The mission of the animal resource program at Meharry Medical College is to furnish humane care for research animals, serve investigators efficiently, and comply with the standards of all regulatory and accrediting agencies. To fulfill this mission, the Animal Care Facility (ACF) and animal resource program must grow at a rate commensurate with research development at the college and provide investigators with a modern facility that serves their research needs. The renovations described in this application aim to achieve this growth.
The specific aims of this application are: 1) To correct heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) deficiencies and install a modern environmental monitoring system. 2) To improve sanitation by replacing an aged cage washer;installing a new tunnel washer;and purchasing a laminar flow work bench and a mobile waste disposal system. 3) To replace an old security system with one compatible with Meharry's campus- wide security system. 4) To expand and upgrade the rodent housing capabilities employing green technology by means of OptiMICE System and OptRAT racks. 5) To complete high-priority minor alterations, renovations, and equipment upgrades of selected areas of the vivarium;these alterations include replacing doors, completing rooms for animal housing, purchasing hoods, and other miscellaneous upgrades. The equipment to be purchased in this application consists of these items: a Lynx 810LX cage and rack washer;a Lynx 524LXi tunnel washer;a Lab Products laminar flow work bench;a Lab Products waste management system;and OptiMICE and OptiRAT closed system caging for rodents on exhaust-ventilated racks. Currently the ACF houses mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and swine. Use of the facility has increased considerably in recent years: in 2007-2008, there were 27 investigators conducting 56 IACUC-approved research protocols. Currently 31 investigators are conducting 74 IACUC-approved research protocols. This 32% increase in the number of research protocols in the ACF taxes the limited resources of the ACF, and the improvements described in this application are designed to accommodate the needs of Meharry investigators more fully.