1. Contact Dr. Fiorotto or other members of the MMRU Steering Committee and discuss experimental needs (types of measurements, animal numbers, mouse size, diet, responsibilities of the investigator).
2. Submit an amendment to IACUC to include these measurements on your protocol if you don't already have this. The following are descriptions you can use for some of the measurements.
- Energy expenditure will be measured in the mice using the CLAMS instrument located in the CNRC.
- The mice will be transferred to CNRC animal facility where they will be singly housed and allowed to equilibrate for up to 1 week in standard caging (for outside PIs).
- They will be housed for 48-72 hours in specialized CLAMS feeder cages to familiarize themselves with the feeding system and to estimate food intake. They then will be transferred to the calorimetry chambers for 72 hours for simultaneous monitoring of food intake, activity, and energy expenditure. To determine energy expenditure, the system monitors O2 and CO2 gas fractions at both the inlet and outlet ports of each chamber through which a known flow of air is passing. The gas fraction and flow measurements are used to compute VO2, VCO2, RER (respiratory exchange ratio) and heat production (energy expenditure). Food intake and feeding pattern are measured automatically from the weight of feed removed from specialized feed hoppers installed within the chamber. Activity in the x and z axes is estimated by monitoring the number of infra-red beams broken by the mouse movements.* Precise details of the measurements can be found in protocol AN5020.
- At the end of the study, the mice will be returned from the CNRC to Taub animal facility (for outside PIs).
- If you wish to measure Resting Metabolic Rate include the following sentence at this point: "On the last day that the mice are in the calorimetry cages, the feeders will be closed at 6 am (at lights on) and energy expenditure measured for an additional 8 hours so that resting metabolic rate can be estimated."
3. Submit the completed online MMRU application form. This will be reviewed by Dr Marta Fiorotto. The purpose of this review process is twofold, to ensure:
- that all appropriate institutional approvals for use are in place (e.g., IACUC protocol, IBC protocol, and transfer request); and
- the efficient scheduling of MMRU capabilities so that all investigators have access to the MMRU in a fair and unbiased manner.
4. You will be contacted within 72 hours with optional dates; confirm schedule with Dr. Fiorotto within 24 hours so that you don't lose your spot. For investigators outside the CNRC, the time frame requested must take into consideration the transfer of the mice.
If your mice are housed outside the CNRC, proceed to Step 5. Otherwise, proceed to Step 9.
5. Contact Darrin Shiver, CNRF Manager (713-798-6735; Darrin.Shiver@bcm.edu) immediately to obtain assurance that your mice are coming from a clean room in either TMF or the TMF tower facility and that there is no evidence of disease in the room in which they are currently housed. If these assurances cannot be provided, mice will be refused entry to the CNRC CNRF until they have been quarantined at Taub and verification is obtained that they are "clean".
6. Our facility has limited available mouse space. Once Darrin Shiver is assured that it is OK to bring your mice into the CNRF, arrangements need to be made with him to ensure there is sufficient space in our facility to house the mice. Also, Darrin Shiver will need to know what will happen to the mice after they are studied in the MMRU.
7. To transfer the mice, fill out an online transfer request found on the CCM home page under "Forms". The mice will be moved to CNRF room 1068. Once approved, you will be asked to identify the cages you want moved. You do not move the mice; CCM moves them, according to federal and TMC policies. The transfer can be done quickly once you have IACUC approval and your MMRU time is booked.
8. The next step is to obtain access card to the CNRF. Fill out and print the CNRC ACCESS CARD REQUEST form and give it to Michael LeCompte, (CNRC Security Manager, located at the front desk of CNRC). The form verifies that you have an IACUC approved animal protocol and that all personnel that require access to the CNRF are listed on and approved to work on the protocol. In the "Specific job-related functions/ responsibilities that require a CNRC access card" block of the form, please include the Protocol Number, Protocol Title, the Name of Primary Investigator and the Expected Termination Date of the Project. The CNRC Access Request must be submitted and signed off by Dr. Marta Fiorotto, director of the MMRU, as the approving sponsor.
9. When you are all set, contact Firoz Vohra, MMRU Engineer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 713-798-6756 to finalize details of your experiment.