Division of Comparative Medicine

Research Administrative Units

Division of Comparative Medicine


The Division of Comparative Medicine houses the animal facility (Vivarium) and ensures the availability of animal research resources. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has oversight responsibility for the animal research program.

The humane use of animals is of paramount importance both for the understanding of basic and clinical sciences and in developing treatment modalities for human and animal diseases. In view of this, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science has developed and continues to refine an institutional-wide integrated program for the care and use of laboratory animals. CDU upholds the responsible care and use of animals involved in research.

The Vivarium is located on the third floor of the Augustus F. Hawkins Building and comprises 11,600 square feet dedicated to animal holding and procedure. This facility is in close proximity to research laboratories and research administrative offices and is equipped to accommodate research on mice and rats.

The management of the Vivarium is structured to provide efficiency in program operations. The interim director of the vivarium, Dr. Marcelo A. Couto, provides outstanding veterinary consultant services and proficient guidance to our animal care program and reports directly to the Institutional Official, Dr. Jay Vadgama. To achieve transparency and input from faculty and staff, a Vivarium user’s council/group led by Dr. Monica G. Ferrini convenes regular meetings to provide input to the animal care operations and post approval monitoring program (PAM). Dr. Couto has , over 20 years of research management, research governance and compliance management experience leads the IACUC to ensure the welfare of the animals and full compliance with extant regulations.

The Vivarium personnel effectively discharged their responsibility to provide effective animal husbandry services, veterinary care, and breeding colony management in support of CDU’s research program.

The Vivarium originally received its accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), International in August 1993, and has consistently maintained its accreditation ever since. The latest AAALAC accreditation site visit was conducted in November 2011 and resulted in continued full accreditation. The next site visit is scheduled for November 2014.

The Vivarium complies and operates in accordance with the Animal Welfare Regulations, PHS policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and other applicable federal, state and local laws and institutional policies regarding the use and care of research animals.

The Vivarium animal care program is evaluated semiannually by The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This Committee is a federally mandated oversight body that reports to the Institutional Official. The IACUC activities are consistent with the standards set forth in all applicable animal welfare regulations, guidelines and accreditation expectations. All research, teaching, testing and training activities involving the use of experimental animals, regardless of funding source, are scrutinized by the IACUC.

Please address all inquiries to the Vivarium at 323-563-5986.

Dr. Marcelo A. Couto, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACLAM
Interim Director
Office Phone: (310) 794-0286
Mobile: (310) 980-7888
Fax: (310) 794-0285
Email: mcouto@mednet.ucla.edu

Ms. Deborah Potts
Administrative Assistant
Phone: 323-563-5986
Email: deborahpotts@cdrewu.edu

Dr. Monica Ferrini, PhD
Faculty Liaison to the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM)
Phone: 323-563-5962
Email: monicaferrini@cdrewu.edu

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