Frequently Asked Questions

This page will be updated frequently.

ARO Account

How are my ARO and HSConnect accounts related?

ARO receives account information from HSConnect every business day. As such, there is typically a delay in uploading account information. For example, if someone completed the necessary training requirements on a Monday morning, their account would not be uploaded to ARO until the following day.


What if I have more than one HSConnect Account?

ARO will only be able to pull your HSConnect account into the system if you have a single account that satisfies the training requirements. If you have multiple accounts, with IACUC-specific training modules completed between them, your account will not be recognized and you will not

have access to ARO. If you have multiple HSConnect accounts that are preventing ARO access, you should contact the Health Sciences Technical Support team by submitting a help request at their website or by calling the Help Desk at 412-648-2222.

Protocol Submssion

I am trying to start writing a new protocol, but I cannot find the Create IACUC Protocol button. Where is it?

Some UPMC employees and those who do not indicate the appropriate departmental affiliation on their HSConnect account will not have access to the Create IACUC Protocol button. This is due to security concerns, but if you contact the IACUC Office (412-383-2008) we can help you gain access.


Do PI’s Have to Complete the Protocol Smartform Themselves?

No, The PI can designate a Protocol Administrator to be an alternate point of contact with the IACUC for the PI's research group. This individual may read and edit the protocol form and submit some items to the IACUC office on behalf of the PI (though the PI must make the initial submission).

Keep in mind that the Protocol Administrator is not necessarily a member of the Study Team (he or she may be an administrator). If the Protocol Administrator will also participate in the procedures described in the protocol, you should list them in either the Study Team or Surgical Staff sections as well.


Can I designate more than one Protocol Administrator?

No. ARO only allows one individual to be designated as a Protocol Administrator.


What if the PI is Not a Full-Time Faculty Member?

Only full time faculty at the University of Pittsburgh may serve as PI on Pitt IACUC protocols. Postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students submitting applications as principal investigators must obtain sponsorship from an appropriate academic advisor.

If you have a pending faculty appointment, you will need to obtain a faculty sponsor and enter that person’s name in 4.0. After your appointment, the sponsor may be removed via a modification request.

Faculty sponsors take responsibility for all experimental studies performed pertaining to the protocol and agree to assure compliance with all federal regulations applicable to the research activities. The sponsor will be copied on all correspondence related to the protocol.


I am trying to add a member of my lab to my protocol, but the individual's name does not show up in the appropriate drop-down menu on the first page.

All staff listed on ARO protocols must complete the Research Integrity module and the Use of Laboratory Animals in  Research and Education module within the last three years. This ensures that all members of your team have completed the basic training required of all animal users at the University of Pittsburgh.

Note that ARO receives information from HSConnect nightly and uploads the information the following evening. As such, it could take up to 48 hours for your account to be activated.


My protocol requires a Scientific Merit Letter. Who Must Write this Letter?

For projects with internal funding, merit letter should be written by the Chair of the funding department (or the Chair’s supervisor, if the Chair is listed on the protocol).

For externally funded projects for which a merit letter is required, the Chair of the PI’s primary department is ideal, but letters from Chairs or Directors of Departments, Centers, etc... concerned with the specific research in the protocol are also appropriate.I am using CO2, which is not a drug, as a euthanasia agent. Should I list it as a drug anyway?


In my research I test the efficacy of certain drugs. Should I list them as drugs or chemical agents?

Drugs used as test agents should be listed as chemical agents.


Modification Submission

I am trying to submit a modification request, but I cannot find a link for the form on the protocol's home page. Where is it?

ARO only allows one modification request or renewal application to be created at a time. If you have created a modification or renewal and it is under review, you will need to either wait until the item currently under review has been approved or withdraw it from review. If you created an item but never submitted it, withdrawing it (with the Withdraw Request activity) should solve the problem.

Why am I Being Asked New Questions that Don’t Relate to My Mod Request?

Occasionally, the IACUC will vote to add new questions to the protocol smart form. To ensure that these issues are addressed on as many protocols as possible, as soon as possible, ARO will require you answer any new applicable questions when you try to submit a modification request. If this occurs, simply respond to the question(s) and note in the justification that it is a new question.

Annual Renewal Submissions

How Do I Delete Personnel During the Annual Renewal Process?

If personnel that no longer work on the protocol must be removed, enter their names in Question 5.0 on the Project Update page of the Annual Renewal smart form.

Note that you cannot add personnel using the Annual Renewal smart form. If you must add new personnel, submit a modification request after the annual renewal has been approved.

I am submitting an annual renewal application. How many animals have I used so far?

The IACUC office does not track animal usage. You should contact the DLAR for this information. The DLAR can be reached at 412-648-8950 or

Protocol Review Process

How do I Withdraw My Protocol from Review?

You may withdraw your protocol at any time before submission by clicking on the Withdraw Protocol Activity from the protocol's homepage.

If you would like to withdraw your protocol after submission, click the Request Withdrawal Activity and enter a reason in the pop up window. The assigned IACUC Coordinator will receive your request and withdraw the protocol, which will enter the Withdrawn State. Note that once a protocol has been withdrawn from review, it cannot reenter the review process.

Can I Submit Modification and Annual Renewals at the Same Time?

No. ARO can only handle one item (modification or renewal) at a time for any protocol. Please keep this mind when submitting items for review. When in doubt, submit your annual renewal application first, as these can usually be approved faster.

Can I Submit Multiple Modification Requests at a Time?

No. ARO can only manage one set of proposed changes at a time.

What if I Need a Modification Request Approved while Another Mod or Renewal is Under Review?

Contact the IACUC Coordinator handling the item under review. Depending on how far along it is in the review process, your best option may be to:

  • Wait until the item under review has been approved.
  • Withdraw the item under review so that the new item may be processed.

Keep in mind that it will never be possible to process two or more modifications for the same protocol at the same time.