Funding is requested for the replacement of a steam autoclave in an SPF (specific pathogen free) rodent housing facility. This autoclave is critical to the ability of this 3,000 mouse-cage facility to provide appropriate housing of mice for 20 - 25 predominantly NIH-funded research scientists working in the Departments of Pediatrics, Cardiology, Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Immunology, Hematology, Pulmonary Medicine, and the adjacent Cancer Research Center. The existing, 17 year-old, autoclave has been used to sterilize rodent cages and animal drinking water used for immunocompromised and other fragile strains of mice but has become unreliable, leading to deterioration in the quality of service and increased cost. Progressive corrosion of the autoclave's jacket will soon result in the need for replacement of the unit.
The specific aim of this proposal is to replace the old machine with a machine of greater reliability and efficiency. Replacement of the autoclave is critical to the continued success and growth of the NIH-funded programs served by this machine and the requested funding will help curb future per diem increases for the research animals housed in the facility. The personnel who will participate in this project have many years of experience in evaluating and procuring autoclaves and other capital equipment items used for research animal husbandry. Evaluation of candidate autoclaves has already been done and cost estimates for installation have already been obtained, so no funding is requested for these components of the replacement process.