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Research Animal Medicine Branch

Joseph M. Schech, DVM, Animal Program Director
  • Joseph M. Schech, DVM, Animal Program Director
  • Ruth A. Woodward, DVM, Deputy Animal Program Director; Facility Veterinarian, NIHAC Shared Animal Facility
  • Tannia S. Clark, DVM, Facility Veterinarian, 6B Shared Animal Facility/6 Shared ZF Facility
  • Daniel T. Abebe, MS, Research Technician
  • Earnest B. Davis, Assistant Facility Manager/Enrichment Technician, NIHAC Shared Animal Facility
  • Christopher M. Rishell, BS, Facility Manager, 6B Shared Animal Facility
  • Julie A. Jacobs, Animal Care and Use Committee Coordinator

The Research Animal Medicine Branch (RAMB) is responsible for directing the program of laboratory animal care and use for NICHD's Division of Intramural Research (DIR). The program includes animal facilities managed by NICHD as the lead institute, NICHD animals housed in other facilities, and all activities involving NICHD DIR–owned animals. The Branch (i) provides primary veterinary care; (ii) advises the NICHD Scientific Director on animal care and use practices; (ii) assures that animal use within DIR is in accordance with applicable regulatory standards; (iv) coordinates intramural animal use, including appropriate animal model selection, support requirements, and Animal Study Proposal review; (v) advises scientific staff on comparative medicine, Animal Study Proposal design, disease interference, and on other factors that may complicate or invalidate research results; (vi) implements and coordinates animal health monitoring; (vii) coordinates quarantine for incoming animals of unknown health status to prevent the introduction of agents pathogenic to humans or animals; (viii) coordinates a central ordering program for the NICHD; (ix) provides administrative management of the NICHD Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC); and (x) interfaces with organizations and institutions concerned with the ethical and humane care and use of animals in research.

NICHD manages three Shared Animal Facilities (SAF) as the Lead Institute: the 6B rodent SAF, the NIHAC Non-Human Primate SAF, and the Bldg 6 Shared Zebrafish Facility.

RAMB supports animal use research in the NICHD DIR.

Figure 1

Click image to enlarge.

Figure 1.

The image represents the variety of species managed by the NICHD IRP Animal Program, including nonhuman primates (infant rhesus monkey), rodents (mouse), and aquatic species (Xenopus tadpoles, top right; zebrafish in facility tanks, bottom).

The RAMB operates and manages the Building 6B Shared Animal Facility (SAF), the NIH Animal Center (NIHAC) SAF, Suite 6C127 of the Ambulatory Care Research Facility (ACRF) Animal Facility, and the NICHD aquatics facilities. The DIR Animal Program and ACUC have oversight over these facilities regarding animal use as well as over NICHD and NIA animals in the Building 49 SAF, the Porter Neurosciences Research Center (PNRC) SAF, the 10A Central Animal Facility (CAF), and in CAFs managed by the Division of Veterinary Resources (DVR) including Building 14F. The RAMB has contractual oversight over an aquatic animal husbandry task that includes husbandry and research support for NICHD, NHGRI, NHLBI, and NCI.

The Building 6B SAF supports the animal research activities of four Institutes (NICHD, NIAID, NEI, and NIAMS). This is a restricted-access disease-free rodent facility; it also includes a room for Xenopus and a zebrafish facility.

The NIHAC SAF supports the animal research activities of three Institutes (NICHD, NIMH, and NCI). This facility houses nonhuman primates and rodents. Animal holding areas include indoor housing, indoor/outdoor runs, seasonal outdoor housing, and a five-acre free-ranging primate field station that is located adjacent to permanent structures.

Suite 6C127 of the ACRF Animal Facility supports the animal research activities of two Institutes (NICHD and NIA). The facility occupies 121 m2 (1,299 ft2) in Building 10 and has five animal rooms and two procedure rooms. The facility provides care and housing for rodent and aquatic species. This restricted-access conventional facility is operated under contract.

The Bldg 6 Shared Zebrafish (SZF) supports NICHD and NHGRI with 15,000 2-liter tanks; the total capacity of the SZF is approximately 330,000 zebrafish.

As part of the NIH, the RAMB participates in the formulation of policies and procedures that impact the care and use of laboratory animals throughout the country. In 2011, the RAMB led the effort for triennial recertification by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Care, International. The RAMB and various animal user investigators have been active contributors to the NIH Animal Research Advisory Committee's (ARAC) efforts to adopt the new "Guide to Care and Use of Laboratory Animals," which is a primary-source set of guidelines used by AAALACi and the NIH Office of Animal Welfare.

Additional Funding

  • The RAMB is directly funded by the IRPs of NICHD and other facility user ICs.


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