The Beacon Volume 3, Issue 3

October 2018 Newsletter


AAALAC Site Visit


As you all know, our triennial AAALAC re-accreditation site visit occurred from October 15th through 17th.  It was a remarkable success.  The site visit team even stated that Yale is “among the best programs” that they have ever seen. The statement would not be so true if not for the cooperation and commitment of the investigators and research personnel.  They were impressed with the collegiality of everyone involved in the animal use program, including YARC, OARS, and especially the laboratories.  Thank you!

AAALAC did suggest four program improvements to be considered:

  1. Dilution of drugs.  There were several instances where drugs were diluted using non-pharmaceutical grade diluents (e.g. lab-made PBS), where solutions were not prepared and/or stored sterilely (e.g. in a Falcon tube), and where the container was not appropriately labeled.  A new policy is being drafted to explain the requirements for managing diluted drugs.  It should be noted that many laboratories are already diluting, storing, and labeling correctly, so the policy will not layer-on additional requirementsbut instead will serve to clarify the current expectations.
  2. Eyewash station testing. There were several instances in YARC facilities and laboratories where the weekly recording of eyewash station testing was inconsistent. Weekly testing is a State of CT requirement.  Please note that if there is an eye wash station in your lab (because you use hazardous materials, etc.), then you must test and document the testing on the attached tag. 
  3. Disaster plan.  The Yale Disaster Plan for animal facilities, managed by YARC, which details how animals will be dealt with in case of a disaster, serious weather events, etc., did not include all laboratory housing areas.  We will be reaching out to those who are responsible for these areas in the near future.
  4. Animal Surveillance Program. AAALAC believes that our disease surveillance program could be improved for our aquatic species. We will evaluate their suggestions and if changes are proposed, we will be reach out to those PIs for input.

IACUC Meeting

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee met on October 10th but there were not any significant decisions that would impact the animal research community. However, the IACUC did discuss a few non-compliant incidents, so as a reminder to everyone, laboratories should avoid the following situations.

  • Tail-clipping in mice for genotyping must be performed prior to 21 days of age.  If tail-clipping must be performed after 21 days of age, then anesthesia and analgesia are required.  Regardless of the ages of the animals, this procedure must be described in the protocol and approved by the IACUC. See the Rodent Identification & Genotyping policy for more information.
  • The use of expired anesthetics and analgesics is not permitted.  Expired bottles/vials should be disposed of promptly.  If a controlled substance (e.g. ketamine), label the container with “EXPIRED – do not use” (or some variation) until EHS can collect and dispose of the drug properly.
  • Humane endpoints are described in protocols so that research animals do not needlessly experience pain or distress that would not be informative to the study.  Anyone monitoring the daily-to-weekly well-being of the research animals should be cognizant of the IACUC-approved endpoints and euthanize the animals prior to reaching those endpoints.

IACUC Policy and Standard Procedure Update

There were no new or revised policies or procedures approved in October.

As a reminder, if you are adding blood collection from mice, rats, or hamsters to any of your protocols, you should be selecting those pre-approved standard procedures in MAPS. Unless you are using a technique different from those described in the standard procedures, there is no need to create a custom procedure.

MAPS Development

IRES Logo MAPS Release #4 is now “live.” System enhancements directly impacting the animal research community include:

  • The autogenerated emails you (PIs and Admin Contacts) receive from MAPS will be more instructional and direct you to what action is required.
  • The “non-science” screens (e.g. funding, housing, etc.) have been simplified and will require significantly less unnecessary (i.e. not required) information than has been requested in the current and previous protocol forms.
  • The 3-year renewal feature will allow the PI or authorized research staff to create a copy of the current version of the approved protocol, make necessary edits (add/remove personnel, funding and experiments, reconsider how many animals are needed, etc.), and then submit an updated protocol for its 3-year de novo review. As your protocols are approaching their 3-year anniversaries, the protocol liaisons will reach out to you to begin the renewal process.

Release #5 is under development (anticipated release in early Spring 2019) and includes the following new and/or improved features:

  • Significant changes to the Consideration of Alternatives section of the protocol, including minimizing the need for long explanations of the literature search (there will be pre-written selections to choose from).
  • As a “background action” overnight , MAPS will create a “clone” of your protocol and queue it up as a modification. When an authorized lab member clicks on the Add ModifiIllustrationcation button, the editable protocol will be ready to be modified, without having to wait several minutes for the protocol copy to load.
  • In Spring 2018 and in collaboration with VCS, the IACUC approved a significant change in the Analgesia policy, now requiring multimodal analgesia. Instead of creating up to six individual building blocks for various multimodal drug combinations, you will be able create one multimodal drug building to include all of the individual drugs together.

Office Hour Schedule

The next few months of OARS Office hours will be held in BCMM 201 from 3:00p.m.-4:00p.m. on the following Thursdays:

  • October 25th – MAPS Release #4 walkthrough (Protocol Liaisons)
  • November 8th – Open
  • November 22nd – Cancelled (Thanksgiving)
  • December 13th – Open
  • December 27th – Cancelled (Winter Break)

Contact Us

To reach someone at OARS, email or call them directly or contact the Office at or 203-785-5992. Please visit the Animal Research support page for additional info and guidance, including submission of documents for IACUC review, policies and procedures, animal-related training, how to report animal welfare concerns, and who to contact in OARS, so that we can provide you whatever assistance you may need.