Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee FAQs

  1. Who must submit a protocol?
  2. What is the purpose of the IACUC approval process? Why does Lycoming College require me to get my research approved by the IACUC?
  3. Who evaluates protocols? How do I submit my protocol for review?
  4. What criteria are used to evaluate protocols?
  5. How do I know which form to use?
  6. How are revised protocols handled by the IACUC?
  7. How do I create an electronic signature?
  8. If I have questions about filling out the IACUC form, who do I contact? Can I ask for help from the IACUC committee members
  9. When are IACUC submissions due? How long do reviews take?
  10. Do IACUC approvals expire?

1. Who must submit a protocol?

College policies and federal laws require that every research project involving animals be reviewed. Anyone affiliated with Lycoming College (as faculty, staff, or student) who is conducting research with animals must get approval from the IACUC before initiating the research.

If you have questions regarding your specific research study, please contact your IACUC chairperson.

2. What is the purpose of the IACUC approval process? Why does Lycoming College require me to get my research approved by the IACUC?

The policies and laws described above are for the protection of the animals, the researcher(s), and the institution. The role of the IACUC is to ensure that the welfare of animal research subjects has been properly safeguarded. By having a system in place that requires researchers to assess risk and provide safeguards for the animals, the college also helps protect researchers and the institution from liabilities posed by those risks.

3. Who evaluates protocols? How do I submit my protocol for review?

Protocols are evaluated by members of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Faculty representing diverse departments that use animals in research activities, a consulting veterinarian, and an external member who is otherwise unaffiliated with Lycoming College are appointed to the IACUC by the Provost and Dean of the College. Members of the IACUC review protocols to ensure that animal and researcher welfare is protected, and that all procedures are carried out in accordance with federal law. IACUC submissions should be electronically submitted using one attached document directly to the IACUC chairperson.

4. What criteria are used to evaluate protocols?

The IACUC uses federal guidelines outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (GCULA) and by the Public Health Service (PHS) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) to evaluate research protocols. Criteria are summarized here.

5. How do I know which form to use?

All proposals should use this form.

6. How are revised protocols handled by the IACUC?

Sometimes protocols may be approved contingent upon the provision of additional information ("explicit changes required" status). When this occurs, the researchers should make the changes set forth by the IACUC and resubmit these changes to the IACUC chairperson. The researcher will be notified if the changed protocol is accepted. Because the IACUC typically meets only 2-3 times per year, it is important that all submissions represent the applicant's best effort. Missing information can and will cause substantial delays in IACUC review. Please note that the researcher cannot begin to collect data until she/he has received IACUC.

7. How do I create an electronic signature?

An electronic signature is the scanned file of an ink signature. To make an electronic signature, sign a white piece of paper and scan it to make an electronic document. Open the electronic document and cut and paste your signature on the form.

8. If I have questions about filling out the IACUC form, who do I contact? Can I ask for help from the IACUC committee members?

You may contact the IACUC chairperson by calling the secretary for the Provost and Dean of the College at 321-4102, and asking to be put in touch with him/her. Please note that informal advice from one IACUC member does not guarantee approval by the entire Committee.

9. When are IACUC submissions due? How long do reviews take?

Applications are reviewed as they are received. However, the IACUC meets in full only two to three times per year, usually shortly after the start of each semester. Under federal guidelines the IACUC must include at least one member unaffiliated with Lycoming College, and this member may or may not be available to meet in any given week—his/her schedule is not contingent upon the College’s teaching schedule, and his/her service to the committee is on a volunteer basis. Early submission of IACUC proposals is therefore wise.

Incomplete applications will be returned, without review, to the researcher for completion. Researchers will be notified of denial or acceptance of their protocol following the committee's review. Under some circumstances protocols may be approved contingent upon the provision of additional information ("explicit changes required" status). Under these circumstances, the additional information must be provided before approval will be given and data can be collected.

10. Do IACUC approvals expire?

Yes. Approved protocols remain active for three years from their approval date unless the researcher specifically indicates a shorter duration. Any substantive changes in an approved protocol must first be subjected to review by the IRB before the changes are implemented.