Institution TypePublic University
Is there a medical school?Yes
Is this a land-grant institution?No
Vivarium DirectorDr. Craig Fletcher
Program DirectorDr. Craig Fletcher
Who to ContactDr. Steve Shipley
AddressDivision of Comparative Medicine, CB #7115, 130 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone(919) 966-2909
Fax(919) 962-9741

Vivarium Information

Vivarium NameUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Division of Comparative Medicine
Is the facility AAALAC accredited?Yes
Describe management structureCentralized animal facility management
Describe the extent to which your facilities are centralizedAnimals housed across 17 facilities
Vivarium Square Feet91,516 sq ft
Summarize the nature of the animal population and the predominant types of clinical activities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill currently has approximately 740 active animal use protocols for which approximately 280 faculty members serve as principal investigators. Animals are used by faculty in the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health and Pharmacy, in the College of Arts and Sciences in the Departments of Biology, Chemistry and Psychology and in the Institute of Marine Science (IMS) located in Morehead City, NC. Thus research involving animals varies greatly but with a large emphasis on genetic models. 

A recent animal census of UNC-CH is as follows:

Dogs 182
Ferrets 5
Gerbils 2
Guinea pigs 24
Macaques 2
Mice (cages) 28,038
Pigs 16
Rabbits 31
Rats (cages) 1,136
Sea Turtles 16
Other species include Xenopus frogs, spade foot toads, and zebrafish.

Trainees serve as the primary vet for all aspects of facility management on a rotating basis, including individual animal clinical diagnosis and treatment, herd health management, preventative medicine, and animal health surveillance for a wide variety of laboratory species at UNC.  Trainees provide surgical and/or anesthetic support, manage post-operative animal care, conduct/participate in research in laboratory animal medicine and/or comparative medicine, assist in assuring proper compliance with mandatory government and institutional regulations, participate on the IACUC, and provide instruction in the care and use of laboratory animals to researchers and division staff.

Number of Veterinarians in program9
Number of ACLAM Diplomates in program6
Number of Boarded Pathologists2
Number of Other Boarded Veterinary Specialists1
Number of necropsies/week in the veterinary unit4-8
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 residents3
How many residents/trainees have completed this program?19
Of these, how many have subsequently become ACLAM Diplomates?11
In what year did the program accept its first trainee?1982
How many years are required to complete this program (residency only)?3
Is formal coursework offered?No
Is a degree program associated with this residency?No
If yes, what degree(s)?N/A
Which departments most commonly grant degree(s)?N/A
Give an overview of this program, describing its particular strengths and any unique aspects that are not addressed in any of the other sections

UNC-Chapel Hill is ranked sixth among leading private and public research universities for the level of federal funding devoted to research and development ($632 million annually), and notable animal research support services housed at UNC include a Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Center (MMRRC), transgenic or gene-targeted Animal Models Core, the National Gnotobiotic Rodent Resource Center, the Systems Genetics Core providing Collaborative Cross mice, Behavioral Phenotyping Core, rodent and large animal surgical cores, a Zebrafish Aquaculture Core Facility, and Institute of Marine Science to name a few. The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) employs more than 170 individuals including 8 ACLAM- or ACVP-boarded faculty veterinarians, 3 residents in laboratory animal medicine, and 11 veterinary and enrichment technicians.

Clinical Training: This program provides an in-depth experience in all aspects of clinical laboratory animal medicine.  Trainees spend 60-70% of their time on clinical rotations, which are mentored by DCM faculty.  These 4 month-long rotations provide extensive clinical experience in rodent, aquatic, and USDA covered species with specific emphasis on management of large rodent colonies, USDA covered species colony management, large animal surgical models, and exotic (non-mammalian) species medicine. Diagnostic facilities include on-site hematology and clinical chemistry, whole body and dental radiology, and ultrasound with access to advanced imaging facilities. On call is shared between trainees and clinical lab animal medicine faculty. Trainees are involved in IACUC protocol and amendment review continually throughout residency.

Didactic Training: UNC Chapel Hill’s residency program participates in the Research Triangle Laboratory Animal Training Program (RTLATP), which provides didactic training in core material for 4 hours per week. RTLATP is a regional didactic program involving the LAM residency programs at UNC, Duke University, NCSU & NIEHS, and lectures are given by a combination of current trainees, RTLATP faculty, and invited speakers with expertise in particular areas from across the state of North Carolina. Required subject matter, based on the ACLAM Role Delineation document, rotates on a two-year cycle, and includes seminars covering lab animal medicine topics, journal club, and discussion of regulations that govern animal research. In addition to the weekly LAM Seminar, trainees may take courses in statistics and the responsible conduct of research, as well as other courses depending on the trainee’s interests. Other opportunities for training include the following: clinical rounds and staff meetings; non-LAM clinical and research seminars held at the institution, including resident seminars and other Continuing Education courses offered; weekly slide set review at NIEHS (review of various training modules available through ACLAM and CL Davis); seminars and courses offered by the North Carolina Academy of Laboratory Animal Medicine (NCALAM); NIEHS courses, such as Rodent Pathology; the North Carolina Workshop in Laboratory Animal Medicine (formerly the CL Davis course) at the NCSU-CVM; courses offered by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; and training classes offered at national meetings (AALAS, AVMA and ACLAM).

Research Training: Trainees are expected to conduct a hypothesis-driven research project under the mentorship of a DCM faculty member, with the goal of having at least one research article accepted in a peer-reviewed journal in time to achieve ACLAM boards eligibility during the third year of the residency program. Trainees carry out all aspects of the project, including experimental design, IACUC protocol submission, data collection and analysis, and manuscript writing and revision. Trainees typically have a 4 month-long research rotation during the second year of the program to allow them to focus on completing their research project and often present their work at local and national AALAS meetings.

Describe any unique research interests of your facultyvascular biology, transplant medicine, host-microbial interactions, and viral pathogenesis and host immune response

Give a few literature citations of publications completed by trainees during their tenure in this program

Whitaker, J., S. S. Moy, V. Godfrey, J. Nielsen, D. Bellinger, and J. Bradfield. "Effects of Cage Size and Enrichment on Reproductive Performance and Behavior in C57bl/6tac Mice." [In eng]. Lab Anim (NY) 38, no. 1 (Jan 2009): 24-34.


Tubbs, J. T., G. E. Kissling, G. S. Travlos, D. R. Goulding, J. A. Clark, A. P. King-Herbert, and T. L. Blankenship-Paris. "Effects of Buprenorphine, Meloxicam, and Flunixin Meglumine as Postoperative Analgesia in Mice." [In eng]. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 50, no. 2 (Mar 2011): 185-91.


Zegre Cannon, C., G. E. Kissling, D. R. Goulding, A. P. King-Herbert, and T. Blankenship-Paris. "Analgesic Effects of Tramadol, Carprofen or Multimodal Analgesia in Rats Undergoing Ventral Laparotomy." [In eng]. Lab Anim (NY) 40, no. 3 (Mar 2011): 85-93.

Rogala AR, Morgan AP, Christensen AM, Gooch TJ, Bell TA, Miller DR, Godfrey VL, de Villena FP. The Collaborative Cross as a resource for modeling human disease: CC011/Unc, a new mouse model for spontaneous colitis. Mamm Genome. 2014 Apr;25(3-4):95-108.

George NM, Whitaker J, Vieira G, Geronimo JT, Bellinger DA, Fletcher CA, Garner JP. Antioxidant Therapies for Ulcerative Dermatitis: A Potential Model for Skin Picking Disorder. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 13;10(7):e0132092.

Churchill SR, Morgan DL, Kissling GE, Travlos GS, King-Herbert AP. Impact of Environmental Enrichment Devices on NTP In Vivo Studies. Toxicol Pathol. 2016 Feb;44(2):233-45.

Kapoor P, Hayes YO, Jarrell LT, Bellinger DA, Thomas RD, Lawson GW, Arkema JD, Fletcher CA,  Nielsen JN.  Evaluation of Anthelmintic Resistance and Exhaust Air Dust PCR as a Diagnostic Tool in Mice Enzootically Infected with Aspiculuris tetraptera.   JAALAS 2017. 56(3): 1-17.

Wimsey LE, Wharton KN, Giles JM, Nielsen JN, Knapp DJ.  Effect of Individually Ventilated Bi-Level Caging on Anxiety-Like Behavior and Breeding Performance in Rats.  Research and Reviews:  Journal of Veterinary Sciences. 2017 3(1):16-24.

Giles JM, Whitaker JW, Moy SS, Fletcher CA. Effect of Environmental Enrichment on Aggression in BALB/cJ and BALB/cByJ Mice Monitored by Using an Automated System. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2018 Apr 18.

Estes JM, Hayes YO, Freeman ZT, Fletcher CA, Baxter VK. Effectiveness of Various Floor Contamination Control Methods in Reducing Environmental Organic Load and Maintaining Colony Health in Rodent Facilities. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2019. 58(3):329-337.

Where will vacancies be advertised?AALAS website, ASLAP website
What month does the program begin?July (some flexibility)

Living and Working

Starting Annual Salary$50,000
To what extent is travel to meetings, etc. paid for?No more than one national meeting per year, 2-3 local meetings per year
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 coverageHoliday, night, and weekend on-call on a rotating basis; typically on call 10-12 weeks (and one major holiday) per year
How many annual vacation days are given?12
How many annual sick days are given?12
Briefly describe the communityThe University is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a sophisticated college town that’s part of the larger and easily accessible Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area. With more than 1.13 million people, the community offers a range of collegiate activities, professional opportunities, resources, neighborhoods, cultural events and more. Chapel Hill is a multicultural university town with a resident population of almost 50,000 people. Much of the character of the town is due to its great natural beauty, which includes steep, wooded hills, small streams, stone walls and quiet streets. Carolina’s campus is about a twenty-minute commute from the Research Triangle Park, which is home to more than 170 global companies, fostering a culture of scientific advancement and competitive excellence. The park is located between three major research universities: Duke University in Durham, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and helps to create one of the most vibrant research corridors in the United States.
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