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The Comparative Biology Unit (CBU) provides HNRCA scientists with the highest quality, comprehensive, fully accredited (Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) animal care program. The program adheres to all Animal Welfare Act provisions, research animal well-being guidelines (such as the NIH Guide of the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals) and all studies are peer-reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

The Comparative Biology Unit (CBU) is used by Center scientists who engage animal models to further their understanding of the processes of nutrient utilization and metabolism to determine ways by which diet, in combination with genetic and environmental factors, may promote health and vigor over the lifespan.

The Unit is responsible for providing Center investigators with quality animals, facilities and services necessary to perform humane and scientifically reliable animal-related experimentation and consists of:
• a 25,000-square-foot animal research facility consisting of 30 secure, species-specific animal housing rooms (many with anteroom extensions) controlled and monitored by strict environmental control guidelines
• an all-inclusive clean-dirty corridor system
• 3 fully equipped BSL-2 containment suites with ante-preparation rooms and appropriate safety features (e.g. biological safety cabinets, eye wash stations, and external communication) that enable ongoing experimental protocols involving the use of biological and infectious agents, carcinogens and radioligands
• 2 complete isolation/quarantine suites that enable quarantine and stabilization of progenitor stock for new mutant, knockout or recombinant rodent strains/lines
• hepa-filtered, ventilated housing units
• fully equipped animal diet preparation kitchen
• state-of-the-art cage and glassware washing equipment
• complete autoclaving capabilities

The CBU works hand-in-hand with the other HNRCA core units to promote quality mission-related research and supports investigative staff by providing:

• scientific direction for the design and implementation of research projects
• guidance related to animal model selection
• investigator training
• specialized breeding
• diet preparation
• restricted, weighed and paired feeding of standard, semi-purified and liquid diets
• monitor, data entry and data analyses of body weights, food intakes and health status
• tissue and biological fluid sample collection
• anesthesia, surgery and necropsy support

Information on Requesting Services
To request Comparative Biology services, contact Manager, Dr. Donald Smith to schedule a meeting to review the needed support, and your study timeline.

Donald Smith, Ph.D., CMAR, CPIA
Manager, Scientist II
Provides administrative and scientific direction to ensure compliance with approved research protocols and government regulations. Serves as the liaison between the veterinary, research and administrative staff.

Jonathan Morrison, M.S., L.A.T., Laboratory Animal Technician
Lisa Tan, Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician
Caitlin Yoo, COOP student
Casey Smith, COOP student
Sierra Thorne, MBA, Administrative Coordinator
Jane McIntyre, Financial Administrator