Protocols and protocol modifications can be submitted to the IACUC at any time.  Depending on the nature of the protocol, some protocols and many protocol modifications can be reviewed soon after they are received by the IACUC office using the designated member review (DMR) process (found here).  Note, however, that protocols and modifications involving category E animals, survival surgeries, animal housing areas that are not part of the animal program overseen by the IACUC, protocols that impact personnel safety, and initial protocols involving USDA covered species cannot be reviewed by DMR and will be reviewed by the full IACUC at the next monthly meeting.

For DMR, protocols will be reviewed by a DMR committee consisting of a minimum of a reviewer designated by the IACUC Chair the Attending Veterinarian, and the IACUC Chair.  These reviewers assume the responsibility for the full committee in granting unanimous approval, requiring modification, or sending the protocol or modification back for full committee review.  The assigned designated reviewers have a maximum of two weeks to generate an outcome.  Modifications to existing protocols are handled in the same manner as a new protocol.  Please remember that submission for DMR does not guarantee DMR review, and you should plan accordingly to meet your project and grant deadlines if full committee review is required.   

The full IACUC meets once a month to review protocols and modifications and may approve, require modification to secure approval, or withhold approval of protocols.  If modifications are required to secure final approval for a protocol reviewed by the full committee, the IACUC also uses a similar DMR process, with the committee comprised of the primary reviewer of the original protocol, the Attending Veterinarian, and the IACUC Chair.  All IACUC members, through the review and approval of these policies, have agreed in writing, that the quorum of members present at a convened meeting may decide by unanimous vote to use DMR subsequent to full committee review when modification is needed to secure approval.  Any member of the IACUC may, at any time, request to see the revised protocol and/or request a full committee review of the protocol.

All protocols expire three years from the date of approval, and the IACUC does not have the authority to administratively extend approval beyond that three year date.  The PI is responsible for submitting a new protocol three months in advance of expiration.


MSU’s IACUC is committed to ensuring that all animal research takes into consideration the 3Rs:  The possible replacement of animals, the refinement of studies to alleviate or minimize potential pain and maximize comfort and welfare of the animals, and the possible reduction in the number of animals necessary to obtain valid scientific data.*

*Attributed to W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch

An approved IACUC protocol is required for the use of all vertebrate animals used in research, teaching, or testing, including field studies.

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You will need a username and password to access the IACUC protocol form.  Contact the IACUC Coordinator at 994-6821 or email.  

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You can access the form at this link; click on “Online Protocol Forms and Modifications”.  Enter your username and password.

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Yes. Once you begin typing your protocol, click “save” at the bottom of each page.  Campus-wide policy has a 15 minute time-out limit.  If you don’t save it, you lose it.  Complete each section and click save at the bottom of each page. Once you are ready to submit it, a dialogue box will appear and ask if you are sure you want to submit it.  Affirm your decision.  

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The IACUC Coordinator receives an email that your protocol has been submitted electronically for inclusion in the IACUC monthly meeting.

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Contact the IACUC Coordinator, nicholas@montana.edu, or call 994-6821.  Do not submit a new protocol.

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You cannot begin a research project until you receive a signed IACUC approval letter.

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The meeting dates and protocol/modification due dates are included on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Program website.

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PIs will be notified within two to three days following the meeting of the outcome of your project.

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You will go to the same link where you accessed your protocol.  You will click on modification.  Answer the questions, save it and submit it.  It will be sent electronically to the IACUC Coordinator for inclusion in the monthly meeting. 

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Any changes to the protocol including the objectives of the study, non-survival to survival surgery, increase in animal numbers used, change or addition of species, anesthetic or analgesic agents, method of euthanasia, increasing the invasiveness of a procedure or pain/distress to the animal, status of biosafety, radiation safety, or environmental safety usage.  IACUC approval is required prior to implementing any changes being implemented. 

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No. The approval expiration date will remain the same as date the protocol was originally approved.

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You don’t need to submit a modification to add or delete personnel, correct typographical errors, correct technical errors that may arise from the protocol form, or add or delete funding sources.  These are considered administrative changes and will be documented in writing to the PI and the PI must review and approve of them.  It will be included in the IACUC minutes for the record.

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Protocols are reviewed annually and expire on the third anniversary of its original approval date.

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No. Federal law and guidelines require that the IACUC review projects annually.  The IACUC does not have the authority to extend approval beyond three years.  Working on animal activities without IACUC approval is a reportable violation of PHS Policy.

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For the first two years after initial approval of the protocol the IACUC Coordinator will send you an annual renewal form three months in advance of the expiration date, asking you to describe any changes in procedures or personnel, and email reminders at 60 days and 30 days prior to expiration.  The committee may extend approval of the project in one year increments until the third anniversary of the original approval of the project.  At that time, the protocol must be replaced with an entirely new submission.  

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Federal regulations require that all individuals handling vertebrate animals receive training regarding animal use in general, federal laws, species specific handling, as well as in the specific procedures necessary for their experiments.  PIs and lab personnel must complete appropriate CITI training, as well as the ARC, Biosafety, and IACUC/Research Compliance training. Contact the Animal Resources Center, 994-6803, for dates.  

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The IACUC oversees all aspects of animal care and use programs for teaching and research at Montana State University.  The IACUC ensures that all research and teaching protocols using live vertebrate animals are designed and carried out in a humane manner that complies with all applicable laws, policies, and federal guidelines, and to serve the public by ensuring institutional compliance with all legal and ethical standards regarding the use of animals in research. The IACUC reviews all animal use protocols, and inspects all animal facilities and laboratories.  The IACUC serves as a resource to faculty, PIs, technicians, students, staff, and administrators.

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The committee, appointed by the Institutional Official (IO), consists of 11 voting members:  Chair, Veterinarian, Biosafety Officer, scientists, non-scientists, and community members; non-voting members include a representative of the Animal Resources Center, the Occupational Health Manager, and Montana Occupational Health.

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Federal regulations governing the use of animals in research require the IACUC review and inspect the care and treatment of animals in all animal study areas at least once every six months.  These inspections must be performed by at least two voting members of the IACUC.  They will note any deficiency and indicate if it is minor or significant, a plan for correcting the deficiency, and follow-up to ensure those issues were corrected.

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It is a program in place to ensure the well-being of animals involved in research activities, to make certain that activities are conducted in compliance with state and federal regulations and standards, and to ensure that activities are consistent and conducted in compliance with IACUC approved protocols as well as institutional policies.

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The MSU IACUC policies can be found on our website.

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All research activities must conform to the Animal Welfare Act, enforced through USDA APHIS ; Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), Public Health Service (PHS) on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as issued in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th Edition.

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Updated 12/15/15