Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Whose approval do I need to use animals in research, teaching, and testing on the Iowa State University campus?

    Approval must be obtained from Iowa State University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before live vertebrate animals may be used in any research, teaching, or testing project at Iowa State University. Specific examples of such activities are research (including field studies and clinical trials), use of blood donor animals and breeding colonies, scheduled courses, and continuing education offerings.

  2. Do I need IACUC approval for vertebrate animal research, teaching, or testing if the project is conducted outside the United States?
    Research, teaching, and testing that is conducted by agents of Iowa State University (ISU) and involves the use of live vertebrate animals requires ISU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversight, regardless of the location of the activities. This includes international fieldwork.

    Many countries also have their own regulations governing vertebrate animal work. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure all regulations and permitting requirements are followed. Requirements for selected counties can be found on the following site:

    Researchers are encouraged to contact the IACUC Office to discuss their project if they have any questions about required IACUC oversight. Projects that are determined not to constitute research, teaching, or testing do not require IACUC review and approval.

  3. How do I find the forms needed to get IACUC approval?

    New protocols must be completed and submitted electronically through a-tune tick@lab. Continuing review and modifications for previously approved (paper) protocols must also be submitted electronically through a-tune tick@lab as new protocols.

  4. What is the deadline for submitting a protocol?

    Protocols should be submitted by noon on Wednesday to be reviewed on Thursday -- a week and a day later -- at a designated review meeting of the IACUC.

  5. How do I request User Access to the System?
    Use this Excel file to enter any personnel you will want to be included in a-tune for your protocols. This email request must be from the PI or the PI must be copied on it. Only personnel requested by the PI will be entered into the Production environment. The system administrators must add users to the a-tune software before personnel, including the PI, are allowed access to the system. Please send these requests to the IACUC office at

  6. Whom should I contact if I have problems or questions while filling out the IACUC protocols in a-tune?

    If problems or questions arise when filling out the IACUC protocols in a-tune, contact any IACUC Administrator at, 294-9581.

  7. What is the average time before IACUC approval is received?

    On average, IACUC approval is received within three weeks of protocol submission. Approval times vary depending on the completeness of the protocol and the efficiency of the PI in addressing the committee's questions regarding the submitted protocol. Therefore, it is recommended that you plan for 4-6 weeks to obtain approval.

  8. How does the Office of Research Ethics (ORE) help expedite the IACUC review process?

    To help expedite the review, the IACUC Administrator conducts preliminary review of all submitted protocols to identify any problems with the application. The administrator  provides guidance to the PI regarding: common questions and/or concerns of the IACUC  during protocol reviews; regulations and other information that the committee may  expect to see; and PI responses to IACUC questions, etc. The administrator provides  feedback to the PI before sending the protocol for committee review to allow the PI to  address any concerns. This often speeds up review as the commonly encountered mistakes  and/or questions are addressed before IACUC review.

  9. What are some common problems encountered on the IACUC protocol that would delay IACUC approval?

    Committee approval can be delayed when the IACUC protocol has these common problems:

    • All questions on the protocol are not completed.
    • Animal numbers do not match in several places in the protocol or appropriate  justification is not given as to why certain animal numbers are needed.
    • Information on the category D or E search is missing, including why alternatives  are not appropriate for the study.
    • The treatment groups are not adequately explained.
    • The criteria for early removal from the study are not given.

  10. What are the training requirements for IACUC protocol submission?

    The IACUC requires anyone listed as key personnel on the protocol to take the  "Working with the IACUC" training course found at the following website: For all new submissions: All personnel must complete training prior to submission. AALAS euthanasia training is required for individuals performing planned or unplanned euthanasia. Please contact ORE to obtain log-in information.

  11. May investigators use expired pharmaceuticals, biologics, and supplies in animals?

    The use of expired pharmaceuticals, biologics, and supplies is not consistent with  acceptable veterinary practice or adequate veterinary care. Euthanasia, anesthesia and  analgesia agents should not be used beyond their expiration date, even if a procedure  is terminal. Other expired materials should not be used unless the manufacturer verifies efficacy beyond the expiration date, or the investigator is able to document  to the satisfaction of the IACUC that such use would not negatively impact animal welfare or compromise the validity of the study. The veterinarian and IACUC must maintain control over the use of expired medical materials in order to meet the responsibilities to avoid or minimize discomfort, pain or distress to animals.

  12. How do I access a-tune if I am off campus?
    You will need to have ISU’s virtual private network (VPN) set up on devices to access the system when not connected to the ISU network – feel free to set this up now.  Instructions are found on the ITS website: