Department of Comparative Medicine


The University of Washington Laboratory Animal Medicine Training Program is designed for graduate veterinarians and consists of three years of instruction and training. The program is designed to prepare veterinarians for careers in laboratory animal medicine, and is a combination of clinical training and research.

Trainees may complete advanced degrees, either Master of Science in Comparative Medicine and/or a Ph.D. (the latter taking 5-7 years to complete) in a variety of basic sciences. Additionally, resources are available to aid trainees in their pursuit of certification by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and/or American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

The primary goals of the program are to teach the knowledge, methodological skills, and scholarly work habits that will enable trainees to conduct research; confidently and competently work clinically with laboratory animals; and to advance knowledge in biology and medicine.

Clinical duties, pathology responsibilities, and research completion are intermingled throughout the duration of the three-year program. Additional rotations include instruction in the areas of the IACUC, rodent health monitoring, environmental enrichment, biosafety and facilities. Residents also attend two weekly one-hour seminars that cover a variety of laboratory animal medicine, pathology, and experimental research topics as well as comparative pathology rounds.

The trainee is expected to complete and publish a first-author biomedical research project as part of the training program. The trainee will learn methodological skills and work habits that are needed for a successful career in biomedical research. This is accomplished through the mentor relationship with an established scientist and full participation in a research project. At the start of the program, the trainee will be encouraged, and assisted with, identifying a research mentor in their area of interest to complete their research training. Specific objectives of this portion of the program include the instruction of trainees in the principles of experimental design, statistics, data collection, grant writing, the preparation of manuscripts, and the ethical principles of research, including animal experimentation and the humane care and use of laboratory animals.

Courses cover laboratory animal biology and pathology, techniques and methods for use of animals, current uses of induced and naturally-occurring animal models, diseases and care of laboratory animals, gnotobiotics, facility design, regulations governing laboratory animal medicine, and discussions of the ethical questions surrounding animal use.