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IACUC Glossary

The IACUC Glossary is also available as a pdf.

AAALAC International, Inc

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International. The AAALAC is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through a voluntary accreditation program.



American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. The AALAS is a non-profit membership association that uses various forums for the exchange of information regarding the care and use of laboratory animals.



American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine



Alternatives are means by which experimentation can occur without the use of laboratory animals. Researchers are must perform a literature review to determine scientific necessity of animal use prior to a study being approved by the LU IACUC.



Amendments are changes in a study protocol, and can be significant (requiring full IACUC approval) or minor (some can be handled administratively). All amendments, whether significant or minor, must be approved prior to implementation.


Annual Review (Continuing Review)

Active protocols must be reviewed annually by the IACUC to remain in compliance with federal laws. The annual review/continuing review form is available on the LU IACUC website.



PHS Policy defines an animal as “any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research, research training, experimentation, or biological testing, or for related purposes.” The Animal Welfare Act Regulations (AWAR) define an animal as “any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warm-blooded animal, which is being used or is intended for use for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. This term excludes birds, and rats and mice bred for use in research.”


Animal Facility

The LU IACUC defines an animal facility as any and all areas, buildings, enclosures, rooms or vehicles, including satellite facilities used for: animal confinement, breeding, experiments including surgical manipulation, maintenance or transport. Animals may be held outside an animal holding facility for a period of less than 12 hours without IACUC approval except for survival surgery areas. Locations where animals are held for more than 12 hours become a satellite facility requiring justification of, and prior approval by, the IACUC.



The branch of the USDA responsible for setting and enforcing USDA policy on the care and use of any Animal Welfare Act (AWA) covered species.


Aseptic Surgery

Surgery performed using procedures that limit microbial contamination so that the likelihood of infection is minimal.


Attending Veterinarian/University Veterinarian (AV/UV)

A role required by federal law to serve on the University’s IACUC. The university veterinarian is responsible for oversight concerning the research, teaching, and testing of animals at LU.



American Veterinary Medical Association



Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Act Regulations. These regulations are derived from USDA/APHIS and are directly applicable to animal research and teaching at LU.


Conflict of Interest

Any situation in which financial or personal obligations may compromise or present the appearance of compromising an individual’s or group’s professional judgment in conducting, reviewing, or reporting research involving animals.



The chemical or physical process that involves the destruction of pathogenic organisms.



Designated Member Review. All members of the IACUC are sent protocol submissions and are given the opportunity to request a Full Committee Review (FCR). If no single member requests a FCR, the DMR process will begin, where one or more members of the IACUC review the protocol and issue a decision.



The humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that produces rapid unconsciousness and subsequent death without evidence of pain or distress, or a method that utilizes anesthesia produced by an agent that causes painless loss of consciousness and subsequent death.


Full Committee Review (FCR)

Full Committee Review. All protocols that are not approved through the DMR process will be sent to the full committee for discussion and voting.


IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee)

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is mandated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and is charged under the AWA with representing society’s concerns regarding the welfare of animal subjects. The IACUC reports to the IO. The IACUC is required to perform semiannual program evaluations as a means of overseeing care and use of laboratory animals. The IACUC reviews and approves animal use protocols, and is authorized to investigate concerns involving the care and use of animals. The IACUC also has the authority to suspend an activity involving animals if it determines that the activity is not being conducted in accordance with the approved protocol on file.


Institutional Official (IO)

The Institutional Official is the individual who has the authority to sign the Institution’s Assurance, making a commitment on behalf of the university that the requirements of the PHS Policy will be met and adhered to.


Major Surgery

Any surgical intervention that penetrates and exposes a body cavity; any procedure that has the potential for producing permanent physical or physiological impairment; and/or any procedure associated with orthopedics or extensive tissue dissection or transection.


Minor Surgery

Any surgical intervention that neither penetrates and exposes a body cavity nor produces permanent impairment of physical or physiologic function.



National Institutes of Health. It is an Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare


PHS (Public Health Service)

The Public Health Service includes the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration; the Centers for Disease Control; the Food and Drug Administration; the Health Resources and Services Administration; the National Institutes of Health; and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services.


PI (Principal Investigator)

The primary person in charge of a project, who is responsible for any associated research or teaching activities on the IACUC approved protocol.



This document represents a contract between the PI and the University, as well as between the University and the federal government. It contains the description of the animal activity to be conducted by a PI in the pursuit of teaching, research and testing animals.



A simple majority of the voting members of the IACUC.


The 3 R’s

Refinement: the use of better techniques, anesthesia, or enrichment, to obtain improved recoveries and outcomes.

Reduction: using statistical modeling, or self-controls to limit the number of animals used in research.

Replacement: using the lowest order of species possible, or the complete replacement of animals in research.



Those portions of IACUC policies and procedures which are mandated by federal, state, or local laws and ordinances. This includes the AWA & PHS Policy.



The process in which viable microorganisms are destroyed.


Study, Research, or Instruction Area

Any building room, area, enclosure, or other containment outside of a core facility or centrally designated or managed area in which animals are housed for more than 12 hours.



The conveyance of animal species from one facility to another, or between a facility and area of intended use. Care must be taken to ensure the animals’ safety, as well as that of other involved personnel.


University Policy

Those portions of IACUC policies and procedures which are not mandated by law, but are required by the IACUC and the Institutional Official at Liberty University. Deviation from policy is allowed only with prior approval from the IACUC.



United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Regulatory body responsible for the inspection of animal facilities used in teaching, research, and testing of regulated animals.


USDA Pain Categories

B: Breeding or holding animals only

C: Procedures that cause slight or momentary pain or distress

D: Procedures that cause more than slight or momentary pain or distress, but are performed using appropriate anesthetics, analgesics, or tranquilizers to alleviate pain.

E: Procedures that cause more than slight or momentary pain or distress, but are not performed with anesthetics, analgesics, or tranquilizers due to adverse impacts on the study objectives. Approval of such studies requires detailed scientific justification.


University Veterinarian (UV)

See “Attending Veterinarian”



A person who informs the IACUC of improper animal care or abuse of animals. Federal law protects the person making the report from retribution.


Zoonotic Disease

Any infectious disease that may be spread from an animal to a human.