The course agenda has been modified to incorporate specialized lecture blocks. Each block will consist of subject matter that pertains to a specific topic and, as one lecture builds on the previous, you will progressively gain more in-depth knowledge on that topic.


For a copy of the detailed agenda click here


  • KEYNOTE SPEAKER: David n. cook


    Keynote Presentation
    Advances, Perils and Pitfalls in Studying the Human Microbiome in Animals and In Vitro
    Speaker: David N. Cook, PhD, Executive Vice President of R&D, Chief Scientific Officer - Seres Therapeutics, Inc.

    The human microbiome has become a subject of intense research interest due to its broad influence on human health, including its potential role in infectious disease, metabolic disorders, autoimmunity, inflammation and neurological and behavioral disorders. As with all mammalian hosts, the human microbiome has co-evolved with our species. This presents challenges for modeling microbiome function in traditional models. An overview of how the field is adapting to this challenge and some of the scientific trade-offs will be discussed.


    A pathogen is considered common if it is found to infect a high percentage of animals or to frequently cause new colony infections, respectively referred to as a pathogen’s prevalence and incidence. Although strict biosecurity measures – notably the advent and extensive adoption of micro-isolation caging systems – have successfully excluded once common pathogens from rodent colonies, new infections with environmentally stable agents (e.g., MPV) continue to occur. This specialty block will concentrate on rodent pathogens (viral, bacterial and parasitic) that are prevalent in research institutions, as well as management strategies for maintaining multiple health profiles under one roof.


    INFECTIOUS DISEASE Presentations


    Developing an Exclusion List:  What to Test for and When
    Speaker: Julie Watson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Molecular & Comparative Pathobiology – Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

    The purpose of this talk is to provide information to veterinarians to consider when developing or modifying an appropriate organism exclusion list for their research rodent facilities. There is no “one-size fits all” when developing a facility exclusion list. This talk will provide practical advice on implementing an exclusion list, including preventing entry of excluded organisms, monitoring for compliance, and dealing with outbreaks. Some of the pitfalls associated with keeping multiple levels of exclusion within one facility will be discussed. Upon completion, attendees will be able to develop an exclusion list for their facility that meets the research needs of their investigators and that can be implemented and maintained with available resources. They will also be able to implement a plan for monitoring for excluded organisms and removing excluded organisms should they be detected.



    Common Endo- AND Ectoparasites:  DeTEction and Exclusion
    Speaker: Philip Gerwin, Principal Scientist & Clinical Veterinarian – Pfizer

    The objective of this presentation is to provide a thorough review of prevalent murine parasitic pathogens for laboratory animal professionals. The lecture will discuss the prevalence, morphology, life cycle, effects on health and research, diagnostic tests, and exclusion strategies for common endoparasites and ectoparasites of laboratory mice and rats. Emphasis will be placed on comparing traditional and contemporary detection methods, with a particular focus on the role of PCR testing in modern vivaria, using data from recent and soon to be published studies. Upon completion of this lecture, attendees will be able to identify the commonly encountered murine parasites, appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of pertinent diagnostic testing modalities, and understand how to employ up-to-date parasite exclusion strategies to optimize their institution’s murine biosecurity programs.



    Keeping it Under One Roof: Managing Different Health Profiles
    Speaker: Laura Conour, Director, Lab Animal Resources – Princeton University

    Managing different health profiles in centralized animal facilities could be a recipe for disaster or an appreciated customer service-based approach to meet your researchers’ needs. There are several key operational and training approaches that are necessary to ensure your biosecurity is maintained at the levels designated. Some of these approaches involve practices by the laboratory animal staff while others require training and more importantly, an understanding of procedures by research staff. A risk assessment of the health profiles of your rodent populations as it relates to the layout and features of the animal facilities is a must along with consideration of your level of confidence in the compliance of your staff as well as the researchers. Approaches and operational and training considerations will be discussed.


    This block will introduce the basic biology and care requirements for common animal species used in biomedical research. Presentations cover a breadth of species, including ruminants (sheep, goats and cattle), as well as rabbits. Presentations will review unique aspects of the biology of each species, general behavior, husbandry and care requirements. This block is intended for new entrants to the field, as well as individuals who desire a refresher on the biology and care of these important nonrodent models.


    BASIC BIOLOGY & CARE Presentations


    Ruminants in Research Settings
    Speaker: Susan Vogel, Attending Veterinarian – Charles River

    This talk is intended for clinical veterinarians, scientists and technicians who may encounter ruminants in the course of their teaching and research endeavors. Cattle, sheep and goats serve as excellent research models for medicine and surgery, are crucial to the development and testing of new veterinary products, and play an important role in teaching and training. The husbandry and biology of ruminants will be addressed as well as creative methods of environmental enrichment, the importance of analgesia and anesthesia including drug options, and lessons learned in development of surgical models using ruminants.



    Rabbits: Biology, Handling and Selected Diseases
    Speaker: Cynthia Pekow, Chief, Veterinary Medical Unit – VA Puget Sound Health Care System

    The purpose of this presentation is to provide practical information on rabbits as laboratory animals. Participants will review aspects of anatomy and physiology unique to this species, and learn how those aspects must be considered to achieve humane handling, restraint, and care of rabbits. Because intercurrent disease can affect rabbit well-being as well as their utility as research models, participants will come away with an understanding of the infectious, parasitic, congenital, and husbandry-related diseases found in lagomorphs, and how these conditions are prevented and treated. Attendees will be shown examples of humane methods for common research procedures, including restraint, blood sampling, and substance administration. Common rabbit research models will be highlighted.






    Leading a Continuous Improvement & Staff Empowered Program
    Speaker: Donna Jarrell, Director, Center for Comparative Medicine – Massachusetts General Hospital

    The topic of leadership and management has been the subject of increased attention in the biomedical and laboratory animal medicine industry sectors. Vivarium operations, by nature, are chaotic due to several facets of operations happening all at same time: service requests from researchers, equipment failures, staff call-offs, compliance incidents, supply chain management, facilities and HVAC issues, just to name a few. Managers today are being challenged as never before. This session will present business strategies adapted from some of the most successful companies in the world to reduce chaos in vivarium operations, rapidly implement ideas and develop a culture of full staff engagement and empowerment. In the end, you can establish an environment where everyone contributes to the overall success of your organization. Attendees will learn how to: 1) understand and analyze complex vivarium operations; 2) use the scientific method to address and eliminate the root cause of problems; 3) create a workplace culture that empowers staff to collectively work towards desired outcomes; 4) lead in such an environment and ultimately how to sustain a workplace culture of continuous improvements.



    Making A Smooth Transition into a New Facility
    Speaker: Christina Winnicker, Associate Director – Columbia University

    Transitioning smoothly into a new facility requires thoughtful pre-planning to get the facility occupation-ready prior to relocation. Once construction is complete, there are still multiple steps until occupation: the construction punch list, operational planning, commissioning, decontamination, relocation and occupation. As the construction punch list is reviewed, some items will be accepted whereas others will be disputed. Approaches to each will be discussed. Walking through the space also gives the opportunity to think operationally about how the space is going to function, during cleaning and move-in as well as final occupation. Most institutions have a commissioning process, but that can vary, so a clear understanding of what the commissioning team will complete will be critical to planning what remains to be done to confirm that the equipment is operational to vivarium standards. Decontamination requires an understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, what works for the equipment or space, and how to verify the effectiveness. Once move-in day arrives, working with the right people, remaining flexible, and having a sense of humor will be key.



    Speaker: Jeremy Turner, CEO – Turner Scientific

    This course will highlight some of the sources of vibration, noise, and ultrasonic noise in the animal facility (e.g., fluorescent lighting, computers, ventilated caging systems, bedding change stations), their impact on research animals, and how to measure and manage them. Noise and vibration serve as stressors for research animals, thereby serving as confounding variables for virtually every area of biomedical and behavioral research. A major concern with both noise and vibration in animal facilities is that neither is well controlled, managed, or even monitored. For example, much of the noise in our facilities is in the ultrasonic range, which we human observers cannot hear, and the noise meters we typically use cannot measure. This course will demonstrate how measuring and mitigating noise and vibration problems in the vivarium can refine our animal models and reduce the number of animals used.


    Recent findings in the role that gut composition plays in human health have given rise to the relatively new field of microbiome research. However, with the potential for breakthroughs in medicine and nutrition also come new obstacles for LAR and researchers to overcome. This block is geared towards those who want a better understanding of microbiome research, as well as tips on managing animal colonies bred for this purpose.




    Germ-Free Animal Husbandry: How to Generate and Maintain Germ-Free Rodents
    Speaker: Philip Damiani, Consultant – Charles River

    Axenic (germ-free) rodents have become increasingly used to study the role and functioning of the gut micobiota and its association with diseases. These models are also a critical resource in our advancement in the understanding of the host-microbiome relationships. However, the generation and maintenance of these specialized rodents is labor-intensive and requires vigilance while conducting their routine daily animal husbandry to minimize any potential contamination threats. In this presentation, we will review methods to generate germ-free rodents using different techniques (embryo transfer/cesarean rederivation). Recommendations for a variety of different housing options along with preventative methods to avoid microbiological contamination during their daily husbandry will be provided. Finally, recommendations for sampling collection, testing methods and frequencies will be discussed to ensure the germ-free status of the animals.



    Intestinal Commensal Microbiota and Education of the Immune System
    Speaker: Kathy McCoy, Professor, Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology – Western Canadian Microbiome Center (WCMC)

    This presentation will describe how the microbiota can educate and shape the developing immune system at different stages of life.


    Microbial colonization of mucosal surfaces plays a key role in health and disease. Host-microbial interactions throughout life are critical for homeostasis and regulation of the immune system. While live microbes are very efficiently contained to mucosal sites, systemic exposure to microbial products or metabolites is ubiquitous. Microbial composition and the dynamics of microbial colonization early in life may be especially important for educating the developing immune system. The innate immune system is critical for directing appropriate adaptive immune responses and innate immune cells are particularly sensitive to signals from the commensal microbiota. We have been studying how microbial exposure during prenatal, neonatal and early life shapes the developing innate immune system and sets the baseline for a regulated immune system.


    A well-designed behavioral husbandry program should accommodate the innate physiological and behavioral needs of the laboratory animals involved. One critical component of a successful program that may often be misunderstood is environmental enrichment. Part one of this two-part block introduces the importance of enrichment and its impact on research. Presentations will include social housing of cynomolgus macaques, rabbit behavioral management including social housing and operant conditioning/PRT of laboratory dogs.


    Part I: BEHAVIOR & ENRICHMENT Presentations


    Successful Pair-Housing of Cynomolgus Macacques
    Speaker: Keely McGrew, Behavioral Management Specialist – Charles River

    The importance of social housing of captive (NHPs) to their psychological well-being has been well established, but even as late as 2007, more than half of indoor-housed primates in the US were singly-housed (Baker et al. 2007). Our site originally group-housed juveniles in indoor gang-style pens. Facility renovation and expansion increased pair and triple housing space, necessitating the development of social housing strategies to fill that space. Our site has pair- or triple-housed greater than 1,000 new sets of animals per year, with many lessons learned. The aim of this presentation is to share pairing strategies learned in the evolution of the social housing program, including methodology and temperament characteristics of successful social housing sets. A difference in success rates in pairing juveniles (100%) vs. sub-adults (96-97%) vs. adults (100% females, 83% males) drove the development of different processes for pairing depending on age class. The pairing process was streamlined for the first two classes, while a technique of analyzing pre-pairing behavior using a modified version of the human intruder test (PAIR-T), and using the assessment to select partners, was developed for the adult males that increased the pairing success by 8%. These modifications resulted in more efficient use of labor resources and increased our level of social housing across the colony.



    Laboratory Rabbit Behavioral Management and Social Housing
    Speaker: Annie Valuska, Feeding Behavior Scientist – Nestlé Purina PetCare

    Social enrichment has become an increasingly popular strategy for improving the welfare of laboratory animals. It is widely believed that rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) would benefit from social housing, but many laboratories in the United States are finding it challenging to implement due to high levels of injurious aggression that occur when adult rabbits are housed together. Given these challenges, there is a pressing need for a better understanding of rabbit social behavior and improved strategies for managing rabbits’ social environment. In this presentation, the natural history of the European rabbit, including their social structure and aggressive behavior, will be discussed to frame an understanding of laboratory rabbit behavior. The reigning belief that rabbits should be socially housed will be challenged, using findings from studies on wild, laboratory, and farmed rabbits, which will be presented in-depth. Finally, the specific properties of current housing strategies that may lead to aggression will be explored and suggestions for managing aggression – and a novel paradigm for understanding and managing rabbits’ social environment and welfare – will be provided.



    Positive Reinforcement Training with Laboratory Beagles
    Speaker: Gina Savastano, Principal Scientist – Merck Research Laboratories

    Positive Reinforcement Training (PRT) programs can be utilized to benefit both animal welfare and research. There is increased regulatory emphasis on positive reinforcement training for husbandry, research procedures, and restraint devices. The benefits and outcomes of a PRT program include a more efficient cleaning routine that can be completed in less time while offering the opportunity for socialization and exercise and reduced ergonomic concerns and injuries. PRT also can prepare dogs for studies by acclimating them to slings, training them to walk on to a scale or into a crate/kennel and present limbs for injections or voluntary blood collections. As a PRT program is being established, it is essential to set clear training commands and criteria, and to document the progress of individuals participating in the program. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for training and simple tracking sheets for progress are key tools in a successful program. We practice acclimation, association and positive reinforcement training with our beagle colony with goals to reduce stress for dogs and improve efficiency for personnel. Dogs are desensitized to sounds and vibrations of the electric shaver to prepare skin for catheterization, and acclimated to the sling for up to one hour.  Association training was used to decrease anticipatory barking. Staff enter the room many times throughout the day, and we noticed that barking became louder around lunchtime, with the dogs not knowing which entry was for feeding. The caretaker now rings a dinner bell when they enter with feed, signaling lunchtime. This has reduced the amount of barking and signals the dogs housed in kennels that don’t face the door that lunch has arrived. Positive reinforcement techniques were used to train dogs to return to their kennel on command. This behavior has an ergonomic benefit to the staff who no longer have to lift dogs, and saves over 50 hours of labor per dog room per year. Positive reinforcement training techniques were also used to train the dogs to jump onto a platform and present a paw for voluntary blood collection. Blood collection usually requires a second operator to restrain the dog, or requires putting the dog in a sling. With voluntary paw presentation, a single operator can rapidly collect the blood sample. Behavior modification via clicker training is an effective and positive way to not only enrich the lives of the animals, but also to ease the lives of the animal care, research and veterinary staff.


    Part two of this two-part block continues the discussion on the development and execution of a well-designed behavioral husbandry program that incorporates thoughtful environmental enrichment. Presentations in these two sessions will focus on enrichment of laboratory mice and the use of human interaction (HI) among various laboratory animal species. Together, these two specialty blocks are designed to provide the attendee with points to consider when developing or managing the behavior and enrichment of the research animals under their care.


    Part II: BEHAVIOR & ENRICHMENT Presentations


    Mice, Mice Baby!
    Speaker: Brianna Gaskill, Assistant Professor of Animal Welfare – Purdue University

    Wild rodent behavior is rich, complex, and fascinating; yet, the casual observer of laboratory rodent behavior will only see a fraction of the breadth and complexity of behavior seen in the wild. This session will introduce the audience to the range and adaptability of normal behavior in wild mice, and the central role of behavior in adapting to harsh environments. We will discuss the impact of modern mouse husbandry on behavior, the limitations this places on mice’s ability to cope with the stress of captivity, and enrichment as a means of facilitating coping behaviors. Ultimately, we will use this perspective to assess mouse housing and enrichment from the mouse’s point of view. Consequences for well-being will be explored, and emphasis will be placed on the importance of behavior in properly assessing the effectiveness and impact of enrichments before they are implemented. Further examples of normal and abnormal mouse behavior, including video clips and observational protocols, can be found at



    Human Interaction: The Ultimate Form of Enrichment
    Speaker: Carolyn Allen, Enrichment & Operant Conditioning Specialist – AbbVie

    In the laboratory animal industry, when one hears the word “enrichment”, the focus may typically go to toys, food or environmental manipulations given; however, we often overlook the importance of our interactions with the animals themselves, and how these interactions may be the single most important form of enrichment that we could offer. No interaction is inconsequential; every single interaction we have with our animals leaves a lasting impression.  Positive human/animal interactions are key to successful training, assist with building trust, help to decrease stress (for the animal and human), allow us to create bonds, and help to open our eyes to learning more about individual preferences, behavior and nuances.




    Health surveillance programs should be created to suit institutional or research requirements. Often, a program begins with developing a bio-exclusion list, and continues with maintenance via diagnostic testing. Part one of this two-part block will provide general information on the various diagnostic techniques that are currently available. Together, these two specialty blocks are intended for those who are responsible for the development and maintenance of a health surveillance program for their institution.


    HEALTH MONITORING A-Z Presentations


    Practical Applications in a Research Facility
    Speaker: Julie Watson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Molecular & Comparative Pathobiology – Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

    Recent advances in diagnostic methods have prompted many institutions, including our own, to consider radically changing the way we conduct health monitoring in our rodent facilities. The advent of exhaust air dust (EAD) testing by PCR has allowed us to identify colony organisms that were poorly detected by sentinels, and offers the enticing possibility that sentinels might be going the way of the dodo (a phrase shamelessly stolen from Ken Henderson). However, the question remains as to whether EAD testing is effective for all commonly excluded organisms or is instead subject to the vagaries of different rack systems, different bedding, and even different diagnostic laboratories. EAD testing also brings its own challenges, in particular an increase in false positives caused by ‘legacy’ DNA remaining in racks from prior infections. This talk will describe some of the successes and failures encountered in implementing an EAD health surveillance system and methods used to overcome problems. Suggestions will also be made for refinements to other health surveillance systems where EAD testing is not applicable.



    Alternative Health Monitoring - MakING the Transition from a Sentinel-based Program
    Speaker: Cheryl Perkins, Scientist II – Charles River

    While the historical soiled bedding sentinel testing model has been used for decades, advances in housing and biosecurity within the past 20 years have contributed to challenges in pathogen detection. Evolution of rodent diagnostics has provided mounting evidence which supports that many infectious agents do not transfer well to soiled bedding sentinels. Consequently, several alternative health monitoring (AHM) methods have been developed to improve infectious agent detection. AHM methods depend upon housing type and may include direct testing of colony animals or exhaust air dust (EAD) samples such as plenum/pre-filter swabs, in-line collection devices, sentinel cage filters, etc. These alternative monitoring methods will detect those infectious agents that do not transfer well to sentinels, as well as those that do. Another benefit of AHM is the potential to reduce or eliminate the need for bedding sentinels which supports the 3Rs initiative.


    This presentation will describe how to modify a health monitoring program by transitioning from one that relies solely upon soiled bedding sentinel testing to one that employs sampling, which will improve pathogen detection and reduce animal use.



    Rodent Necropsy & Tissue Collection Techniques
    Speaker: Christina Parkinson, Supervisor, Health Monitoring – Charles River

    Postmortem examination, or necropsy, is an important tool in the diagnostic process. This presentation will provide an overview of a diagnostic necropsy and offer the technologist, investigator, or lab animal veterinarian a foundation on which to develop his or her necropsy skills. The discussion will use a step-by-step format to focus on how to perform a thorough gross examination and collect and fix tissue for histopathology. Additionally, other components of the necropsy including the antemortem exam, euthanasia methods, setup and supplies, appropriate PPE, and ancillary testing and collection of testing samples will be addressed. Students will be given a brief overview of common tissues that should be viewed as part of a gross examination and images detailing normal from abnormal. Tissue collection, storage and submission will briefly be addressed.


    Health surveillance programs should be created to suit institutional or research requirements. Often, a program begins with developing a bio-exclusion list, and continues with maintenance via diagnostic testing. Together, these two specialty blocks are intended for those who are responsible for the development and maintenance of a health surveillance program for their institution.


    HEALTH MONITORING A-Z Presentations


    Microbiologic Quality Control of Rodent Research Models: Biosecurity and Surveillance
    Speaker: Bill Shek, Senior Scientific Director – Charles River

    It is widely accepted that laboratory animals for modern biomedical research need to be specific pathogen free (SPF), i.e., free from infections with a limited list of pathogens shown to cause disease or otherwise interfere with research. The purpose of this presentation is to provide veterinarians and vivarium managers with an overview of the key components of microbiologic quality control (QC) to preserve the SPF status of research colonies including biosecurity and routine diagnostic testing, commonly called health monitoring (HM).


    Effective biosecurity is based on mitigating the risks associated with the key animal and indirect sources of infection. Its main components for rodents are rederivation (by hysterectomy and cross-fostering, or embryo transfer) to eliminate adventitious agents, and maintenance of animals behind room- to cage-level barrier systems to exclude pathogens. For HM, the traditional diagnostic methodologies in use for over half a century include direct gross and microscopic examinations of animal specimens for parasites and pathology, microbiology consisting of cultural isolation and phenotypic identification of primary and opportunistically pathogenic bacteria and fungi, and serology (i.e., immunoassays) for specific antibodies chiefly to viruses. The newest methodology, molecular diagnostics by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was introduced in the mid-1990s; since then, its use in HM has grown, in recent years dramatically, for reasons to be discussed. Although advances in microbiologic QC have essentially eliminated once common pathogens such as Sendai virus, contaminations with environmentally stable and highly contagious enterotropic pathogens continue to occur. Moreover, these and recently discovered pathogens are prevalent in the genetically engineered mouse models that compose a rapidly growing percentage of research animals. The continued occurrence of adventitious infections and discovery of pathogens underscore the importance of HM results that accurately represent the pathogen status of research animals, but also highlight the limitations of HM and the benefits of rederivation to eliminate and prevent the dissemination of undiscovered pathogens. To avoid needless disruption to research, it is essential before taking corrective action to substantiate new positive findings by repeat testing of both the original and additional samples, utilizing available complementary diagnostic methodologies (e.g., serology and PCR). Corrective action plans should comprise communication with users and steps to contain, eradicate, investigate and mitigate a recurrence of the outbreak.



    An Introduction to Bacteriological Testing in an Animal Facility
    Speaker: Christina Parkinson, Supervisor, Health Monitoring – Charles River

    Bacteriological testing as part of a routine health monitoring program, environmental monitoring program or for diagnostic purposes is a valuable tool in the vivarium. This presentation will provide a basic overview of the most common types of bacteriological testing available and offers technologists, investigators or veterinarians a generalized overview of the differing options and when to use them. This presentation will be divided into two main categories. First, environmental monitoring via culture, sterility testing, bioburden testing and the use of rodac and settling plates will be reviewed.  Understanding the different options available, the correct sampling methods, as well as shipment, and understanding your results will be reviewed.


    Second, the use of culture as part of your routine health monitoring, or as a diagnostic tool, to screen for common pathogenic and opportunistic organisms will be reviewed. Sampling, submission, media types, and incubation will be reviewed, as well as a generalized overview of result interpretation.


    At the end of this one-hour talk, attendees will have acquired a basic overview of the most common bacteriological testing methods for the vivarium as well as the sample types, sampling techniques and the required storage, shipping or incubation conditions associated with each.



    Exhaust Dust and You!
    Speaker: Kate Pritchett-Corning, Sr. Clinical Veterinarian – Harvard University

    This presentation will provide participants with an overview the use of environmental monitoring to monitor the microbial status of animal colonies.

    To sentinel or not to sentinel, that is the question. In this presentation, I will attempt to present a look at the history of health monitoring and an examination of current technologies used in health monitoring of rodent colonies. For current technologies, we will further discuss how they can be best applied in a facility and where their application may not be ideal. Finally, I will present a case study of the transition from sentinels to the facility-wide application of exhaust dust monitoring.


    Coming soon




    Scheduling Models and the Implementation of a Task-Driven Staff Assignment
    Speakers: David Brammer, Executive Director, Animal Care Operations – University of Houston; Tasha Thomas, Operations & Business Development Specialist – Charles River;
    Yehia Wafa, Project Manager – Charles River

    In order to maximize productivity and operate efficiently, there needs to be a clear course of action on staff responsibilities and specific work duties for each member of your team. However, effective planning can be both time consuming and complex when considering a wide variety of activities and the proper resources to support them. This includes materials, functioning equipment, and staff that are trained to fully capable to utilize them. In addition, the work becomes more complex when considering the live animals and the varied species our staff may be required to work with.


    The implementation of a sound schedule impacts the work flow, staff satisfaction, and overall success of your laboratory animal research program. The presenters will provide an overview of several scheduling models and ways to optimize work efficiency through staff scheduling. The presenters will also provide an overview of the pros and cons of implementation, and a specific review of a task driven scheduling model. In addition, special emphasis will be given to the task oriented scheduling model and how it is used at two lean management facilities.


    This presentation will introduce lean management principles and discuss how they apply to staff scheduling. The talk will also cover the room assignment scheduling model, the team captain area approach scheduling model, and the task-oriented scheduling model. Special emphasis will be given to the task oriented scheduling model and how it is used at two lean management facilities. The panel discussion will explore the advantages, disadvantages and methods of implementing each system.



    An Illustrative Compendium for the Identification and Management of Clinical Conditions in Mice
    Speaker: Nicole Monts de Oca, Sr. Staff Veterinarian – Charles River; Cynthia Lockworth, Assistant Professor - UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

    Many clinical conditions consistently arise in the laboratory animal setting at nearly all institutions. We have compiled the most common conditions to assist clinical veterinarians, veterinary resident, and rodent healthcare personnel in the laboratory animal field to develop their skills in the identification and subsequent management of the most common clinical presentations. We will address the importance of early condition recognition as it pertains to the success of treatment or the performance of humane animal euthanasia. Common presentations, etiologies, and typical management choices for over forty conditions will be reviewed. Upon completion of the course, attendees will be able to recognize each condition, and develop familiarity with typical management options. Severe conditions requiring immediate attention will also be addressed.



    Electronic Animal Health Records, Transitioning to a Paperless Vivarium
    Speaker: Tasha Thomas, Operations & Business Development Specialist – Charles River

    Organizations achieve more when labor and resources are allocated appropriately. This session will review the operational efficiencies gained by transitioning to a paperless vivarium and describe basic steps towards going green. This session is geared towards directors, project and facility managers and vivarium supervisors.


    With the use of nonrodent animal species for research, it is critical that those who manage their health and welfare have a strong understanding of the diseases that commonly affect them. This specialty block will review common diseases associated with nonhuman primate animal models. This block is intended for vivarium personnel who are directly responsible for managing the health and welfare of these animal models.


    NON-HUMAN PRIMATES Presentations


    New Frontiers in NonHuman Primate Diagnostics
    Speaker: Rajeev Dhawan, Director, Bioassay Services – Charles River

    Routine health monitoring of laboratory nonhuman primates (NHPs) is performed by serology, PCR and bacteriology. Historically, serology using whole virus lysate ELISAs have been the main screening tool for detecting antibodies against the NIH recommended SPF infectious agents, mainly retroviruses (SIV, SRV and STLV) and B-virus. Emerging technologies are leading the way to improve routine diagnostic testing by providing faster, reliable results. These include use of recombinant antigens and multiplex Luminex® technology (MFIA) in which all assays for infectious agents (and internal controls) can be performed in a single well. Multiplexing reduces the need for large serum volume, allowing the use of a new sampling technique, HemaTIP™ for routine serosurveillance. HemaTIP™ requires only 20 µL of whole blood and NHPs need not be anesthetized during collection. Similarly, use of MALDI-TOF leads to cheaper and quicker identification of bacterial isolates in comparison to biochemical and PCR identification. In the past few years, Chagas and flavivirus infections have become of concern in outdoor NHP colonies, especially in southern USA. Assay development for these agents using these new technologies, as well as their prevalence data in lab NHPs, will be presented. In addition, results analysis and interpretation of various diagnostic tests will be discussed.



    Infectious Diseases of Nonhuman Primates: Clinical and Specific Pathogen Free Agents
    Speaker: JoAnne Yee, Pathogen Detection Laboratory Core Manager - California National Primate Research Center & UC – Davis

    Infectious agents can pose a threat to the individual and overall colony health of nonhuman primates, and to their maximal utility as animal models for biomedical research. An understanding of the pathobiology of these agents can help to prevent their introduction into and/or limit their impact in colonies. Some commonly isolated agents associated with diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems include Campylobacter and Shigella bacteria. Klebsiella and Streptococcus bacteria are commonly associated with respiratory signs. To avoid morbidity, mortality, and variability confounding research data, many studies require specific pathogen free (SPF) animals. The National Institutes of Health minimal definition of SPF for macaques includes simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), simian betaretrovirus retrovirus (SRV, also known as type D retrovirus), simian T-lymphotropic virus (STLV) and macacine herpesvirus 1 (McHV1, also known as B-virus). The biology, pathogenesis, pathology, transmission, prevention, and detection of these and other commonly observed infectious agents will be reviewed in this presentation.



    Social Behavior in Laboratory Macaques: Health, Husbandry, and Research Considerations
    Speaker: Marnie Metzler, Attending Veterinarian – Charles River – IS

    Captive macaques naturally form dominance hierarchies under social housing conditions. Social subordination in laboratory macaques is associated with reduced access to resources, physical harassment, threat of aggression, lack of control, and the absence of an outlet for resulting frustrations. Such persistent physical and social stress can lead to dysregulation of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis – a pathway linked to many adverse health outcomes. Social subordination stress in laboratory macaques is powerful ethological tool for studying the effects of psychosocial stress on the development of human mood disorders and chronic disease states. This talk will cover how to recognize social subordination and associated stress phenotypes, detail the physiological effects of chronic psychosocial stress, and describe how chronic psychosocial stress may relate to health and welfare considerations.


    It is estimated that mice and rats comprise more than 80% of the animals used in research in the United States, with mice far outnumbering rats. Presentations will focus on mice, rats, and canines, reviewing each species’ unique biology, general behavior and husbandry, and care requirements. This block is intended for new entrants to the field as well as individuals who desire a refresher on the biology and care of species utilized in research.


    BASIC BIOLOGY & CARE Presentations


    Biology & Care of Laboratory Mice
    Speaker: Jennifer Smith, Director – Henry Ford Hospital

    Laboratory mice continue to be the most frequently used laboratory species, making it essential to have a thorough understanding of their unique life cycle, behavior, and biology. The specific anatomic and physiologic properties of the species will be presented, as well as differences commonly associated with various strains. The humane care and use of this species and reproductive biology, including breeding colony management, will also be addressed. This course provides the basic & essential framework of information that is pertinent for veterinarians, researchers, technicians, and animal care staff working with the laboratory mouse. The objective is to provide a thorough background of the unique biology and humane care of this commonly used laboratory species.



    Biology & Care of Canines
    Speaker: Michele Wilkinson, Director of Enrichment and Behavioral Medicine – Charles River

    The basic biology and husbandry of the dog are presented, with emphasis on the areas that are unique from companion animal/pet dogs. Comparative housing schemes between the United States regulations and the European Union directive will be highlighted. Select diseases most common to both colonies of dogs and the beagle breed will be discussed. Included in the presentation is a review of normal canine behavior, best practice environmental enrichment recommendations and the abnormal behaviors typically seen in research dogs. Participants will gain an understanding of the similarities and fundamental differences between the household pet dog and the research dog and the recommendations for exemplary housing and care of research dogs.



    Biology & Care of Laboratory Rats
    Speaker: Jennifer Smith, Director – Henry Ford Hospital

    Just like the laboratory mouse, the laboratory rat has unique traits, behaviors and biology that make it a common species for biomedical research. The specific anatomic and physiologic properties of the laboratory rat will be presented, as well as differences commonly associated with various strains. The humane care and use of this species and reproductive biology, including breeding colony management, will also be addressed. This course provides the basic & essential framework of information that is pertinent for veterinarians, researchers, technicians, and animal care staff working with the laboratory rat. The objective is to provide a thorough background of the unique biology and humane care of this commonly used laboratory species. Participants will review aspects of anatomy, physiology and behavior that are common to this species and their application in humane care and use.


    Drug discovery and development are heavily dependent on the judicious application of animal models. Demonstration of efficacy in a relevant animal model of human disease is one of the initial steps in this pathway, and is often used as a go/no go step in decision making. Relevant models must recreate the human pathology along with shared etiologic mechanisms. This block examines some models used in the discovery and development of therapies for the treatment of various disorders. The presentations focus on disease modeling, the actual recapitulation of the disease in translational models, and the influence of husbandry and vivarium conditions on the data we derive from those studies.




    Validity of animal models of diabetes, and strategies to enhance their utility in translational research
    Speaker: Melanie Graham, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery Program Director, Preclinical Research Center - University of Minnesota

    Diabetes currently affects over 400 million people worldwide. Most patients still experience glycemic instability and associated comorbidity. There is an unmet medical need for novel therapeutics. Animal models have been indispensable in testing innovative medicinal approaches since the early testing of insulin in dogs almost a century ago. Models include mainly rodents with spontaneous diabetes, or rodents and nonhuman primates (NHPs) in which diabetes is induced chemically or by pancreatectomy. To a less extent, models in pigs are used. Validity of the animal model is highly dependent on species and pathogenesis. Careful attention should be given to managing diabetic animals: outcome measures in the model are highly stress-sensitive and parameters that have potential for confounding should be addressed (e.g., environment, metabolic management, and handling). Refinement can be used to limit model-induced confounding and disparity by introducing ‘clinical trial-like’ features. Adoption of the 3Rs benefits animal well-being and maximizes the likelihood of accurate prediction to the clinical situation and successful translation.



    Neurovascular Animal Models of Disease: Learning from Past Mistakes
    Speaker: Liliana Cesar, Program Manager – Translational Testing & Training Laboratories (T3 Labs)

    Neurovascular animal models of diseases have been crucial to advance in the knowledge, development and testing of treatment alternatives for many CNS disturbances. In this presentation, the participants will learn the most common large animal models currently used for arteriovenous malformations (AVM), stroke and aneurysms (side wall, bifurcational and survival long-term model). Requirements for constructions, challenges, critical animal care aspects and impact on the results of the study will be discussed.



    Operational Approaches Using Immune Competent Animals in a High-Throughput Facility Environment
    Speaker: Louis K. Dawson, Sr. Research Specialist, Operations – Charles River

    The use of immune-competent animals in research requires a consistent but flexible approach. The expanding field of preclinical oncology necessitates diligence in monitoring the welfare of these animals, and providing the enrichment they deserve.  Charles River’s Morrisville location is one of the premier contract research organization (CRO) sites in the world. In its early days the site supported a colony size of approximately 6000 and primarily dealt with athymic nude mice and marginal usage of C57BL/6, Balb/c, and SCID mice along with Sprague Dawley/nude rats. As client demand for increasingly difficult models grew, our site adapted to accommodate this ever-changing landscape. Our exceptional facility and animal husbandry staff has been able to meet and exceed requirements for housing our ever-expanding colony count, which can be maxed out (with over 60K animals) in 2017. The use of positive pressure BioBUBBLEs, laminar flow hoods, and biological safety cabinets have been critical to enabling our site to humanely interact with our colonies and maintain necessary biosecurity levels. The flexibility, efficiency, and biosecurity of our facility design has allowed us to expand our capabilities to now include PDX and humanized models and imaging platforms. We have also stayed on top of additional biosecurity risks by incorporating a stand-alone BSL2 room attached to our current facility. When combined with our in-house reverse osmosis watering system, cage wash/autoclave, and bedding filling station, our site is equipped operationally to handle the growing challenges facing facilities that utilize immune-compromised animals in their research.



  • Management

    The Laboratory Animal Management Association (LAMA) is an organization dedicated to advancing the quality of management and care of laboratory animals around the world. This block is intended for trainers, supervisors and staff managers who want to learn how to enhance their leadership skills, promote productivity and create a positive laboratory work environment.


    We all have had conversations in our lives that we wish we could have a “Do Over”.  We said something we didn’t mean, we heard something that perhaps was said out of context, we didn’t properly frame the discussion or we were not comfortable in delivering a message.  In this course, attendees will learn the necessary and critical skills to communicate effectively. Attendees will spend some time reflecting on past experiences and learn new techniques to equip themselves with tools and novel approaches for entering challenging conversations with confidence.


    Do you avoid conflict or do you meet it head on? Are you a strong collaborator or do you give in too easily during times of negotiations? The second part of the day will be spent looking at the different conflict styles and learning about tips and techniques for managing conflict.  Many individuals feel that conflict is bad and unhealthy for a relationship. At the end of this course, attendees will have a better insight into what drives conflict, alternatives to dealing with conflict and why conflict is actually critical for success.


    This block requires attendees to register for the full day.



    Management Boot Camp Presentations

    Management Boot Camp presented by LAMA: Courageous Conversations & Resolving Conflict
    Speakers: Leah Curtin, Associate Director – Sanofi; Diana Baumann, Head, Reptile & Aquatics – Stowers Institute; Pamela Straeter, Associate Director, RIA – Princeton University;
    Camellia Symonowicz, Operations Manager – Pfizer

    The specialty block has three presentations focusing on current trending topics in animal welfare. Methods of humane anesthesia of laboratory rodents will be discussed, incorporating both operational and animal welfare perspectives. A principle author of the American Journal of Primatology 2017 special issue on the well-being of nonhuman primates will present a review of the current literature and recommendations from the experts in the field of behavioral primatology. Finally, the NC3Rs recipient of the 2016 3Rs prize will present her award-winning research on the welfare of laboratory rats. These three diverse but welfare-themed presentations will provide the attendee with a perspective of concrete ideas of how animal welfare can be improved and implemented in their own work.


    WELFARE Presentations


    Progress in behavioral management programs for laboratory primateS in the United States
    Speaker: Kate Baker, Behavioral Biologist – Tulane University

    Changes in the behavioral management of nonhuman primates can be quantified by comparing surveys conducted in 2003 and 2014, involving 14 facilities housing 30,000 primates. This information is intended to assist facilities in evaluating and enhancing their programs through awareness of progress and current common practices. Surveys queried program elements such as implementation levels and methodology associated with social housing, positive reinforcement training, inanimate enrichment, and constraints on these elements, as well as program staffing and management. Since 2003, there have been considerable expansions, especially in social housing (from 74% to 83% of primates overall; from 43% to 62% of caged primates) and positive reinforcement training (from 36% to all facilities). Programs are staffed by larger numbers of behavioral management technicians. There has been increased participation of animal care technicians, suggesting enhanced integration of behavioral management into overall care.


    Speaker: Joanna Makowska

    What are rats really like? What does it mean to provide laboratory rodents with a good life? The aim of this lecture is to challenge existing preconceptions about what constitutes a ‘normal’ laboratory rat or mouse. This lecture will showcase videos and data on laboratory rodents’ motivation to perform natural behaviors, focusing on burrowing, climbing and upright standing in rats, as well as the importance of having separate nesting and elimination sites in mice. We will also explore the cognitive and social needs of rats, and how meeting those needs can impact the welfare of both the rats and their human caretakers. Creative ideas for how to implement some changes in a conventional facility will be covered.


    Animal Welfare and the Induction of Anesthesia
    Speaker: Debra Hickman, Director, Laboratory Animal Resource Center – Indiana University

    With the recent debate around the use of carbon dioxide as a euthanasia agent for laboratory rodents, additional questions have been raised about the well-being of animals during the induction of anesthesia. In this presentation, we will review the principles of anesthesia and anesthesia overdose (euthanasia) and how to evaluate the well-being of rodents during the entire anesthesia process. We will focus on the wide variety of tools available for the assessment of well-being and how to ensure that one is selecting the appropriate assessment for experimental designs that focus on anesthesia induction. These studies are challenging primarily because the length of time from induction to loss of consciousness is highly variable depending upon the method used. The primary learning objective for this session is to understand the assessment of animal well-being and how to critically apply the appropriate tool during experimental design.


    Public awareness of the good that is accomplished through our efforts is often overshadowed by the negative pressure exerted from various animal rights organizations. As an industry, we need to better connect with the public and continually educate people on the importance of biomedical research and the work we do for both animal and man. This specialty block is ideal for those looking for guidance on how to help shift public perception and separate fact from fiction.


    PUBLIC OUTREACH Presentations


    Homes for Animal Heroes: The Truth Has Never Felt So Good!
    Speaker: Cindy Buckmaster, Director, Center for Comparative Medicine – Baylor College of Medicine
    The Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) has been acquiring research dogs and using them as props to promote and fund a dangerous and misleading global anti-research campaign. Several research institutions in the US have fallen prey to BFP’s dishonest tactics and have shut down their adoption programs to avoid further victimization by this animal rights group; many adoptable dogs have been euthanized as a direct result of BFP’s actions. Homes for Animal Heroes (HAH) is a rehoming network that research institutions can trust completely. HAH will have the capacity to foster, train and place more research dogs, annually, than all existing groups combined. This network will provide us with the first ever nationwide platform for engaging the public in truthful discussions about our work and their demands for it! We will talk about how we care for our dogs and what they help us learn for human and animal well-being, and we will answer their questions openly and honestly. It’s time for us to partner with other loving Americans who are grateful to our animal heroes for all they have given us. It’s past time for us to take back the conversation and engage the public in loving solutions, rather than harmful arguments. It’s time for all of us to show our gratitude, share our love, and support our heroes!


    Volunteerism? It’s a Way of Life
    Speaker: Michael Brunt, Project Manager – University of Guelph

    We are laboratory animal science professionals because we love animals and people. We want to contribute to improving all lives. Being a part of this tight-knit community bonds us together in shared experiences, mutual understanding and support. As a natural extension, giving back to our community through volunteerism becomes natural. Whether it is professional or personal, human or animal, big or small, local or international, volunteerism changes your life. I will discuss how volunteering has shaped and impacted my life, along with the unexpected opportunities that arose from them. I also will talk about how volunteering can inspire others to volunteer. Volunteerism is gratifying, infectious, exhilarating and it is a way of life!



    In Support of Animal Research: What Can We Do to Improve Reproducibility and Translation?
    Speaker: Joseph Garner, Associate Professor of Comparative Medicine – Stanford University

    Biomedical research is justified as a social good – our work makes the lives of humans better, and we do so while striving to improve the lives of the animals we work with. However, in both human and animal work, the majority of biomedical research cannot be reproduced, and the vast majority of animal work does not translate to humans. This talk argues for the fundamental value of biomedical research in animals, and presents a variety for strategies for maximizing the chance of reproducibility and translation. Learning objectives include understanding the reproducibility and translatability crises, and objective evidence-based criteria for maximizing the efficacy of animal work that can be applied by PIs, IACUCs and veterinarians.



    It is a common myth that contaminations do not occur at facilities where a robust biosecurity program is maintained. In fact, no biosecurity program is 100% ironclad, and it is critical that a bio-exclusion list is determined by the impact an agent will have on the research being conducted. This block will review the common diseases found in mice and rat colonies, as well discuss key strategies for developing exclusion lists that factor in budget, feasibility, safety and impact to the facility or its research. This block is intended for those who are responsible for managing an exclusion list and/or maintaining the required health status of an organization’s resident rodent colonies.




    Common Diseases of Laboratory Rats
    Speaker: Krista La Perle, Professor & Director Comparative Pathology – The Ohio State University

    Laboratory rats, like mice, are susceptible to a variety of infectious, neoplastic and miscellaneous diseases according to their background strain and age, as well as the environment and experimental conditions to which they are exposed. While quarantine and sentinel health monitoring programs have dramatically reduced the incidence of infectious diseases within vivaria over the years, clinicians, staff and pathologists must be prepared to work together to identify existing and emerging diseases in their colony. For common diseases unique to the rat, the clinical and pathological presentation, diagnosis and confounding effects on biomedical research will be covered.



    Why Is it so hard to eradicate Corynebacterium bovis from a contaminated facility?
    A review of potential sources of recontamination and preventive measures
    Speaker: Marie DeBrue, Associate Director Technical & Veterinary Services – Pfizer


    Corynebacterium bovis infections in immune-deficient strains of mice continue to plague many academia and industry research facilities internationally. Once present within a facility, eradication of C. bovis from infected mouse colonies has proven to be challenging. The presentation will review potential sources of contamination which can perpetuate infections within institutions, detection methods that can be used for rodent colony surveillance, and decontamination and prevention practices that can help eradicating the disease from a facility.



    Common Diseases of Laboratory Mice
    Speaker: Krista La Perle, Professor & Director Comparative Pathology – The Ohio State University

    Laboratory mice, the most common animal model used for biomedical research, are susceptible to a variety of infectious, neoplastic and miscellaneous diseases according to their background strain and age, as well as the environment and experimental conditions to which they are exposed. While quarantine and sentinel health monitoring programs have dramatically reduced the incidence of infectious diseases within vivaria over the years, clinicians, staff and pathologists must be prepared to work together to identify existing and emerging diseases in their colony. For common diseases of laboratory rodents with an emphasis on mice, the clinical and pathological presentation, diagnosis and confounding effects on biomedical research will be covered.



    Over the past few years, the use of zebrafish in research as an alternative to mammalian models has increased. However, the challenges associated with the care and management of an aquatic model are quite different from rodent or other terrestrial research animals. This block will provide an overview of this relatively new research model, as well as address the various components needed for the proper care of this model.


    AQUATICS Presentations


    Quarantine Procedures for Laboratory Zebrafish
    Speaker: Christian Lawrence, Aquatic Resources Program Manager – Boston Children’s Hospital


    Pathogen control is a critical concern for laboratory zebrafish populations, given the threats posed by both outbreaks of clinical disease and from unplanned experimental variation arising from subclinical infections. Health management practices for zebrafish are in a state of flux, rapidly transitioning from antiquated/unproven protocols to more data-driven and performance-based approaches. A core element of an effective strategy is the ability to establish control over incoming materials that have the potential to transmit infectious agents to an existing population. This presentation will provide an overview of common “quarantine” procedures currently employed in the field to deal with this problem, as well as an introduction to concepts and emerging data that can be used to develop improved methodology going forward.



    Creating a Health Management Program for Zebrafish Establishments
    Speaker: Nick King, Director of Operations – Fish Vet Group

    Conditions within aquatic systems favor the proliferation of many disease-causing organisms, including primary and opportunistic pathogens. With these organisms present in the environment, outbreak of disease can occur with acute stress to the host, or sudden instability in the housing system. The resulting clinical or subclinical disease to the host can have adverse effects on facility performance standards, and the integrity/repeatability of research results. Some zebrafish pathogens also have risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission to facility staff.  Disease risk can be minimized by developing a comprehensive Health Management and Biosecurity Program (HMBP) that considers all pathways of infection (water, fish, equipment, people, fomites, vectors, and feed), and routinely reports on fish health status for any system, facility, or establishment. A HMBP should utilize disease surveillance and screening of discrete populations based on statistical sampling models to catch potential lesions in biosecurity protocols, and provide evidence as the foundation for biosecurity decisions.

    This lecture will outline important considerations needed to develop and implement a Health Management and Biosecurity Program for the aquatic facility.



    The Development and Maintenance of a Specific Pathogen Free Zebrafish Facility
    Speaker: Carrie Barton, Zebrafish Facility Manager – Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory

    Specific pathogen free (SPF) facilities are common for mammalian laboratory models, but this concept is still relatively new for zebrafish. In 2006, construction of a new zebrafish facility at Oregon State University began with the goal to create a facility that would prevent contamination by Pseudoloma neurophilia, a commonly found pathogen in research zebrafish colonies. To create this SPF program, new approaches for quarantine design and diagnostic testing methods were implemented. The new design centered around a three-stage quarantine system and multi-generation testing, while also eliminated the potential for contamination from quarantine to the main “clean” housing spaces. The SARL operates as a closed core facility, with strict biosecurity and internal health monitoring protocols in place to maintain the SPF status. One important outcome of this effort is that the SARL is positioned to be a resource for the research community by providing a highly robust colony of SPF to meet an ever-increasing research need.

    For travel purposes, the Short Course will conclude at 3:30pm on Thursday June 15, 2017.


    The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) advances the humane care and responsible use of laboratory animals through certification of veterinary specialists, professional development, education and research. This specialty block is divided into two parts that combines didactic and hands-on mock-exam training. In addition to an overview, sessions will include study guides, roundtables, mentoring and networking.


    The blocks are intended for those looking to obtain tools and resources that are helpful when seeking ACLAM certification and you must register for this
    all-day specialty block.


    CAMP ACLAM Presentations


    The blocks are intended for those looking to obtain tools and resources that are helpful when seeking ACLAM certification and you must register for this all-day specialty block.



    Adrienne Dardenne Meyers - CRF Skirball Center for Innovation

    Mel Balk, Executive Director – ACLAM

    Mary Ann McCrackin, Veterinary Medical Officer & Associate Professor – Medical University of South Carolina

    Marissa Wolfe – Medical University of South Carolina

    Michael Esmail, Clinical Veterinarian – Tufts University

    Samer Jaber, Sr. Clinical Veterinarian – University of Massachusetts Medical School

    Mary Robinson, Executive Director and Associate Professor - University of Texas Health Science Center

    Nicole Monts De Oca, Sr. Staff Veterinarian – Charles River



    Required Credentials for Board Eligibility

    Speaker: Marissa Wolfe – Medical University of South Carolina


    This presentation will discuss the requirements necessary to sit for the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine certifying examination.



    Helpful Hints for Reviewing Literature & Study Resources

    Speaker: Mary Robinson, Executive Director and Associate Professor, Center for Laboratory Animal Medicine and Care – University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston


    The objective of this presentation is to provide guidance to clinical veterinarians who plan to sit for the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine certification exam. Various study resources will be presented and tips on how to develop an organized study plan will be discussed. A sample study schedule will be handed out for use as a starting point for individual study plans. Upon completion of the course, attendees will have gained valuable knowledge regarding various reference materials and will be able to create a personal, goal-driven schedule for review of these materials.



    The Nomenclature of Laboratory Animals

    Speaker: Kate Pritchett-Corning, Senior Clinical Veterinarian – Harvard University


    To aid in communication, standardized nomenclature for various laboratory animals has been agreed upon by scientists working with these animals. Not all species used in

    a laboratory setting have strict naming rules promulgated by a central body, but there are naming conventions in place for laboratory rodents. The focus of this presentation

    will be on understanding the standardized nomenclature of mice and rats and what it does and does not communicate to the initiated. Some examples include understanding the basic rules used to name inbred, outbred, and genetically modified rodents. Although understanding mouse and rat nomenclature can seem challenging, plenty of examples, an overly-excitable presenter, and perhaps even a sing-along will help.




    Emerging TECHNOLOGIES Presentations


    What Is In Vitro Toxicology?  How Is It Integrated into In Vivo Toxicology?  Where Is Its Future?
    Speaker: Clive Roper, Operational Area Manager, In Vitro Sciences – Charles River

    In vitro testing has been mainstream in toxicology since the 1970’s. A genetox programme starts with in vitro bacterial (Ames), in vitro mammalian prior to testing in the rodent. Skin penetration studies utilizing human skin have virtually replaced in vivo testing for topical products. Other examples are hERG testing for safety pharmacology and in silico QSAR tests in support of genetox and acute toxicology testing. This testing is already very much part of an integrated testing approach incorporating in silico, in chemico and in vitro technologies with in vivo animal models. There are few areas where in vitro assays fully replace in vivo; however, advances in iPSC, 3D tissues and tissue and human-on-a-chip continue apace in pursuit of this goal. Now, we recognize that the advantages of in vitro models are that they utilize human tissue, help us to identify mechanisms, drive translation, screen and help dose setting for animal models as part of a truly 3Rs vision in toxicology.


    The objective of this presentation is to provide the audience with information on different in vitro, in chemico and in silico (computational) tests within general and investigational toxicology, and explain how the tests are used within the regulatory testing environment within an integrated testing strategy. Specific examples will be used from different areas of toxicology. A vision of the direction for in vitro toxicology will be shared with the audience.


    Application of In Vitro TISSUE Models for Toxicology and Efficacy Testing
    Speaker: Patrick Hayden, Vice President – MatTek Corp


    In vivo safety assessment of drugs, chemicals and consumer products has generally been a critical regulatory requirement prior to release of new products onto the market. However, in recent years, many in vitro assays have been developed and validated with the aim of replacing or reducing the use of in vivo tests. In vitro models of human skin and ocular epithelium have been developed that closely reproduce the 3D organotypic structure and function of in vivo tissues. These models have been accepted by international regulatory authorities as replacements for in vivo skin corrosion, skin irritation and ocular irritation. Additional organotypic in vitro human epithelial models including airway, vaginal, gingival and intestinal are also in development or validation for regulatory use. The objective of this presentation is to learn how these tissue models are produced and validated as microphysiological platforms to model highly-relevant and predictive human biology. A detailed discussion of how in vitro models are used by the biopharma industry and government regulators to complement or replace animal models today, and what is on the horizon, will be also be covered.



    Advances & Applications in Using 3D Bioprinted Tissue for in vitro Toxicity Testing and Disease Modeling
    Speaker: Jeff Irelan, Director of Tissue Application – Organovo

    Conventional cell-based in vitro models lack the complexity of native tissue and thus have a limited capacity for predicting tissue-level responses. These systems fail to accurately reproduce in vivo phenotypes because of limited longevity and the inability to reproduce complex intercellular events. Advanced in vitro models, such as 3D bioprinted human tissues, have the potential to enhance animal model studies and improve clinical translation. The multicellular architecture, reproducible functionality, and long-term viability of bioprinted tissues allow for the recapitulation of many of the complex phenotypes of chronic toxicity mechanisms or disease states at a histological and molecular level. Data will be presented from studies on 3D bioprinted human liver and kidney tissues demonstrating utility in modeling drug-induced toxicity and complex diseases such as fibrosis.


    The ultimate goal of any biosecurity program is to reduce or eliminate the potential of introducing an adventitious agent into your facility. However, despite maintaining comprehensive biosecurity program, the risk of a breach in biosecurity can never be completely eliminated. This specialty block will first examine the critical control points to address when looking to minimize risk in a vivarium. This will be followed by a tactical approach to recovering from a contamination in your animal facility.


    BIOSECURITY Presentations


    Identifying and Managing Critical Control Points in Your Rodent Biosecurity Program
    Speaker: Guy Mulder, Executive Director, Veterinary and Professional Services – Charles River

    Adequate biosecurity needs to be global, and should encompass the critical control points that pose the highest biosecurity risk to a facility. It is crucial that a biosecurity program incorporates contamination management systems to monitor these control points. This presentation will review the critical control points that are commonly found in an animal vivarium as well provide insight into how to effectively monitor them.



    When Biosecurity Fails: A Tactical Approach to Recovering from an Outbreak
    Speaker: William White, Senior Veterinary Advisor, Veterinary & Professional Services – Charles River

    It is human nature to be optimistic and to assume that an unwanted adventitious organism will not infect laboratory animals at your institution. Unfortunately, it is not a matter of IF your animals will become contaminated, but more a question of WHEN they will become contaminated. This talk will deal with what actions should be taken upon encountering such a contamination to contain, control and eliminate it from research animals, as well as minimize the impact to ongoing research.






    We Are All in This Together: Building a Culture of Safety in Science-Based Organizations
    Speaker: Darin Carroll

    Agencies conducting scientific research present unique and diverse challenges regarding the creation and maintenance of an occupational health and safety program. The CDC is a high profile federal agency with a diverse set of occupational roles. The CDC Occupational Health and Safety Office is tasked with protecting the CDC workforce while preparing CDC staff to enter and work in potentially dangerous places. In order to accomplish this goal, we are working with CDC leadership, staff and all stakeholders to promote a culture of safety across all organizational levels. This lecture will discuss principles and practices of occupational health and safety, specifically focused on incident management and risk mitigation strategies relevant to agencies whose mission involves scientific research on infectious diseases and other hazardous materials.



    The Laboratory Animal Veterinarian’s Role in Outbreak Investigations
    Speaker: Cassandra Tansey, Clinical Veterinarian – Centers for Disease Control

    In this session, we will explain the role(s) of laboratory animal veterinarians in an outbreak investigation and discuss the challenges associated with field investigations of zoonotic diseases.


    Early detection and adequate preparation and response is crucial during outbreaks to minimize the impact of communicable diseases on communities. Laboratory animal veterinarians are uniquely situated to participate in investigations of zoonotic diseases, especially those related to rodents, due to their experience with the species, knowledge of biosafety and infection control, and familiarity with sampling techniques and diagnostic modalities. The recent outbreak of Seoul Hantavirus in ratteries within the United States provides an excellent example of the role(s) laboratory animal veterinarians can play in outbreak investigations. Three teams from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travelled to 22 sites in four states, sampling over 400 rats to determine the source of the outbreak and identify additional cases. Throughout the course of the investigation, PPE requirements, anesthetic and sampling methods, and infection control procedures were developed, implemented, and performed with the input and expertise of laboratory animal veterinarians.



    Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Prevention, Diagnostics and Care: The Role of a Veterinarian in High-Containment Translational Research
    Speaker: Jessica Spengler, Veterinary Medical Officer – Centers for Disease Control

    Hemorrhagic fever viruses, such as Ebola virus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, are zoonotic pathogens that can cause severe disease in human with high case fatality rates. Animal models have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of these pathogens, and have been critical in the research and development of vaccines and therapeutics for the diseases they cause. Development of animal models of disease has been challenging for these, and several other high consequence hemorrhagic fever viruses, as they cause illness almost exclusively in humans. This presentation will discuss the roles of veterinarians in high-containment laboratories, and illustrate how basic research conducted in these laboratories translates to public health. Included are considerations for high consequence viral pathogens, approaches to model development, and novel models of disease.


    Improving the quality of physiological data collection is key to the advancement of animal research. The use of surgically altered animal models is an effective means to achieve such progress and a way to promote the 3Rs. A critical component to success is the appropriate care and maintenance of these animals after surgery. This block will focus on the necessary care of surgically altered animals as well as review the various advances that have shaped the use of electronic instrumentation for physiological data collection.




    Managing Pain for Surgical Models
    Speaker: Jennifer Smith, Director – Henry Ford Hospital

    One of the most important considerations of surgical modeling is the recognition and alleviation of associated pain. Managing pain for surgical models remains both a scientific and welfare endeavor, since inadequately managed pain can lead to adverse physical and psychological states which can have deleterious effects on research outcomes and animal welfare. Assessment of pain is an essential step to providing good pain management; however, this remains one of the most problematic barriers to good pain control when working with laboratory animals. This session will focus on species-specific pain assessment paradigms, as well as provide a review of the various agents available to treat pain in laboratory animals undergoing surgery.


    This course will provide the essential framework of information that is pertinent for veterinarians, researchers, technicians, and animal care staff working with surgical models. The objective is to provide a thorough background of agent pharmacology & best practices for monitoring and obtunding pain in surgical models.



    Care and Maintenance of Surgically Altered Rodent Models
    Speaker: Velu Karicheti, Manager, Surgical Technical Services – Charles River

    The objective of this presentation is to provide information to animal technicians, researchers and veterinary professionals on the care and maintenance of surgically altered rodent (rat and mouse) models. The session will cover both acute and chronic care of the rodents. We will discuss a wide range of surgical rodent models, including vascular and nonvascular catheterized models, neurological models, cardiovascular models, device implant models and soft tissue models. Upon completion, attendees will understand the specific care necessary for both acute and long-term care for each model, and will be able to troubleshoot specific issues with surgical rodent models. The information presented has been drawn from more than 20 years of experience in providing surgically altered rodents to investigators.

*The order in which the blocks are currently arranged is subject to change

© 2016 Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.