Laboratory Animal Medicine

Residency Program

Back to Comparative Medicine Division Home Page

Program Overview:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center offers a 2 year Laboratory Animal Medicine residency program which is recognized by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) and offers motivated individuals a training environment designed to meet the ACLAM board eligibility requirements. The VUMC Animal Care and Use Program has been accredited by AAALAC International since 1967. The residency program is supported by institutional funds and the Veterinary Resident is a staff position and is eligible for all staff benefits.

Program Components:

1. Clinical and Non-Clinical Rotations

A. Residents rotate through the centralized animal housing facilities managed by the Division of Animal Care (DAC) and work in a variety of facility designs and with multiple caging systems while providing clinical care to a wide range of species including rats, mice, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, dogs, ferrets, swine, nonhuman primates (multiple species), zebrafish, reptiles and amphibians. Residents develop diagnostic and treatment plans while in consultation with researchers and in consideration of experimental constraints and confounds. In addition, Residents participate in the health surveillance and disease prevention programs, and have the opportunity to gain surgical experience as part of providing veterinary care and/ or through participating in study related procedures.

B. Residents spend a two month rotation in the Translational Pathology Shared Resource, working with ACVP Boarded Veterinary Pathologists. During this time, Residents perform complete necropsies (includes gross and microscopic examination).

C. During a rotation with the Vanderbilt University Office of Animal Welfare Assurance (OAWA), Residents gain experience with protocol review, semi-annual inspections, satellite facility inspections, and Vanderbilts unique post- approval compliance monitoring program. Attending meetings of the universitys Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) provide residents with opportunities to see the practical application of regulatory requirements.

D. Interaction with the Business office will give residents firsthand experience with the administrative management of an animal care program including, but not limited to, budget development, per diem rate setting, personnel management, facility planning, construction, and operations.

E. The DAC works with the Veterans' Administration Tennessee Valley Health System to provide veterinary and husbandry care, as well as IACUC oversight. Through this collaboration, Residents experience working with a government managed program.

2. Lecture and Discussion Based Courses: Formal instruction, designed to provide trainees with the knowledge needed to practice laboratory animal medicine, as well as prepare for the ACLAM board examination, includes:

A. Lecture Based Courses: Laboratory Animal Medicine; Biomedical Research and Laboratory Animal Science; Administrative and Professional Skills; Regulations; and Responsible Conduct in Research.

B. Seminars and Journal Clubs: Special Topics in Laboratory Animal Medicine; Pathology Conference; Veterinary Staff Meeting (Clinical Rounds); Comparative Medicine Journal Club, and Literature Review Club.

3. Mentored Research Experience: Residents complete a hypothesis driven research project that is designed to lead to a first author publication. The interests of the trainee and the nature of the project determine the selection of the research mentor. Research mentors may be either a DAC veterinarian or a principal investigator from the Vanderbilt research community.

4. Attendance at National Laboratory Animal Forums: Funds will be made available annually for residents to attend at least one laboratory animal related course, seminar, conference, or meeting; thereby providing exposure to the latest developments in the field and opportunity to network with other laboratory animal medicine professionals.

5. Additional Training: After orientation, the resident will be expected to assist, and eventually lead, DAC and OAWA formal training sessions (didactic and wet lab) offered for DAC and research staff.

About Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC):

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, VUMC is dedicated to research, education, and service. The Vanderbilt School of Medicine consistently ranks in the top 15 out of 125 U.S. medical schools receiving competitive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Approximately half of NIH-supported projects at Vanderbilt utilize animals in research.

Major translational research initiatives at Vanderbilt are moving discoveries from the bench to the bedside, transforming health care and health care delivery. Areas of emphasis by the research faculty include pharmacology and drug development, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience, cancer biology, substance abuse, womens health, diabetes, infectious disease, and aging.

Vanderbilts Office of Research ( has over 50 state-of-the-art core facilities to support cutting edge biomedical research, including:

• The Center for Small Animal Imaging within the VU Institute of Imaging Science

• The nationally-recognized Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Core

• Transgenic Mouse / Embryonic Stem Cell Shared Resource

• Mouse Kidney Physiology and Disease Center

• Rat and Mouse Neurobehavior Cores

• ZCORE: Zebrafish Aquatic Facility

• Translational Pathology Shared Resource, and

• S.R. Light Laboratory for Surgical Research


The Division of Comparative Medicine has a faculty of eight Veterinarians, including four ACLAM Diplomates and one ACVP Diplomate.


Printha McCallum
Program Manager, Division of Comparative Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center