Specialized Facilities and Services
The Office of Biosafety is responsible for establishing and documenting training and safety procedures for all BL2 and BL3 facilities at Texas A&M University. Specific training and safety guidelines are established for all personnel involved in projects involving hazards. Investigators provide input on the characteristics of hazardous agents to be used and any documentation, which will aid in the design of safe operating procedures in the containment area. Additionally, the Texas A&M Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) provides guidelines for proper disinfection and decontamination techniques and disposal procedures. Investigators must provide schedules of activities in writing to ensure that personnel working in the containment area are kept fully aware of project activities.
Entry and exit protocols generated for each project must be adhered to when moving through the various areas within the containment suite. CMP supervisory staff coordinates personnel training to ensure safe operating practices. Protective clothing and respirator requirements are determined by the appropriate oversight committee and are based on the nature of the project.
Investigators are responsible for monitoring their research team's adherence to the Biosafety Occupational Health Program. Failure to follow safety guidelines may result in unnecessary risk to personnel and could result in interruption of the project.
Containment Facilities for Toxicology Projects
Toxicology studies are conducted in specialized containment rooms after approval from the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHSD). Normally the levels used in rodent studies do not pose a great risk to animal care personnel. Disinfection (deactivation) methods may require alternate cleaning routines.
Toxicological agents are not to be stored in the animal housing facility. Researchers and their staff are to remove any contaminated materials (syringes, storage containers) from the premises when they leave. Animal manipulations and injections should be accomplished in procedure rooms located within the facility. These studies will be scheduled through CMP staff to identify appropriate procedure rooms and equipment.
CMP maintains a well-equipped surgical area. The area may be used for any current, IACUC-approved surgical protocol on file but requires scheduling 48 hours in advance (exceptions for medical emergencies).
Charges are incurred for expendable supplies and CMP personnel time only. For additional information contact the Surgery Supervisor at 979.845.7433.
Animal Delivery Service
CMP provides an animal transport service (979.845.7433) using environmentally controlled vehicles and trained drivers for investigators on the College Station campus. The service is available for the delivery of most species of animals. Its use is required for transporting animals to or from the CMP facilities or CMP-maintained facilities unless another acceptable method is justified and approved by the Attending Veterinarian or his designated representative.
Schedule and Arrangements
CMP Animal Transport Service has a regularly scheduled daily animal delivery service on the Texas A&M. The service is available Monday through Friday during normal Texas A&M work hours. The service is not available on weekends or holidays. An environmentally controlled vehicle delivers animals from CMP facilities to all Texas A&M campus locations.
Arrangements can be made for scheduling animal deliveries by contacting the CMP supervisor at 979-845-7433. CMP requires a minimum 48-hour advance notice when deliveries are requested. Large deliveries (large animal species and requests for classes) may require additional notice. Deliveries are charged on a per trip (one-way) basis.
Upon an investigator's written request (CMP Terminate Card or memorandum), CMP staff will euthanize animals on a fee for service basis. PLEASE NOTE: If animals are being terminated for health reasons, CMP asks for immediate direct communication with a CMP supervisor so that prompt action can be taken. Methods used must reflect those approved on the investigator's animal use protocol. For additional information contact the CMP program manager.
Polyclonal Antibody Production
The CMP offers a polyclonal antibody production service (see full description). The service is administered under an approved and includes animal ordering, animal care, housing, antigen-adjuvant mixing, antigen injections, and blood collections. The benefit of the service is its use of standardized procedures and methods performed by CMP professional staff. Production routinely uses SPF rabbits; however, a variety of species including chickens, goats, sheep, and rodents can be used for special projects.
Technical assistance from CMP staff is also available to investigators using their own IACUC approved antibody-production protocols. Assistance may include injections and blood or collections. For information and current prices contact the CMP Administrative Office.
CMP has assembled a mobile rodent isoflurane anesthesia cart for investigator use. The cart is equipped with all of the specialized equipment needed for the safe use of isoflurane anesthesia. In order to use the cart, investigative staff must have received prior documented training by the animal facility surgical support staff. A thorough equipment inspection is performed by the surgery staff to confirm all equipment is intact, functional and in good repair at the time of checkout and return. Equipment that is damaged or missing at the time of return is charged to the investigator.
The cart can be used in any procedure room or work area in the CMP Laboratory Animal Resources and Research (LARR) facility. It must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance and is assigned on a first come, first served basis. The use of the cart is offered on a fee basis and fees are predicated on time (per hour) and ancillary equipment use. Overnight checkout of the cart is NOT allowed. For additional information, contact the CMP Surgery Supervisor.
Technical Support and Assistance
Technical assistance from CMP professional technical staff is available on a fee for service basis. Services may include breeding services, colony management, blood collection, tissue collection, surgery, surgical support, anesthesia support, and post-operative care. All services must be arranged through CMP prior to AUP approval, indicating that CMP staff will perform services.
CMP has maintained a tissue sharing service for over 20 years, and tries to link investigators with animals that are being terminated with investigators that need animal tissues. Tissue sharing applies only to the transfer of tissues after an animal is deceased. Participation as a donor of animals for tissues or a recipient, one need only complete and submit the CMP tissue sharing form to CMP supervisory staff. Forms can be obtained from any of the CMP technical services personnel.
CMP offers a number of training services to the Texas A&M community. The CMP not only provides “in house” training to animal caretakers, it also provides training opportunities for investigative personnel or anyone interested in the humane care and use of laboratory animals.
CMP provides training services in three forms:
- Hands on learning
- Classroom based learning
- Web-based learning
Contact CMP at 979.845.7433 to learn more about the training services provided.
Each of the cores/services is detailed later on in the handbook. By accessing services from all three cores (Items A-D), investigators can generate genetically engineered mouse models from concept to founders. However, investigators can access any one or combination of services as needed.