Lab Animal Residency Program Description
The University of Florida Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency is an ACLAM-approved, 3-year, non-degree program supported by 8 veterinarians, 5 whom are ACLAM-boarded. As an AAALAC-accredited research program, Animal Care Services employs over 140 staff with more than 200,000 square feet of animal facility space encompassing 20 buildings and housing approximately 15 species, providing residents with a broad range of diverse experiences. In addition to basic and bench science, Animal Care Services supports the research activities of 16 different colleges including the following professional schools: the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Medicine, the College of Dentistry, and the College of Pharmacy, as well as the UF Health Hospital and the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center.
The objectives of this program are to prepare residents to perform the following tasks:
- Prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases of laboratory animals
- Provide veterinary services to support research activities
- Consult with investigators on protocol development and selection of animal models
- Train animal care and research staff
- Conduct collaborative research
- Manage laboratory animal resource facilities
- Review and assess protocols for animal welfare
- Understand and interpret the laws, regulations, and guidelines for the humane care and use of animals in research
- Teach laboratory animal medicine material
- Work with and mentor veterinary students on rotation
- Identify and complete an hypothesis-driven research project
- Submit research project results for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal
- Become prepared and eligible for the ACLAM board exam
Research projects for formal publication need to be initiated during the first year of the program with the identification of a responsible faculty member and an appropriate research topic. A research plan must be developed, presented to the ACS faculty, and submitted to the IACUC for approval prior to commencement of the project. It is the intent of this research experience to train the residents in experimental problem solving, focusing on development of a scientific hypothesis, designing and planning experiments, data collection, record keeping, data analysis and interpretation as well as communication and publishing results. Each resident is expected to complete a research project, defend it in a research seminar before the faculty, and publish the results in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Residents are encouraged to submit an application for funding to the ACLAM Foundation or to the AALAS GLAS program if the project meets the criteria for the respective grants.
Mandatory Attendance for All Residents
- Weekly Clinical Veterinary Rounds
- Weekly Seminars
- Weekly Veterinary Staff Meetings
- Twice-a-month IACUC Meetings
- Monthly Journal Club
- Weekend/Holiday Emergency On-Call : approximately monthly
- Annual Mock ACLAM Exam
- Monthly meetings with the Program Director
Upon beginning the program, residents participate in a month long orientation program during which they shadow licensed veterinary technicians and veterinarians to become familiar with building locations and species specifics. Residents are then assigned to a series of rotations under the guidance of a faculty veterinarian.
Residents perform daily rounds of the animal facilities under the guidance and supervision of the clinical veterinarians. This training provides sufficient time with rodents, large animals, and non-human primates (off-site at collaborative institution) to allow residents to become proficient with all laboratory animal species housed in ACS facilities. Under the guidance of the clinical veterinarians, the resident is responsible for individual cases with the objectives to learn to prevent, control, diagnose and treat diseases of laboratory animals and deliver veterinary services to support research activities. Additionally, the resident consults with investigators on protocol development and selection of animal models.
Residents also receive training in anatomic and clinical pathology. Residents gain experience in the interpretation of clinical and pathologic data and the recognition of lesions characteristic of the major diseases of laboratory animals. Residents participate in necropsy examinations and will learn to interpret the samples and cases under the guidance of a veterinarian. Residents are responsible for preparing a complete gross description of abnormal necropsy findings, formulation of morphologic diagnoses, and procurement of appropriate tissues for histopathology and pertinent ancillary examinations, plus trimming and submission of tissues for preparation of slides for microscopic examination. The gross and microscopic findings are then reviewed with the veterinarian. Residents participate in the sentinel testing program managed by the ACS Diagnostic Laboratory to learn the mechanics of the program and become proficient at blood and tissue sampling.
Residents are exposed to IACUC activities by attending IACUC meetings and inspections and by reviewing protocols with the veterinarians to learn the protocol and regulatory review process. Research experience is attained throughout the training experience but is especially focused during performance of the research project.
As residents progress to the second year, expectations are as described above but with increasing responsibility and independence. During the second and third years, residents may rotate through the following specialty areas: Germ Free, BSL2, the Mouse Models Core/Breeding Colony, and surgery. During the second year, the resident develops a research plan and the research project must be in progress. Second and third year residents are also required to submit an abstract for the national AALAS meeting.
During their third year, residents are expected to spend significant time completing their research projects by finishing experiments, compiling and analyzing data from their research project, and preparing the manuscript for publication. Each resident must complete the research project, defend it in a research seminar before the faculty, and publish the results in a scientific journal. Third year residents may elect to do rotations through areas in which they have special interest or would like to gain additional experience.
Residents receive the following benefits:
- 15 Annual Vacation Days
- 10 Annual Sick days
- Insurance with optional dental and vision plans
- Retirement and life insurance plans available
- Memberships: AALAS, FAALAS, AVMA, ASLAP
- Books and study materials
- Phone Allowance