May Awareness Commence with RIA

May 14, 2024

Semester transitions, summer research programs, and field and wildlife activities are all exciting events at Princeton University! The teams in RIA provide the below reminders to ensure safe and compliant research activities.

1. Does Your Lab Equipment Need Attention?

Maintaining lab equipment contributes to scientific rigor and reproducibility and the ethical use of human and animal subjects and specimens. Examine the equipment you use and keep the following in mind:

  • Are room equipment/materials (i.e., sealed wood/sanitizable chairs) / storage containers (e.g., for supplies, records, and foods) all sanitizable?
  • Have sanitation procedures been established and are they regularly practiced for animal-related equipment?
  • Are materials used for the purpose of sanitizing, disinfecting, etc. (chemicals, disinfectants, wipes) properly labeled and not expired?
  • Are equipment, materials, etc. (especially those that comes in contact with animals) kept in good working order, rust free, clean (e.g., free of feces/bedding), not broken or left with sharp edges, and not expired (e.g., glass beads in bead sterilizer)?
  • Are instruments and devices used in/on/with animals appropriately sanitized for aseptic procedures (autoclaved at first use, bead sterilizer between ≤5 animals, sterile gloves used where appropriate)?
  • Is broken or unusable equipment (or parts) awaiting repair removed from the lab or labeled as "temporarily out of service/awaiting repair”? Note: equipment must be decontaminated and cleared by EHS before disposal.
  • Is documentation (e.g. logs or dated labels) available for scissors/guillotine sharpening and/or scale validation. Note: Guillotines used only for post‐mortem activities do not require documentation of servicing but must be labeled as “for post‐mortem use only”.
  • Has your anesthesia machine(s) been certified in the past year or according to manufacturer's recommendations and is the machine labeled with the date of certification or as “not in use”?


2. Making Summer Plans?

Summer vacations and new (summer) students can present challenges in the continuity of operations for research projects and labs. Take a moment to review the following:

  • Ensure your lab has an established process for backup personnel – consider:
  • What research activities require daily attention? 
  • What animals require weekend, holiday, and/or evening care, monitoring, and/or treatments? 
  • What is the communication tree for unexpected absences?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for ensuring the animals and/or research activities are completed?
  • New personnel require training – remember:
    • Has the required training, medical surveillance, and other clearances been completed before lab members begin working with hazards, animals, and/or human subjects?
    • Is the research team familiar with the approved activities to avoid off-protocol work, personnel injury, and non-compliance?
    • Have the approved applications [IBC Registration, IACUC protocol(s), and/or IRB protocol(s)] been distributed to the lab members who are participating in the activities and has the content been reviewed to ensure familiarity and comprehension?

For more information, visit the RIA website or contact the specific RIA Office:

Website for Training Requirements

Contact Information


[email protected]


[email protected]


[email protected] 


[email protected] 

3. Labels Matter (for Safety and Compliance)!

All stock bottles, aliquots, dilutions, reconstitutions, and waste require proper labeling to ensure, among other things:

  • Adherence to expiration and beyond use dates.
  • Safe handling and disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Protection of personnel and the environment.
  • Adherence to institutional policies and procedures.

A few reminders:

  • All drugs, medicines, substances (including dilutions and aliquots) and materials must be properly labeled (i.e., substance name and expiration date, and concentration where applicable).
  • Items used in animals must be maintained sterile and cannot be expired.
  • Drugs or solutions that are reconstituted for use may have an expiration date that differs from the labeled expiration date. Reconstituted drugs and compounds that do not contain an expiration date or efficacy guidance should be labeled with an expiration date 30 days after reconstitution.
  • When using controlled substances (CS):
    • CS must be appropriately stored, for example, locked in a substantially constructed cabinet, drawer, safe, refrigerator, or freezer. If a storage container can be carried out of the room, it must be attached to permanent fixture.
    • CS logs must be available and match the vial(s) in use.
    • Remember that all usage of controlled substances must be approved by both the IACUC and EHS.


  • IACUC Policy #301: “Handling Expired Products, Labeling, Storage, Diluting, and Compounding of Medical Materials and Chemicals Used in Animal Research”
  • EHS’s website for Laboratory, Biological, and Chemical Safety.
  • EHS’s website for controlled substances.
  • RIA’s Post-Approval Monitor Sandy Baker is available to assist you with these processes and ensure continued compliance in your research programs! 
4. Reflections, Suggestions, and Ideas?

With another academic year ending, RIA would love to hear from you! 

  • How can we improve?
  • What do we do well?
  • Do you have ideas to share?

Please take a moment to complete this anonymous survey and share your thoughts.