IACUC stands for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. It is the board that governs our use of animals here at Brandeis. All work with vertebrate animals needs to be approved by IACUC before we can do it, and all personnel performing the work need to be listed on the protocol.


The IBC is the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Some tools we use, such as replication-incompetent viruses, are subject to the regulation of the IBC, and personnel and techniques must be approved by that committee before we can work with those tools.

Go here BEFORE starting work on a protocol (IACUC)

Before one can work with animals in our lab, you must do the following:

    1. Gain access to the IACUC website by sending a request to iacuc@brandeis.edu written from a Brandeis account: "Hi, my name is FIRSTNAME LASTNAME, and my unet ID is UNETID. I am a GRAD STUDENT/UNDERGRAD/POSTDOC/TECH in the Van Hooser lab. Please grant me access to the IACUC website. Thank you!" You'll get an email back when you're granted access. Then go there.

  1. Complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training modules ("Mandatory Training - CITI program online training") that are needed for the protocol(s) you will be using, listed with your protocol. (Sign up for only those modules listed below the protocol that you will be on). (Everyone will need the three basic CITI courses: "Investigators, Staff & Students Basic training Course", "Reducing Pain & Distress in Lab Mice & Rats", and "Aseptic Surgery". If you are working with ferrets, you will need to complete just the "Ferret" module - if you are not working with any other animals, you do not need to complete any mice or rat etc. modules. If you are working with mice, you will need to complete the "Mice" module.)

  2. Get Occupational Health Clearance to work with research animals. Look here for directions. Utilize the Mt. Auburn Occupational Health Center whose Occupational Health Physician issues medical clearance to work with research animals by reviewing health history forms. For medical clearance utilizing Mt. Auburn, follow the procedure below:

      1. 1) Complete the attached document-the Initial Health Questionnaire.

      2. 2) Fax the document to Mt. Auburn Occupational Health Center at 1-617-868-4497. The fax cover sheet is attached. Please make sure that a Brandeis e-mail is included on the cover sheet as this is how the individual will receive a response from Mt. Auburn. Fax this at least 2-3 business days before your in-person animal training session.

      3. 3) Alternatively, the document can be scanned and e-mailed to Dr. Reid Boswell at Mt. Auburn Occupational Health Center:rboswell@mah.harvard.edu. A response will then be e-mailed to the individual. Email this at least 2-3 business days before your in-person animal training session.

      4. 4) A printout of this e-mail is then brought to a Foster Orientation session as it is documentation that the individual has clearance to work with animals.

  3. Go to a Foster training session, which takes about an hour. Bring your ID, the approved medical clearance, and the protocol number(s) you will be working under to the training session. The info is here ("Mandatory Training - FBRL Orientation). The schedule is often out of date, so just email the manager of Foster if you don't see a future session you can attend (dgoodwin@brandeis.edu).

Neural circuits lab forms for IACUC and USDA compliance:

Ferret syringe labels template (use Avery mailing labels 5160 or 5260): Click here

DYMO label writer drug label template: Click here

Old Surgery Log template for ferrets. Print out before each experiment.

Surgery Log template for mice. Print out before each experiment.

Virus injection forms:

2014-06-09 Surgery Log (PDF. vhlabshare has doc for editing)

virus post-op schedule

Newer Rig 1 Surgery Log:

2014-10-29 (PDF. vhlabshare has doc for editing).

Satellite Housing for Stony Brook (Bassine 419) rats log form

OUT OF DATE forms (for records only)

Rules of thumb for keeping animal procedure rooms up to par for always and for inspections

    • If asked a question by an inspector, provide an answer only to the direct question that was asked. Scientists usually tend to try to give a complete explanation but this can actually invite trouble during an inspection. Example: "How do you know that the animal is anesthetized when using neuromuscular blockers?" "We monitor the heart rate." (End of answer, unless they ask follow up questions.)

    • Rooms should be clean and free of loose clutter.

    • All substances that come into contact with animals should be labeled with an expiration date. Nothing should be expired.

    • No cardboard boxes on the floor, no plastic grocery bags, no paper grocery bags. All storage boxes used for equipment that comes into contact with animals should be some kind of permanent metal or plastic.

    • Any food for animals should be labeled and should have an expiration date.

    • The cot should not be used in an animal procedure room.

    • There should be no domestic animals or domestic animal cages in animal procedure rooms.

    • There should be NO expired drugs or other material (like water, ethanol) in the animal procedure rooms. Liquids that are not for animals should be marked NOT FOR ANIMALS.

Animal databases, housing, ordering, care procedures

Animal Care Training Sheets copy and paste the outlined format on the example page onto a new tab for each new personnel

Ferret ordering/housing procedures, post-operative care, and care for common maladies: Click here (includes ferret bite procedures; ferret bites, ferret handling; bitten)

Ferret Database

Ferret virus database (you may need access)

Virus Injection Set-up, Surgical, and Post-Op procedure guide

Virus injection suture patterns literature Literature about different suture patterns for closing the wound after viral injection.

Mouse breeding guide (by Meredith Blankenship 2/2013) How to start and maintain a small colony of mice, how to sex mice.

How to fetch tree shrews (from Rebecca Chafel, 2014). PDF, Pages

Note about ordering needles -- Henry Schein/Miltex Surgical Needle Guide:

If you are looking for suture needles, this page provides a to-scale guide for needles available from Henry Schein (manufacturer Miltex). Unfortunately, needle dimensions are not available, but print that page at 100% and you can see how big each needle is. Also, be sure to check out Fine Science Tools for suture needles as well.

Note to selves: we think it will cost $350 to convert the old rabbit cages to ferret cages (per cage)

Per Diem and Room Rental Information

Marshall Bioresources price list 2019

Ferret charges are currently $4.07/ferret.

To Contact a vet: email Foster manager Debbie Goodwin at dgoodwin@brandeis.edu. She will direct your request to the vet on duty.

There is also a room rental charge-but that would depend on where they were housed. Currently, Fiser's room rental charge is $1086.92/month. If you were to share a room, then the cost is split by the 2 PI's. Also, if you use ferrets intermittently, (ie use 30 ferrets for 10 weeks, take a break and then want to start up again after a 4 week down time) then you would likely be charged room rental as that room would have to be reserved for you and no one else could use it. If you are in a satellite lab and housing ferrets there-the per diems would still be charged. (as of 2009)

Dosage charts and other animal information

Anesthesia/Euthanasia dosage charts. Use these charts to calculate how much drug to inject either to anesthetize or euthanize a ferret. Copies posted next to drug drawer.

Buthanasia dosage chart. use only for euthanizing ferret with Buthanasia.

Gallamine and Ringer flow rate chart.

Ferret tidal volume notes: (via Rebecca Chaffel via Bob Marini at MIT) Similar to cats, 10-15 ml/kg; ventilation rate is 8-10/min (normal resp rate 27-44/min). [Not sure what age Bob Marini is speaking of here.] Fitzpatrick lab uses 3-5ml for P30-35 kits, rates really vary (usually 20-80 bpm, this is what the kits seem to be breathing before artificial respiration as well)

Animal growth chart: Thanks for the info, Marshall Farms! Click here

Carbon dioxide (CO2) conversion table, from mmHg to %: Click here

How to use the drug log.


Blank amendment and protocol forms can be found at http://www.brandeis.edu/osp/iacucintro.html.

The original files (Lab Manager and Steve are the only ones with access) are here.

For all training on CITI, the modules are now selected automatically for you when you answer a few questions. You must select the Biomedical modules on questions 1-3. Notes for how to pick on Questions 4 and 5 are specific to each protocol.


  • 220100-A (replacing 13009, 13011, 14003, 16003, 19010 ) Ferret Van Hooser development, function & organization of cortical circuits (APPROVED until 2025-04-06)

    • Title: Understanding the development, function, and organization of mammalian cortical circuits

    • Required CITI modules: Question 4 - Select learner group for FERRETS (to select ferrets, pick learner group 6, then select the ferret module from the non-bolded pop-up list). Should be 1) Aseptic surgery, 2) Working with the IACUC, and 3) Working with Ferrets in Research Settings.

    • Personnel: Pedro Fernandez Aburto, Elizabeth Beech, Sam Greene, Micaela Grimes, Sophie Griswold, Ishaan Khurana, Lihanxi (Judy) Li, Lisandro Martin, Ricardo Rodriguez, Victor Manual Suárez Casanova, Andrea Stacy, Stephen Van Hooser, Michael Vivian, Yannan Zhu.

    • Protocol documents:

  • 20005 (replacing 17004) Van Hooser mouse protocol (approved until 2023-05-02)

      • Title: Understanding the roles of genes and experience in the development of brain circuits

  • 20022 Van Hooser AAV / Lentivirus in Ferrets (APPROVED 2020-06-29 UNTIL 2025-06-28)

See Expired or Retired Protocols here