MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


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 90 individuals. Plans are underway for the Division to move its administrative, diagnostic and research laboratories to the newly renovated eighth floor of Building 16. This space is contiguous to the eighth floor of the newly renovated Building 56, which also houses quarantine, diagnostic and research space for DCM.

The final phase of major renovations in the animal facilities continued during FY97. Renovations to the eighth of Building 56 have just been completed and this space can now accommodate quarantine animals. The state-of-the-art animal facilities now include 30,000 gross square feet in Building 68, which has been occupied since November, 1994, and a fully renovated E17/E18 facility (13,200 gsf), which has been occupied since March, 1995. Also, a new addition of 11,300 net square feet to the Whitehead facility along with renovations to the existing animal area were completed this past year. These facilities support transgenic and gene "knockout" in vivo experiments. The average daily census of laboratory animals increased approximately 14 percent during FY97. Mice remain the primary species used by MIT investigators and represent more than 98 percent of the animal population.

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, in vivo studies of H. pylori pathogenesis and the role of Helicobacter felis and H. mustelae in inducing gastric cancer. Private pharmaceutical firms have provided funding for research on the efficacy of anti-Helicobacter agents and H. pylori pathogenesis studies. FY97 was the ninth year of the Division's NIH postdoctoral training grant. There are currently six postdoctoral trainees, two of whom were enrolled in graduate programs in the Division of Toxicology. One postdoctoral students received an MS in Toxicology and has been recruited to Stanford University. Another posdoctoral fellow has been recruited to the faculty of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Four former postdoctoral trainees passed the board examinations of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

DCM faculty and staff published three chapters, 24 papers and 23 abstracts in FY97 and presented numerous research papers at national and international meetings.

Recruitment is underway to replace two senior staff members. Karen McGovern, a Molecular Biologist and Charmaine Foltz, a Clinical Veterinarian, left this past year. Mark Schrenzel, DVM, PhD and an ACVP boarded pathologist has joined the Division as a Comparative Pathologist. DCM faculty and staff taught the graduate courses Toxicology 201 and 214.

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. Both are available to MIT researchers at the Division or in the Schering-Plough Library.

James G. Fox

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97