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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2019 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Research Animal Management Branch

Joseph Mat Schech
  • Joseph M. Schech, DVM, Head, Research Animal Management Branch*
  • Ruth A. Woodward, DVM, Animal Program Director & Building 6B Facility Veterinarian
  • Christopher M. Rishell, BS, Senior Facilities Manager
  • Lauren Pandolfo, MS, Aquatics Program Manager
  • Julie A. Jacobs, Facilities Contract Manager
  • Daniel T. Abebe, MS, Research Behavioral Technician
  • Maria Publico, BS, Animal Care and Use Committee Coordinator

* As of October 2019, Dr. Schech is now at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, TX.

The Research Animal Management Branch (RAMB) supports all animal use and research within the NICHD Division of Intramural Research.

In addition to providing animal research support, research, and veterinary consultation services to NICHD investigators, the RAMB represents the interests of the NICHD DIR on all aspects of animal research conducted within the Intramural Research Program (IRP).

The RAMB operates and manages the Building 6B Shared Animal Facility (SAF), Suite 6C127 of the Ambulatory Care Research Facility (ACRF) Animal Facility, and the NICHD aquatics facilities. The Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Animal Program and NICHD Animal Care Use Committee (ACUC) have oversight over these facilities with regard to animal use as well as over NICHD animals in the Porter Neurosciences Research Center (PNRC) SAF, in the Building 14C Rodent Facility, and in the Building 10A Central Animal Facility (CAF). The RAMB has contractual oversight over an aquatic animal husbandry task that includes husbandry and research support for the NIH Institutes NICHD, NHGRI, NHLBI, and NCI.

The Building 6B SAF houses up to 12,000 cages of rodents and provides support to the animal research activities of three Institutes (NICHD, NEI, and NIAMS). In addition to traditional rodent research support, the program supports NICHD behavioral research studies being conducted in the dedicated 6B behavioral suite. The Building 6B SAF is a restricted-access, disease-free rodent facility and has one room dedicated to the NICHD Aquatics program, which houses cavefish for use on NICHD research studies.

The NICHD ACRF Animal Facility located in Building 10, suite 6C127, supports the animal research activities of the NICHD. The facility has four animal rooms and two procedure rooms available for NICHD researcher use. The RAMB provides care and housing for rodent and aquatic species housed within this restricted-access, conventional animal holding facility.

The Building 6 Shared Zebrafish Facility (SZF) supports NICHD and NHGRI with 15,000 two-liter tanks; the total capacity of the SZF is approximately 330,000 zebrafish. The Building 6 SZF program provides care and research support to animals maintained on NICHD and NHGRI research projects.

The RAMB operates a satellite frog facility housing Xenopus species within the Building 49 vivarium. This satellite facility provides primary animal care and research support to over 450 tanks of Xenopus utilized by NICHD DIR researchers.

The RAMB Aquatics Program also provides aquatics animal care and support to several institutes and centers (ICs) within their satellite facilities across the NIH. NICHD is considered a leader in the field of aquatics research animal care and support at the NIH.

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 2017, the RAMB led the effort for triennial re-certification by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Care, International (AAALACi). The RAMB and many 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 the AAALACi and the NIH Office of Animal Welfare.

Additional Funding

  • In addition to direct funding by the Intramural Research Programs of NICHD, the RAMB is also funded by facility users from other NIH Institutes and Centers.


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