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Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Program of Laboratory Animal Resources (PLAR)

News from the Office of the Campus Veterinarian

On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the administration of the Program of Laboratory Animal Resources (PLAR) at WSU Health Sciences Spokane will transfer to the Office of the Campus Veterinarian (OCV). Two separate external reviews of the WSU animal program conducted in Fall 2016 recommended centralizing the animal facility management under the direction of Dr. Nina Woodford, director and attending veterinarian of the Office of the Campus Veterinarian. The goal behind centralization is to establish a cost-efficient, service-oriented program that meets the needs of the animal research community and provides appropriate centralized support for all involved colleges.

Please note that facility centralization under OCV entails the provision of regular husbandry duties, which include required sanitation; feeding, watering, animal health observations, and sick animal reporting; and facility and equipment sanitization, monitoring, and repair. No disruptions in routine operations will occur. The current staff will remain as part of the newly formed centrally managed system. The animal facility management would report up to OCV instead of the WSU Health Sciences Office of Research.

Please reach out if you have any immediate questions or concerns. Contact information for OCV-PLAR is posted within the facilities and listed here:

  • Nina Woodford, Director & Attending Veterinarian
    Phone: 509-335-8035, E-mail:
  • Jennifer Kopanke, Assistant Director & Veterinarian
    Phone: 509-358-7825, Office: PBS 120A, E-mail:
  • Barry Worden, Fiscal Specialist
    Phone: 509-358-6842, Office: HERB 128, E-mail:
  • Rob Archuleta, Supervisor
    Phone: 509-358-7975, Office: PBS 11A, E-mail:


PLAR’s goal is to facilitate compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations governing animal utilization in teaching, research, and testing. The staff of the department strives to maintain a quality animal care program that meets the standards required to receive accreditation by the Association for the Assessment of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).

WSU is an AAALAC accredited research and educational institution. The Spokane vivaria are located in two areas with a total of approximately 20,000 square feet.

The husbandry staff has years of experience with a wide range of laboratory animals. A veterinary specialist is available to assist with technical and surgical procedures. All staff members are encouraged to be AALAS certified and participate in district AALAS meetings. The Spokane vivaria have a full-time lab animal veterinarian on staff.

The HVAC system can maintain 71 °F ± 2 °F and 50% ± 20% relative humidity. The system is monitored 24 hours. Alerts are sent to several personnel if the temperature or relative humidity is outside the acceptable range. The rooms are programmed to maintain negative or positive pressure as appropriate for the function within the room. Light cycles are programmable and are monitored. The vivaria are equipped with a rack washer and two bottle washers. Changing stations are provided in each room. All animals are housed in ventilated cages. Immunocompromised animals are housed under sterile conditions. Most of the animals are housed under SPF conditions (cages changed in a changing station, sterile gowns, gloves). A small number of animals are housed under conventional conditions. Cages are changed every 2 weeks or as necessary.

The major equipment available includes:

  • lVlS imaging unit
  • irradiator
  • intravitreal microscope
  • isoflurane vaporizers
  • biosafety cabinets
  • fume hoods
  • pass-thru autoclave
  • Bioquell unit for decontamination with vaporized hydrogen peroxide

The facility has the capacity and potential for significant research growth on campus.