How Research Happens

While each NPRC has specific areas of expertise, they all rely on the scientific process. Research can take years, but the NPRCs are working together to accelerate the search for causes, preventions, treatments, and cures.
  • 1. Make Observations

    It starts with a researcher observing conditions that could lead to a medical discovery, treatment, prevention, or cure.
  • 2. Ask Questions

    These observations lead to questions. That “why” or “how” drives the research and is the first step toward breakthroughs.
  • 3. Form Hypotheses

    A hypothesis is a potential answer to the question. It is the researcher’s informed opinion about the research topic.
  • 4. Obtain Funding

    Researches must compete with other scientists to get funding for research and to justify why their research matters.
  • 5. Conduct Research

    Following protocol review to ensure animal welfare practices are in place, highly regulated studies test the hypothesis, determining if it is accurate, applicable, and reproducible.
  • 6. Draw Conclusions

    It’s this process that provides an understanding of normal function and reveals the causes, preventions, treatments and cures for diseases in order for people to live longer, healthier lives.

Animal Care

The well-being of our animals is a top priority.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, NPRC employees are committed to the health and welfare of our research animals.

The round-the-clock care NPRC veterinarians, veterinary technicians and animal care and behavioral management personnel provide is grounded in a respect for all life and includes daily health checks, annual examinations, fresh fruits and vegetables, environmental enrichment, behavioral management and more.

Because our animals are crucial to discovering causes, preventions, treatments and cures, we have tailored programs to meet their species-typical needs as well as their psychological well-being. These programs include socialization, foraging and sensory opportunities, manipulable objects, climbing structures and positive reinforcement training to help facilitate animal care, veterinary procedures and research. We regularly review and update our behavioral management programs based internal assessments and findings published in peer-reviewed journals.

The NPRCs follow regulations and guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other institutional animal care and use committees. In addition, the NPRCs are accredited by AAALAC International, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes humane treatment of animals used in scientific research and whose accreditation is recognized as the gold standard for laboratory animal care.

The breakthrough discoveries the NPRCs are making and enabling would not be possible without the knowledge and conviction of our employees who are all dedicated to the highest quality animal care.
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