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Care New England Research

Vertebrate Animals

Research involving vertebrate animals requires knowledge of sponsor and local regulations. Below you’ll find information on IACUC review, preparing a strong grant application, and relevant training.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Care New England does not have an independent IACUC. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) exists between the Lifespan IACUC and CNE that Lifespan will review all vertebrate animal protocols. This is true for all protocols unless there is a scientifically justified reason to use the Brown IACUC, such as Brown collaborators. In those instances a “reciprocal IACUC” still needs to be submitted through Lifespan per the MOU.

**All live vertebrate animal use must be approved by IACUC prior to the initiation of any research procedures.  

**An approved IACUC protocol number needs to be provided to the Sponsored Projects and Research Administration in order for a budget to be created and funds released from that office.

Contact the Lifespan IACUC
Information related to the Brown University IACUC

Vertebrate Animal Section (VAS)

Per NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare “If the work proposed in a grant application, contract proposal, or cooperative agreement involves live vertebrate animals, federal policy requires applicants and offerors to address the criteria noted below.

This includes work involving:

  • Animals obtained or euthanized for tissue harvest
  • Generation of custom antibodies

The criteria must be addressed for work proposed at every performance site – this is the site (institution) where procedures with animals will be performed. If the applicant institution is not the site where animal work will be performed or if the work will be performed at several sites, these performance sites must be identified.”

The VAS must include the following sections:

Description of Procedures

Some examples of the types of procedures you may include are; behavioral tests, blood collection, surgical procedures, tumor induction, etc. You should also include the species, strains, ages, sex, and total numbers of animals by species. If you are proposing the use of dogs or cats, include the source of the animals. 

**You must also justify the total number of animals in the approach section of your Research Strategy. If you need help with the analysis, request statistical assistance well in advance of the application deadline.** 

Minimization of Pain and Distress

Describe any procedures or circumstances that may result in more than momentary discomfort, distress, pain, or injury. Interventions, including analgesia, anesthesia, sedation, palliative care and humane endpoints that minimize discomfort, distress, pain, or injury should also be described. 


Provide justification for the species proposed and its appropriateness for the research. You must also provide justification why an alternative model (e.g. computational, human, invertebrate, in vitro) cannot be used to accomplish your research goals.

Method of Euthanasia

If the proposed method of euthanasia that is not consistent with AVMA guidelines, you must describe the method and provide a scientific justification in the text field provided on the Cover Page Supplement.

**There is no page limit for the VAS Section, however, it should not be used to get around page limits in the Research Strategy section. Instead it should be used to provide a concise description of the procedures on live vertebrate animals.

Investigators Need to Know
VAS Guidance
VAS Checklist
VAS Contracts
VAS Fact Sheet


All About Grants Podcast: Alternatives to Animals
VAS e-module Online Training