The Science Animal Resource Center (SARC) provides animal housing and use facilities for the School of Science at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In recent years the School of Science has enjoyed a rapid expansion of its research program, including a doubling of external research support. Recent inspections by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) noted deficiencies in the SARC facilities that were structural in nature and not easily remedied. These include the inability to effectively separate clean and dirty animal caging, insufficient HVAC capacity, and inadequate storage capacity. In response to these deficiencies and the need to provide appropriate support for its growing research program, the School of Science (in collaboration with the School of Engineering and Technology) has embarked on the construction of a new $25 million Science and Engineering Laboratory Building (SELB). Construction began in March 2012, and is expected to be completed by early 2014. Approximately one-third of this new facility (~10,400 assignable square feet) will be devoted to the housing and experimental use of animals, including twenty-four animal housing rooms. It is estimated that the cost of equipment for the new SARC vivarium within SELB will be approximately $1.3 million (this is in addition to the above-mentioned construction costs).
The Specific Aim of this proposal is to purchase twenty-seven "Maxi-Miser" ventilated mouse housing cage rack systems and four changing stations from Thoren Caging Systems, Inc., to be installed in four animal housing rooms within the new SELB vivarium. These units will permit the individual housing of 3,360 mice. Single housing of rodents is essential for faculty users from the Psychology Department, who are the major users of mice within the facility and whose research focuses on the neuroscience of drug addiction. Thus, this proposal is responsive to the major goal of the "Developing and Improving Institutional Animal Resources" program at the NIH, which is to upgrade animal facilities to support the conduct of biomedical and/or behavioral research. The remaining ~$800,000 needed to equip the new vivarium will be provided by the School of Science. Compared to the current open caging systems utilized by the existing SARC facility, these new mouse caging units and changing stations will provide state-of-the-art rodent housing and will significantly minimize the expulsion of allergens and potential zoonotic agents into the environment. The proposed caging systems will also permit the housing of mice in a controlled microenvironment with superior protection from exposure to pathogens. The proposed caging systems will maximize housing capacity of the available space.