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The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews and approves protocols for Northwestern’s program for the humane care and use of animals, inspects the animal facilities and investigator laboratories, and reports its findings to the Institutional Official. It also makes recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the institution’s animal program, facilities, or personnel training.


The following kinds of activities involving animals must be reviewed by the IACUC before they may be conducted:

  • Activities conducted by University faculty, staff, or students;
  • Activities performed on the premises of Northwestern University;
  • Activities performed with or involving the use of facilities or equipment belonging to the University;
  • Activities satisfying a requirement imposed by the University for a degree program or completion of a course of study; and/or
  • Activities certified by a dean or department head to satisfy an obligation of a faculty appointment at the University, including clinical or adjunct appointments.


Northwestern University is committed to conducting exemplary and responsible research to further science and benefit society. We regard animal research as a privilege. The following framework guides our work. 


Medical breakthroughs - such as antibiotics, anesthetics, heart valve replacements, and vaccines to prevent rabies in companion animals - all have involved animal research. Since 1901, nearly every Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology has been awarded for innovations dependent on data from animal models. Also, federal government requirements stipulate that new medicines and treatment must be evaluated in a living organism before being administered to humans. It is true that non-animal techniques, such as cell cultures and computer simulations, are important and play a part in our advances. However, these methods cannot yet mirror the complex and sometimes unpredictable interactions within a living system.


Northwestern conducts research with great respect for the unique contributions that animals make to improving health, preventing disease, and saving lives. Our investigators, veterinarians, technicians, and husbandry staff all are dedicated to providing superb humane animal care.

Northwestern also subscribes to the "3Rs" principles as a framework for science involving animal models: replacement, reduction and refinement. Investigators carefully design research projects and continually refine procedures to reduce the number of animals involved and to replace them, whenever possible, with non-animal methods.

National Regulations

Northwestern research and animal facilities are rigorously reviewed, inspected, and regulated at federal and institutional levels. We are enthusiastic partners in this process.