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From Dean Jim Thompson
UTCVM’S Office of Laboratory Animal Care & Its New Director
Dean Thompson
Great research programs require persistence, sharp focus, and dedicated people committed to hard work. As our university advances the body of biomedical and scientific knowledge, our animal facilities are dedicated to providing excellent service in support of our university research and teaching missions while ensuring the safe and ethical treatment of the animals. Our Office of Laboratory Animal Care (OLAC) is fully responsible for research animal oversight and healthcare at the Knoxville-area campuses, and this service unit promotes the highest standards of care.

As the institutional official for the Knoxville campuses, I bear the ultimate responsibility for our program of animal care and use. Federal law requires institutions that use animals in research and teaching have an attending veterinarian, and our attending veterinarian also serves as the OLAC director. I have the pleasure to work with Dr. Lori Cole, who was named our attending veterinarian in August. Dr. Cole has fifteen years of direct laboratory animal healthcare experience at several institutions. She oversees all aspects of animal care and use, including animal husbandry, veterinary care delivery, nutrition, sanitation, and enrichment for both our teaching and research animals. Dr. Cole’s team includes Dr. Bryce Burton, a clinical veterinarian, Chris Carter and Jerri O’Rourke, veterinary technicians, and Ben Edenfield, administrative support.

OLAC is instrumental in maintaining clinical care for all teaching and research animals, no matter the species. The OLAC team rotates through all university animal care facilities on a regular basis evaluating medical records and the health and well being of each animal. OLAC also assists investigators in developing and learning new procedures and provides training such as understanding normal animal anatomy, anesthesia, safe and appropriate animal handling, and approved methods of blood-sampling techniques specifically tailored to meet the needs of individual laboratories. Dr. Cole and her team focus on building relationships with not only the laboratory animal staff, but also the research staff and principal investigators, encouraging a collegial atmosphere across the board that fosters transparency and collaboration.

OLAC is an essential resource to the University of Tennessee and to ensuring we meet our mission of advancing biomedical and scientific knowledge.

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Jim Thompson