Resources, Facilities & Operations
The Resources, Facilities, and Operations (RFO) Unit of the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) is responsible for ensuring the humane care of the nonhuman primates (NHPs) at the ONPRC. The RFO Unit develops and maintains exceptional facilities and performs husbandry and research support procedures in line with industry standard best practices. This unit also ensures the provision of superior veterinary care, excellent animal husbandry, outstanding technical expertise, and timely staff training for animal care and research personnel.
The RFO Unit provides veterinary care to all colony assigned NHPs housed inoutdoor breeding and maintenance groups, in addition to assisting in the preventive health functions required for outdoor housed animals. RFO works closely with the Behavioral Services Unit and genetic experts to ensure our breeding groups are productive, healthy and balanced in several areas (sex,age, dominance, genetic make-up). The RFO team collaborates with other DCM units to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of all animals, and works with the Pathology Services Unit to monitor and prevent disease outbreaks in breeding groups to ensure the population remains free of viruses or other disease processes that could negatively impact animal health and their use as excellent models of human disease.
RFO is comprised of veterinarians, animal care technicians, and laboratory staff who demonstrate a strong commitment and dedication to the care and well-being of our animals. We firmly believe that DCM animal care technicians are the foundation of the animal care program. We strongly encourage and support membership in professional organizations, such as the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS), and the majority of our animal care staff has achieved various levels of AALAS certification.
Some of the responsibilities of the RFO unit include:
- Providing daily husbandry and clinical care, including feeding and sanitization of the animals' environment. NHPs are fed a balanced diet, including fruit, vegetables, and forage twice daily.
- Providing daily enrichment, such as manipulanda, produce and grains that promote foraging and exploratory behavior.
- Working closely with the Clinical Medicine Unit to conduct daily health observations on all animals.
- Working closely with the Behavioral Services Unit to develop and implement the animal enrichment program and to train animals to participate in research and husbandry tasks.
- Providing research support services (e.g., preparing special diets for monkeys on specific research protocols.)
- Providing training on proper laboratory animal husbandry and care.
- Developing and maintaining facilities, equipment, and techniques for housing NHPs that promote their physical and psychological well-being (e.g., designing new cages to promote social housing of animals, expanding enrichment opportunities for indoor-housed animals.)
- Ensuring that the ONPRC meets and exceeds various local, state and federal regulations and guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals.
- Developing, reviewing and revising Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines for animal care and husbandry protocols.