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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2022 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Research Animal Management Branch

Robin Kastenmayer
  • Rachael Labitt, DVM, MS, Attending Veterinarian
  • Daniel T. Abebe, MS, Research Behavioral Technician
  • Julie Jacobs, Animal Program Manager
  • Terrance McMeans, AA, Rodent Facilities Manager
  • Maria Publico, BS, Animal Care and Use Committee Coordinator
  • Christopher Rishell, BS, Senior Facilities Manager
  • Robin Kastenmayer, DVM, PhD, Former Acting Animal Program Director and Senior Veterinarian
  • Mike Wisnieski, BS, Former Aquatic Facilities Manager

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

In addition to providing animal research support and veterinary consultation to NICHD investigators, RAMB represents the interests of the NICHD DIR on all aspects of animal research conducted within the Intramural Research Program (IRP). This 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 specifically: (1) provides primary veterinary care; (2) advises the NICHD Scientific Director on animal care and use practices; (3) assures animal use within DIR is in accordance with applicable regulatory standards and guidelines; (4) coordinates intramural animal use including appropriate animal model selection, support requirements, and Animal Study Proposal review; (5) advises the scientific staff on comparative medicine, Animal Study Proposal design, disease interference, and other factors that may complicate or invalidate research results; (6) implements and coordinates animal health monitoring; (7) coordinates quarantine for incoming animals of unknown health status to prevent the introduction of agents pathogenic to humans or other animals; (8) coordinates a central ordering program for the NICHD; (9) provides administrative management of the NICHD Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC); and (10) interfaces with organizations and institutions concerned with the ethical and humane care and use of animals in research.

RAMB operates and manages the Building 6B Shared Animal Facility (SAF), Suite 6C127 of the Ambulatory Care Research Facility (ACRF) Animal Facility, the Building 6 Shared Zebrafish facility (SZF), and the Building 49 Xenopus facility. RAMB staff and the NICHD 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, and in Central Animal Facilities (CAF). The RAMB Aquatics Program also provides aquatics animal care and husbandry to several institutes and centers (ICs) within their satellite facilities across the NIH. At the NIH, NICHD is considered a leader in the field of aquatics research animal care and support.

The Building 6B SAF houses over 11,000 cages of specific pathogen-free (SPF) rodents and provides lead institute 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 with a dedicated technician. The NICHD ACRF Animal Facility supports the animal research activities of the NICHD with four animal rooms and two procedure rooms. The RAMB provides care and housing for rodent and aquatic species housed within this restricted-access, disease-free animal holding facility.

NICHD Aquatics are housed within the Building 6 SZF, ACRF Animal Facility, and Building 49. The Building 6 SZF supports NICHD and NHGRI with 12,500 tanks with a total capacity of over 23,000 tanks. Additional aquatics facilities provide primary animal care and research support to over 180 tanks of Xenopus and over 95 tanks of Astyanax used by NICHD DIR researchers.

As part of the NIH, RAMB staff participate in the formulation of policies and procedures that impact the care and use of laboratory animals throughout the country. RAMB leads the effort for triennial re-certification by AAALAC International. RAMB staff and many animal-user investigators have been active contributors to the NIH Animal Research Advisory Committee (ARAC) and other trans–NIH committees.

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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