Tri-Institutional Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine & Science

Institution TypePrivate University
Is there a medical school?Yes
Is this a land-grant institution?No
Vivarium DirectorDr. Neil Lipman
Program DirectorDr. Neil Lipman
Who to ContactDr. Neil Lipman
Address1275 York Avenue, Box 270, New York, NY  10022
Phone(646) 888-2400
Fax(646) 422-0139

Vivarium Information

Vivarium NameMultiple serving premier academic biomedical research ctrs
Is the facility AAALAC accredited?Yes
Describe management structureMore than 5 administratively distinct vivaria
Describe the extent to which your facilities are centralizedAnimals housed in 5+ separate locations
Vivarium Square Feet370,000
Summarize the nature of the animal population and the predominant types of clinical activities

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), The Rockefeller University (RU), Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), and Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) offers qualified veterinarians an outstanding opportunity to obtain postdoctoral training in comparative medicine and laboratory animal medicine and science. The principal aim of the program is to provide the trainee with the knowledge and technical skills necessary to develop a successful career in laboratory animal medicine and science in academia, industry or a government setting. The program meets the training requirements prescribed by and is accredited by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). Training occurs at all participating institutions. MSK, RU, HSS and WCM are located in close proximity on the East Side of Manhattan between 61st and 71st Streets, and 1st Avenue and the East River. Additionally, trainees participate in the oversight and operation of several off-site animal research laboratories and a field research center operated by the participating institutions located in White Plains, and Millbrook, NY. MSK, RU, HSS and WCM conduct world-class biomedical research in diverse scientific disciplines. Animal resource programs at these institutions maintain and use a variety of species including mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, amphibia, dogs, ferrets, swine, and non-human primates. The combined tri-institutional average daily animal census exceeds 300,000 animals and the combined animal resource programs are supported by over 350 professional and technical personnel. Animals are housed in 10 distinct animal facilities on the tri-institutional campus. Specialized facilities, including: BSL-2 and 3 animal facilities and laboratories; a multi-disciplinary Laboratory of Comparative Pathology and Genetically Engineered Mouse Phenotyping Core; Gnotobiotics Core; rodent barrier facilities; Gene Targeted Mutant Mouse Core Laboratories; a Small Animal Multi-Modality Imaging Center; Large Animal Imaging Centers, and sheep containment facility are available and used for training. Participating academic institutions have a diverse and active seminar program in support of their educational missions. Many of these seminars are relevant to the training of the laboratory animal specialist. Tri-I fellows are encouraged to attend seminars of their interest. Additionally, the Animal Medical Center (AMC) located at 510 E. 62nd Street also offers a variety of seminars of considerable interest to the postdoctoral fellow. The participating institutions also provide post-graduate training in comparative and genomic veterinary pathology. Comparative pathology fellows interact extensively with trainees in the program.

Number of Veterinarians in program15
Number of ACLAM Diplomates in program9
Number of Boarded Pathologists3
Number of Other Boarded Veterinary Specialists0
Number of necropsies/week in the veterinary unit65
Number of surgical cases/week in the veterinary unit2-4

Training Program Details

Is this program recognized by ACLAM?Yes
Does this program participate in the Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP)?Yes
Number of concurrent residents6
How many residents/trainees have completed this program?24
Of these, how many have subsequently become ACLAM Diplomates?20
In what year did the program accept its first trainee?2003
How many years are required to complete this program (residency only)?3
Is formal coursework offered?Yes
Is a degree program associated with this residency?No
If yes, what degree(s)?
Which departments most commonly grant degree(s)?
Give an overview of this program, describing its particular strengths and any unique aspects that are not addressed in any of the other sections

Training Description

Experiential - The 3-year program is divided into 2 principal components: 1.) Clinical, Management, and Administrative Training (93 weeks); and, 2.) Research Training (63 weeks). In addition, fellows receive exposure to regulatory and policy issues by participating in the activities of each of the three participating institutions’ Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees on a rotational basis during their participation in the training program.

Clinical, Management, and Administrative Training (CMAT) – CMAT exposes the fellow to all components of the operation of academic animal resource programs. The principal goals of CMAT are to develop:

a. An understanding of animal resource facility operations and management;
b. Knowledge pertaining to laboratory animal care and use regulations;
c. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee experience;
d. Skills required to assess, manage, and oversee in vivo projects employing hazardous agents;
e. Technical and clinical skills used to handle and collect body fluids from laboratory animal species;
f. An understanding of clinical and anatomic pathologic tests and techniques, and their interpretation, used in laboratory animal medicine;
g. Skills needed to implement and interpret a rodent sentinel health monitoring program;
h. Knowledge of the components of and implementation of a comprehensive biosecurity program;
i. An understanding of cost accounting and recharge in an animal resource program;
j. Expertise in laboratory animal disease diagnosis, treatment, and control;
k. The skills necessary to anesthetize various laboratory animal species and manage complex experimental surgical procedures including pre-and post-operative care;
l. An understanding of the techniques used to produce hybridomas and generate monoclonal antibodies using in vitro techniques;
m. An understanding of human resource management and oversight;
n. Knowledge with regards to the types and operation of specialized equipment used within an animal resource program and scientific laboratories utilizing animal models; and
o. An understanding of the techniques utilized to produce gene targeted mouse models and breeding programs used in conjunction with their generation and maintenance.

CMAT training consists of nine rotations, each totaling three to seventeen weeks. A member of the program faculty or senior animal resource program staff provides supervision, along with a recommended reading list, rotation goals, and when appropriate, a list of skills to be acquired during the rotation. Fellows are expected to devote at least 25 hours per week to each rotation. Rotation supervisors conduct an evaluation at the end of the rotation.

CMAT rotations are as follows: Small Animal Biology, Biosecurity, Medicine, and Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell (Total of 16 weeks); Laboratory Animal Biology, Medicine, & Surgery and Gene-Targeted Mouse Development and Breeding at Rockefeller University (Total of 17 weeks); Clinical and Anatomic Pathology (Total of 10 weeks); Aquatics Biology, Biosecurity, System Maintenance, and Research Techniques (Total of 4 weeks); Animal Facility Management and Operations (Total of 11 weeks); Large Animal Biology, Medicine, and Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell (Total of 16 weeks); Small Animal Imaging (Total of 4 weeks); Generation and Production of Monoclonal Antibodies (Total of 3 weeks); Colony Management (Total of two weeks) and 10 weeks of electives (usually done as blocks of at least three weeks). Electives are generally performed at other academic or industrial biomedical research centers.

Additionally during the latter part of their second and the beginning of their third training year, trainees will have the unique opportunity to serve as the semi-autonomous attending veterinarian for the East River Science Park (ERSP). ERSP, located in Manhattan approximately 2 miles from the tri-institutional campus, is a joint venture between the City of New York and Alexandria Partners. ERSP is a science hotel in which tenants (academia and industry) lease space to conduct biomedical research. ERSP contains a vivarium in which tenants utilize rodent models in support of their research programs. In the capacity of attending veterinarian, the trainee serves on the ERSP IACUC, provides clinical care, serves as a consultative resource to the scientific and technical staff, conducts weekly facility rounds, develops and implements standard operating protocols, provides staff training, participates in the review of proposals employing hazardous materials and the subsequent implementation of appropriate safety procedures, and oversees the ERSP biosecurity program.

Research Training - The purpose of research training is to give the trainee an opportunity to apply the scientific method to a basic or clinical research project and to develop an appreciation for the process of scientific discovery. Trainees will be expected to work under the mentorship of the Program or Research Faculty at one of the three institutions. Trainees will be introduced to the process of grantsmanship, the generation of hypotheses, experimental design, the selection of animal models of human disease, the analysis of data and writing a manuscript suitable for publication. The trainee may work as a collaborator or engage in an independent project but in either case he/she will be responsible for mastering a research technique(s) and applying it to the collection of data. This experience will fulfill ACLAM's requirement that to sit for the board examination the applicant must have a first-authored publication in a peer reviewed journal.

Didactic – There are 6 components to the didactic training provided to fellows:

1. Formal Courses offered by Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University. Fellows are required to take Fundamental Immunology (four quarters), Molecular Genetics (two quarters), Grant Writing & Scientific Journalism (two quarters) and a web based ‘Writing for Science’ course. Fellows may choose to enroll in additional electives. Fellows may request exemption from required courses based on prior graduate-course enrollment. If exempted, the fellow must select an elective in place of the required course.
2. Clinical and Pathology Conference (CPC) – Weekly conferences (~ 1.5 h) directed by program faculty during which clinical medicine, clinical pathology, and anatomic pathology of current and historical cases are presented and reviewed.
3. Laboratory Animal Medicine Seminar Series – Biweekly (~2 h) seminars presented by program faculty, guest lecturers, and postdoctoral fellows during which the biology, diseases, pathology, experimental use, etc. of laboratory animal species is presented and discussed.
4. Journal Club – A biweekly (~ 1 h) review of a topical research manuscript related to comparative medicine, laboratory animal medicine, or biomedical research by program faculty or postdoctoral fellows.
5. Regulatory and Compliance Training Conference – Exposes the trainee to the various rules and regulations governing the care and use of animals in research during weekly (~ 1 h) conferences. Fellows also participate in the activities of each of the Tri-Institutional IACUCs. IACUC activity includes reviewing animal care and use proposals; reviewing and developing IACUC policies and procedures; attending monthly IACUC meetings; and participating in semi-annual inspections of animal facilities and laboratories. The fellow is also introduced to the network of independent voluntary organizations involved in the field of laboratory animal science and medicine and research animal use by reviewing their standards, policies, and informational brochures and newsletters. Additionally, the fellow will participate in announced and unannounced site visits undertaken by regulatory and accrediting authorities.
6. Biosecurity Case Studies – In a conference setting, every six weeks, faculty and fellows meet to discuss current or historic biosecurity scenarios including atypical vendor importation, quarantine, infective agent outbreaks, and health monitoring program design and implementation. Case studies emphasize determining relevant information, risk assessment, constraint evaluation, and solution development.

Describe any unique research interests of your facultyInfectious disease; translational research in laboratory animal science, neurobiology and science; cancer biology, wildlife/zoological diseases and pathology.
Give a few literature citations of publications completed by trainees during their tenure in this program

Collymore C, Tolwani A, Lieggi C, Rasmussen S. Efficacy and safety of 5 anesthetics in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS. 2014;53(2):198-203. PubMed PMID: 24602548; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3966278.

Braden GC, Arbona RR, Lepherd M, Monette S, Toma A, Fox JG, Dewhirst FE, Lipman NS. A Novel alpha-Hemolytic Streptococcus Species (Streptococcus azizii sp. nov.) Associated with Meningoencephalitis in Naive Weanling C57BL/6 Mice. Comp Med. 2015;65(3):186-95. PubMed PMID: 26141443; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4485627.

Collymore C, Crim MJ, Lieggi C. Recommendations for Health Monitoring and Reporting for Zebrafish Research Facilities. Zebrafish. 2016;13 Suppl 1:S138-48. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2015.1210. PubMed PMID: 26991393; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4932782.

Redelsperger IM, Taldone T, Riedel ER, Lepherd ML, Lipman NS, Wolf FR. Stability of Doxycycline in Feed and Water and Minimal Effective Doses in Tetracycline-Inducible Systems. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS. 2016;55(4):467-74. PubMed PMID: 27423155; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4943619.

Gerwin P.M., Ricart Arbona R.J., Riedel E.R., Lepherd M., Henderson K.S., Lipman N.S. Evaluation of Traditional and Contemporary Methods for Detecting Syphacia obvelata and Aspiculuris tetraptera in Laboratory Mice. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2017 Jan; 56(1): 32–41.

Santagostino SF, Arbona RJR, Nashat MA, White JR, Monette S. Pathology of Aging in NOD scid gamma Female Mice. Veterinary pathology. 2017; 54(5):855-869. NIHMSID: NIHMS866771 PMCID: PMC5548647. PubMed

Braden GC, Rasmussen S, Monette S, Tolwani RJ. Effects of Breeding Configuration on Maternal and Weanling Behavior in Laboratory Mice. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS. 2017; 56(4):369-376. PMCID: PMC5517325. PubMed

Nashat MA, Luchins KR, Lepherd ML, Riedel ER, Izdebska JN, Lipman NS.  Characterization of Demodex musculi infestation, associated co-morbidities, and its topographical distribution in a mouse strain with defective adaptive immunity. Comparative Medicine. 2017; 67(4):315-329.

Peneyra SM, Cardona-Costa J, White J, Whipps CM, Riedel ER, Lipman NS, Lieggi C. Zebrafish. Transmission of Pseudoloma neurophilia in Laboratory Zebrafish (Danio rerio) When Using Mass Spawning Chambers and Recommendations for Chamber Disinfection. Zebrafish. 2018 Feb; 15(1): 63-72.

Cheleuitte-Nieves C, Gulvik C, Humrighouse B, Bell M, Villarma A, Westblade L, Lipman N, Fischetti V & McQuiston J. 2018. Draft Reference Genome of Corynebacterium mastitidis 16-1433 Isolated from a Mouse. Genome Announcements. 6(7):e00050-18.

Cheleuitte-Nieves C, Gulvik CA, McQuiston JR, Humrighouse BW, Bell ME, Villarma A, Fischetti VA, Westblade LF, Lipman NS. Genotypic differences between strains of the opportunistic pathogen Corynebacterium bovis isolated from humans, cows, and rodents. PLoS One. 2018 Dec 26;13(12):e0209231.

Nashat MA, Ricart Arbona RJ, Riedel ER, Francino R, Ferrer L, Luchins KR, Lipman NS. Comparison of diagnostic methods and sampling sites for the detection of Demodex musculi.Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS Sci. 2018; 57(2): 173-185.

Nashat MA, Ricart Arbona RJ, Lepherd ML, Santagostino SF, Livingston, RS, Riedel ER, Lipman NS. Evaluation of ivermectin compounded feed and topical moxidectin/imidacloprid for eradication of Demodex musculi in laboratory mice. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS. 2018; 57(5): 483-497.

Where will vacancies be advertised?ASLAP and ACLAM web sites.
What month does the program begin?July

Living and Working

Starting Annual Salary$50,000
To what extent is travel to meetings, etc. paid for?One major meeting per year; access to regional meetings is also provided; travel to other educational opportunities is considered on a case by case basis. Annual book fund allocation.
Is individual health insurance provided?Yes
Is family health insurance provided?Yes
Describe any fees or tuitionNone
Describe the residents' responsibilities for night, weekend, and holiday coverageDuring the latter half of year 1 and during years two and three fellows share "On-Call" coverage with other veterinary staff.
How many annual vacation days are given?10
How many annual sick days are given?6
Briefly describe the communitySubsidized housing may be available for trainees.
Institutional, facility, or training program web site

Training Program:

VIRMP Schedule: