SPECIFIC AIMS Research programs at the University of Arizona (UA) focus on the goals of the DHHS Healthy People 2020 initiative: attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death; eliminate disparities and improve the health of all groups;create social and physical environments that promote good health for all;and promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages. Specific areas of UA research excellence include infectious disease, immunology, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, respiratory disease, memory and aging, pain alleviation, genomics, and biomedical engineering. Animal research is vital to these and other research programs that are growing at the UA. Animal usage has increased 30% over the past three years, and research funding and animal use is projected to at least double between now and 2020. Genetically engineered mice (GEM) and rodents used in research conducted at Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL-2) are responsible for recent expansion, and will account for the vast majority of future expansion. Autoclaves are heavily relied upon to sterilize caging for GEM and to decontaminate ABSL-2 rodent caging. Autoclave reliability is a major programmatic concern, and increased autoclave capacity is needed to accommodate the rapidly expanding animal inventory at the UA. This project directly addresses these needs through replacement, addition, or upgrades of autoclaves in the three largest centralized animal facilities at the UA, affecting a total of 66,237 nasf space and impacting 106 PHS-funded grants awarded to 78 Principal Investigators with $46.8 million total annual funding. The project will vastly improve reliability, increase capacity, and provide redundancy of autoclaves in the facilities that maintain large rodent populations in sterile and ABSL-2 caging. The project will also significantly improve energy efficiency and preserve natural resources, particularly water. Improved animal facilities will aid in recruitment of research faculty, graduate students, and staff. Resulting research discoveries will enhance the health and well-being of all Americans.
Specific Aim 1 : Replace a 48 year old autoclave at the Arizona Health Sciences Center Animal Facility (AHSC) (47,000 gsf;28,325 nasf). This is one of two large autoclaves located in the cage wash area that serves the largest UA animal facility and is at the end of its useful life. It is the primary autoclave used to sterilize rodent caging for GEM and immune deficient rodents for this facility. The repair frequency for this autoclave is high and parts have become extremely difficult to obtain.
Specific Aim 2 : Install a second autoclave at the Central Animal Facility (CAF) (40,254 gsf;21,139 nasf). The only autoclave located in the CAF cage wash area is 25 years old and nearing the end of its useful life. It is used to sterilize rodent caging for GEM and to decontaminate non-approved source rodent quarantine and ABSL-2 rodent caging. The repair frequency for this autoclave is high, parts have become extremely difficult to obtain, one door is no longer functional, and prolonged downtime requires caging be transported one mile to and from the AHSC animal facility for sterilization. Installing a second autoclave provides redundancy in the near term and a replacement when the existing autoclave is no longer repairable.
Specific Aim 3 : Upgrade control units and door gaskets on two autoclaves in the BIO5 Animal Facility (BIO5) (23,040 gsf;16,773 nasf). These two autoclaves serve the entire GEM barrier facility where only sterile mouse caging is used. Use of these autoclaves is frequently disrupted due to poorly engineered, proprietary control units that are not easily repaired, and door gaskets that must be removed and serviced at least once every 3 weeks. Together, these improvements will greatly enhance autoclave reliability, increase autoclave capacity needed for expansion, and provide redundancy to allow continued operations during preventive maintenance or repair of individual autoclaves at each of the three largest UA animal facilities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
Grants for Repair, Renovation and Modernization of Existing Research Facilities (G20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZOD1-STOD-3 (01))
Program Officer
Birken, Steven
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Arizona
Veterinary Sciences
Organized Research Units
United States
Zip Code