Last Revised: May 10, 2024

To assure safety, maintenance, care and use of vertebrate animals and to comply with federal, state, and local laws, the University requires that prior to initiation, all course work and research projects involving vertebrate animals be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). As part of IACUC review, EHRS reviews animal research protocols for safety issues concerning:

  • Biological Materials: infectious agents, human and non-human primate materials, recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids (rsNA)
  • Hazardous Chemicals: inhalation anesthetics, chemicals, toxins
  • Radioactive Materials: radioisotopes, irradiator use, X-ray procedures, other imaging procedures involving radiation
  • Lasers
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ARIES (Animal Research Information Electronic Submission)

The Animal Research Information Electronic Submissions system (ARIES) is a secure, web-based application for submission and management of animal protocols. All animal protocols and amendments are forwarded to EHRS by the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) via ARIES. DO NOT submit any IACUC protocols or amendments directly to EHRS. All EHRS comments and review decisions are communicated via ARIES. 

IACUC Homepage

Use of rsNA in Animals

The use of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids (rsNA) in animals must be registered with and approved by the Penn Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The IBC and EHRS strongly encourage the University of Pennsylvania research community to submit rsNA registrations well in advance of submitting IACUC protocols via ARIES.

When you submit an IACUC protocol involving rsNA work, you will be required to enter an IBC approval number in ARIES. To avoid approval delays we encourage you to submit an rsNA registration to obtain a valid IBC number before you submit a protocol through ARIES.  

Failures to comply with The NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules may threaten NIH funding for the entire institution. Prior planning and coordination of your submissions to the IBC and the IACUC should eliminate frustration and enable the approval of your work in a timely manner.

If you have any questions, please contact a Biosafety Officer at 215-898-4453.

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Recombinant & Synthetic Nucleic Acid (rsNA) Research


EHRS Training Requirements

IACUC protocols will not be approved until all required EHRS training courses have been completed by personnel listed on the protocol. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Bloodborne Pathogen Training
  • Recombinant DNA Training
  • Radiation Safety Training
  • Laser Safety Training

Rarely, additional course work may be required and will be communicated to and discussed with the PI. 

EHRS Training

Animal Hazard Briefings

For more information on Animal Hazard Briefings, please visit the Safety in Animal Research page!

Penn Policy for working in Animal Biosafety Level 2 Containment