What We Do
The Vivarium enables laboratory animal research, on rodents and aquatic species, with a focus on mice, rats, and zebrafish, by maintaining flexibility and developing unique solutions for emerging technologies and changing researcher needs. The Facility provides a reliable and consistent experimental model for high-risk, high-reward science, while maintaining excellence in animal care and ensuring the welfare of the animals.
As an AAALAC International accredited facility, the Vivarium uses the latest technologies in research animal housing and care. We follow guidelines outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, published by the National Research Council (NRC); PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, published by the United States Public Health Service; other applicable federal and state laws and regulations; and best practices in the industry. Following policies advocated by both the NRC and PHS publications, Janelia maintains an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
The Vivarium provides services that allow researchers to focus on the data intensive steps and the Vivarium staff, when possible, performing important steps of the research that are not data driven. This is accomplished by four groups focused on specific areas, which require a high level of technical expertise.
The staff in this group provides husbandry support primarily for zebrafish, but has also supported xenopus, dragonflies, amphibians, squid, clownfish, and other marine invertebrates. In addition, the group provides line maintenance of genetically modified zebrafish lines, fluorescent screening, and microinjection services. Zebrafish are housed in a state of the art centralized life support system, with alarm and remote monitoring functionality.
Rodent Breeding Group
The staff in this group provides husbandry services for mice and rats, including providing food and water, daily health assessments, and cage changes. They are also responsible for the full service management of genetically modified mouse and rat lines. Researchers request animals from these lines in a similar manner to ordering from a vendor. The group handles all breeding, identification, and genotyping tasks. They also coordinate the import and export of lines, embryo transfer rederivations, and cryopreservations in conjunction with the Gene Targeting and Transgenic Facility.
Rodent Experimental Support Group
The staff in this group provides husbandry services for mice and rats, including providing food and water, daily health assessments, and cage changes. In addition, they are responsible for supporting research specific health monitoring, food and water restriction support, clinical treatments, ordering and receiving of new animals, and the operation of the cagewash facility. The staff may also assist with other technical services like blood sampling and behavioral support.
Surgical Services Group
The staff in this group support researchers by performing highly technical, but standardized surgical procedures in support of neuroscience research with mice and rats. These procedures include stereotaxic intracranial injections, cannulations, head implants, and in utero ventricle injections. They group maintains surgery stations for use by researchers as well as a Vevo 2100 high resolution ultrasound for use in ultrasound guided injections by researchers and Vivarium surgery technicians.
The Vivarium developed the water stop to alert individuals that a cage location did not have a water valve so they could put one in place before putting a cage in that spot on the rack. The water stop is available for licensing and works on most manufacturers' automatic watering quick disconnects.
The Vivarium developed the water dish as a reusable, cleanable, and autoclavable device to place the daily water provided to mice and rats on water restriction. The water dish is available for licensing and works on most standard shoebox style cages.
The vivarium is currently investigating the potential benefits and impact to housing mice in social groups while on water restriction.