require documentation of an Institutional NIH Assurance of Compliance (not available at RIT) in addition to IACUC approval (available at RIT).  Other agencies may or may not require an NIH Assurance of Compliance.  The PI and departmental unit proposing to host the research are strongly encouraged to contact sponsoring agencies and inquire about regulations regarding use of mice in research.


  1. Can I anesthetize animals for research?
    1. Research proposals that require the use of anesthetics or involve euthanizing animals require IACUC approval prior to any work proceeding.  These techniques must comply with the latest AVMA guidelines regarding anesthesia and euthanasia.  (
    1. There is currently no New York State or Federal DEA permit for the use of controlled substances (for anesthesia or any purpose) on the RIT campus.  It is possible to apply for such permits, but IACUC approved proposals for work involving controlled substances (e.g., Ketamine) are necessary to complete this process.  Federal and State approval for the use of controlled substances may take up to a year to establish so PI’s considering their use in research are strongly encouraged to contact the RIT IACUC and the Office of Environmental Health & Safety well in advance of proposed use.


  1. What facilities exist at RIT?  How can I access them?
    1. There is no official vivarium at RIT.  This means there is no university-wide core facility solely for care and use of research animals on the RIT campus. Certain departments may have small facilities that are partially dedicated for housing animals at various times throughout the year for teaching and/or research purposes (e.g., the College of Science has a room that houses a small number of animals used in its own teaching labs.)


  1. Are there alternative sites for animal research?
    1. The facility at RRH may be available for certain uses and interested PI’s are encouraged to contact RRH when planning proposed research with animals.  The contact at RRH is Jamie Bucher,, 585-922-4309. 
    1. Collaborative research involving the University of Rochester Medical center is subject to URMC policies.  Questions about animal research should be addressed with the URMC PI. 


  1. Does RIT plan construction of an animal research facilities or vivarium?  
    1. There are ongoing discussions about the need for vivarium facilities on our campus and those include identification of location(s) suitable for that purpose.  If and when RIT has identified the necessary location(s) and funding for such facilities, the faculty and staff will be made aware of how to utilize them.