Experiential Learning

Supervised experiences will be split into multiple clinical rotations. The resident will rotate through these rotations during the 1st and 3rd year of the program. The aims of these rotations are for the trainee to:


  • Prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases of laboratory animals
  • Recognize and minimize pain and distress
  • Develop enrichment programs for various species
  • Provide veterinary services to support research including surgical models
  • Perform and manage animal husbandry
  • Consult with investigators on protocol development and selection of animal models
  • Provide necessary investigator and personnel training
  • Understand the regulatory role of the Attending Veterinarian by reviewing  IACUC protocols, attending IACUC meetings/semi-annual inspections and IBC meetings

Small Animal Biology, Biosecurity, Medicine, and Surgery Rotation


This rotation focuses on the biology, biosecurity, medicine, and surgery of the following small animal species: mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig, and birds. The trainee should become adept in handling these species as well as in the different methods of substance administration and sample collection. The trainee should understand their primary uses in research and become familiar with their normal biology, nomenclature and genetics. The trainee should be able to assess these animals clinically and should be sufficiently familiar with their diseases to institute proper treatment both on an individual basis as well as part of colony health management. He/she should understand the concept of preventive medicine and be familiar with zoonotic diseases associated with these laboratory animal species. The trainee should know how to properly anesthetize these species and be able to conduct routine surgical procedures. The trainee should have knowledge of their nutrition as well as husbandry requirements. He/she should understand the concept of health monitoring, importation and quarantine and biologics testing and should acquire knowledge of the “Guide,” PHS policy, AWRs and IACUC guidelines pertaining to rodents and birds. This rotation will also include an introduction to aquatic species.

Large Animal Biology, Medicine, and Surgery Rotation


The primary focus of this rotation is the study of medicine and surgery of included species (rabbits, ferrets, pigs, dogs, sheep, cats, and monkeys) as it relates to their use as animal models. The trainee should develop a full appreciation for the normal behavioral, physical and physiological characteristics of each species in the research facility environment, so that abnormal findings can be discerned. The trainee should acquire the basic skills required to diagnose and treat common medical conditions, and perform routine surgical procedures.

Aquatics Rotation


This rotation focuses on the biology, system maintenance, and research techniques of aquatics species housed at U of C; currently Xenopus laevis, Danio rerio and a variety of fresh and saltwater fish species

Animal Facility Management and Operations Rotation


The primary focus of this rotation is to gain an appreciation of how animal resource programs operate from both an operations and administrative perspective.  The trainee will develop an understanding of the processes and equipment used to meet the husbandry needs of a variety of species; will perform hands-on animal care for the various species housed at the differing facilities; will work within each facility’s cage wash centers to become acquainted with the various types of automated equipment utilized, their function, and their routine use and maintenance; review standard operating procedures (SOPs) to gain insight into the operating principles institutions employ to limit cross contamination and in cases of disease outbreaks, special procedures employed for containment; how specialized rodent models are maintained; will work alongside key management and administrative personnel to develop an understanding of their job roles and responsibilities; be exposed to cost accounting principles, budgeting, and recharge systems; understand how information sciences are employed to manage animal resource program activities; understand how the animal care and use program and IACUC interact; and, gain an understanding as to how post-approval monitoring (PAM) programs are developed and implemented.  The trainee will also gain insight into the development and operation of an occupational health and safety program to protect animal care and research staff.  Understand the principles of risk assessment and risk reduction as it relates to infectious, chemical and physical hazards.  Be familiar with the regulations pertaining to the handling and disposal of regulated medical waste as well as understand the principles and conduct of an environmental health program.

IACUC Rotation


The trainee will perform IACUC veterinary pre-review of select protocols, attend monthly IACUC full committee meetings, and participate in post-approval monitoring and semi-annual inspections.

Core Facilities Rotation


The purpose of this rotation is to expose the trainee to the various technologies and services provided through core facilities on campus. Core Facilities that may be included in the rotation include:

  • Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource
  • Animal Microsurgery
  • Transgenics and Embryonic Stem Cell Facility
  • Human Tissue Resource Center
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility
  • Functional Genomics
  • Advanced Electron Microscopy
  • Integrated Light Microscopy
  • Cytometry and Antibody Technology Facility