MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) provides animal husbandry and clinical care for all research animals on the MIT campus. From its inception in 1974, the Division has evolved into a comprehensive laboratory animal program that provides a full range of veterinary and surgical support. Additionally, the Division has a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded training program for veterinarians specializing in laboratory animal/comparative medicine and conducts externally funded research focusing on comparative medicine. Total personnel in the Division now comprises 85 individuals.


Major renovations and improvements in the animal facilities continued during FY96. The new, state-of-the-art 30,000 GSF animal resource in Building 68 has been occupied since November, 1994. Animals were moved back into the renovated E17/E18 facilities in March. Both 68 and E17/18 support transgenic and gene "knockout" in vivo experiments. Renovations are currently underway in Buildings 56 and 16. A new addition on the Whitehead facility has been completed and animals were moved there in February. The average daily census of laboratory animals increased approximately 5 percent during FY96. Mice remain the primary species used by MIT investigators and represent more than 98 percent of the animal population. The Division recently distributed to investigators the third edition of its comprehensive Laboratory Animal Users' Handbook.


Current NIH-funded grants support in vivo study of nitrite carcinogenesis, in vivo study of Helicobacter hepaticus carcinogenesis, in vivo study of the etiology of lymphoma in ferrets and the effects of Helicobacter felis on gastric cancer. Recently NIH funded another RO1 grant to study H. pylori pathogenesis. Additionally, NCI funded for a third year a study of Helicobacter hepaticus which has been linked to liver cancer in mice. Private pharmaceutical firms have provided funding for research on the pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori and vaccine development. FY96 was the eighth year of the Division's NIH postdoctoral training grant. There are currently six postdoctoral trainees, two of whom are enrolled in graduate programs in the Division of Toxicology. Two former postdoctoral trainees passed the board examinations of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

DCM faculty and staff published three chapters, 23 papers and 18 abstracts in FY96 and presented numerous research papers at national and international meetings.


The Division has recruited a number of new staff members. Charles Dangler, DVM, Ph.D and an ACVP boarded pathologist joined the Division as the Chief of the Comparative Pathology Laboratory to replace Dr. James Murphy who retired. Mark Whary, DVM, PhD and an ACLAM boarded diplomate joined the Division as the Associate Director. Dr. Karen McGovern has a PhD in molecular biology and was recruited from Harvard to be primarily involved in research. She has been appointed Assistant Director for Research. Dr. Robert Marini, Chief of Surgical Resources, was promoted to Assistant Director of DCM. DCM faculty and staff taught the graduate course Toxicology 201 and also sponsored UROP students.


Didactic training sessions were conducted throughout the year by DCM staff in conjunction with the Committee on Animal Care to train Institute personnel on topics pertaining to the care and use of laboratory animals. The Committee continued to distribute to other institutions in the United States and abroad two instructional videos, one focusing on the role and responsibilities of Institutional Committees for the Care and Use of Animals and the other focusing on the use of anesthesia in laboratory animals. The Committee received external funding to make the videos. Both are available to MIT researchers at the Division or in the Schering-Plough Library.

James G. Fox

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96