Comparative Medicine FAQ

Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

What general rules should I follow in the vivarium?  

Please abide to the recommended rules of social distancing and proper PPE (see below). Sanitize your hands at the entrance. Don gloves in the procedure/housing room. Reserve the room in advance including housing rooms when working in there for longer than 5 min. Ideally, only one person should work in a room. If more people have to be in the same room comply with social distancing norms. Sanitize the cage changing station/biosafety cabinet before and after use including the work surface and the functional buttons (e.g. light/blower). Wash your hands before you leave the vivarium and of course while working in the vivarium as well if applicable.

What kind of PPE do I need to wear when entering the vivarium?   

Enter the vivarium without PPE. Sanitize your hands at the entrance where you will find hand sanitizer. Don lab coat and surgical mask at the PPE station. Don gloves only in the room where you will work and discard the gloves before you leave the room. Our staff is sanitizing all door handles as well as faucet handles regularly but at least twice a day depending on the frequency of use. If you like take a disinfectant wipe to sanitize the door handles you will use on your way out.

Can I take the PPE to my lab?  

NO. Please do not remove any PPE from the vivarium either worn or clean one. We also are having trouble to find enough of the PPE items needed. If you have a specific request please talk to Carrie List and we will try our best to support you.

Should I cryopreserve my valuable mouse strain(s)?  

In general, the answer is YES. It is always advisable to cryopreserve strains that are not easily available through a commercial vendor, to avoid losing them to any unforeseeable events such as a disease outbreak or any emergency situation. We still continue to, and will in the future, care for all your animals, but we cannot foresee any unusual events either. Therefore, if you want to cryopreserve a strain as a backup plan please contact Helen at 561-843-0572 or email her. She will help arrange with the vendor.

Could I get help with my genotyping since my lab is closed and students/staff not available?  

Yes, this is possible. Please communicate with Carrie List or Sylvia Gografe that we can discuss what CM staff should do to help. Samples can be sent to Transnetyx for genotyping after collection by CM staff. Transnetyx has offered assistance to all our PIs who would need to use their services for genotyping and discounts for first time users. Read the email here.

Will Comparative Medicine be able to care for our research subjects?   

Yes, CM is well prepared having enough food, water, bedding, environmental enrichment devices for our animals available. We have plenty of chemicals on hand for sanitizing caging, disinfecting during cage changing, cleaning/disinfecting work surfaces and high traffic items such as door handles, faucet handles, elevator buttons etc.

Do CM has enough staff even if some would become sick?   

Yes, all our personnel including student workers are designated Essential Personnel. We have identified additional help for the vivarium operations if our lab animal techs should become sick:
  • CM management personnel
  • Colleagues from other DoR units who have worked with animals before
  • Faculty and staff members from research laboratories working with animal models.

Will we have access to our research subjects?   

Yes, currently access is not restricted. Should the university go to a remote work only model, it will be important that you have Essential Personnel status to be allowed to come on campus.

Will our studies in the CM- or satellite facilities be restricted?   

At this time, we have the capacity to support our researchers and no studies or breeding are being restricted.  However, as this unprecedented public health concern continues, there may be additional restrictions that need to be put into place. Therefore, we recommend that you start thinking about prioritizing studies and have a backup plan in place. Make sure to attach VIP stickers on cages that house the most important animals.

Do I need Essential Personnel status and how do I get it?   

It is certainly advisable to get your Essential Personnel status established now. Work with you HR partner who can request this through WD. Once done make sure to have your Essential Personnel Designation letter with you all the time (e.g. in your car or purse).

Are vendors such as Charles River, Jax labs, Taconic, Envigo etc. still delivering?   

Yes, animal deliveries are still happening as usual. All the vendors have CM staff contact information that we don't have to rely on building or college receiving departments or personnel.

What should I do if I need supplies? Do we have enough available?   

Please follow process as usual and request drugs and supplies through VSATS. We have stocked up on all important drugs and supplies.

What happens if I have questions re the health of my subjects?   

Both veterinarians, Drs. Salleng and Gografe are available. Please make sure that we have your contact information on file that we will be able to call/email you to discuss any such cases with you in a timely fashion.

What happens if I as a researcher become sick?   

Please stay home and communicate with your lab colleagues. If they cannot attend to your animals please call Sylvia Gografe (561-400-3770), Carrie List (561-558-4217), Dr. Ken Salleng (615-715-5805), or Helen Munchow (561-843-0572). We have highly trained personnel who can perform certain experimental procedures for you or manage your breeding colony. We can discuss and arrange help.

What happens if I as a researcher was exposed to a person having coronavirus?   

If you got exposed to a person confirmed for COVID-19 you definitely should not come to work but self-quarantine at home. Refer to the official FAU emergency website in this regard. If you need help with your animal subjects please contact Sylvia Gografe (561-400-3770), Carrie List (561-558-4217), Dr. Ken Salleng (615-715-5805), or Helen Munchow (561-843-0572). We have highly trained personnel who can perform certain experimental procedures for you or manage your breeding colony. We can discuss and arrange help.