All rodent facilities in the BST3, including the PPC, are maintained Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) to prevent the introduction of murine pathogens. To enable the PPC staff to maintain SPF conditions, all individuals using the facility are asked to adhere to specific policies and procedures associated with the PPC. 

Failure to comply with the PPC policies and SOPs will be documented and, if applicable, registered with the DLAR or IACUC. It may lead to formal reprimands and loss of access to the PPC facility.  

Access Policy

Please submit a New User Registration form. Next, contact bst3vettech@dlar.pitt.edu to schedule an orientation and obtain access to the BST3 animal facility. Once completed, PPC staff will reach out to you and schedule an orientation of the PPC testing suites on the 5th and 6th floors. 

Standard Operating Procedure: Animal Transport

PPC users are expected to adhere to the DLAR guidance on microisolator technique. Further information on microisolator technique may be found at https://web.dlar.pitt.edu/Dlar/Resources/GuidanceDocuments.


  1. Any animals should be transported in their home cages from their DLAR housing room to the PPC testing room by cart or rolling rack. Cages should not be carried by hand. The entire surface of your transport cart should be cleaned with Rescue solution prior to placing any cages on the cart. Your transport should roll freely and smoothly to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the animals. Use of BSL-2 level animals should be discussed with PPC staff prior to use (see BSL-2 tab below).
  2. The micro-isolator lids should be kept on top of cages while in transit between rooms. Space is available in the testing room for removing animals from their cages. Never place micro-isolator cages on the floor.
  3. During acclimation and when removing animals from cages, set the micro-isolator lid aside on a clean disinfected working surface. Keep the wire hopper in place when not handling animals and set it aside on a disinfected surface while removing animals. Only handle a single cage at a time and spray your gloves with Peroxigard or 70% Ethanol between cages.
  4. When animals have been returned to their cages, reset the wire lids and micro-isolator lids on the cages.
  5. Return animals in their micro-isolator cages to their DLAR housing room by cart.

Standard Operating Procedure: Testing Room Use

This SOP serves to minimize any negative impact of the PPC environment on user’s behavioral studies, as well as maintaining the biosecurity of user animal colonies. It is the responsibility of PPC users to follow the procedures outlined in this SOP. 


  1. Rodents are sensitive to the ambient noise level. To minimize this effect on data collection, please make every effort to minimize noise associated with your use of the PPC (e.g. do not use headphones, do not talk louder than a whisper, and ensure phones are on silent or vibrate). We will have white noise generators placed in the testing rooms and adjacent hallways to mitigate unwanted noise in the PPC. Please do not turn off or alter the settings of the white noise generators without consulting PPC Staff first. 
  2. “Experiment in Progress” signage is posted on every testing room door. Each time you use the room, you must fill out the current date as well as the time your scheduled block(s) end(s) for that testing room.
  3. All testing equipment and surfaces with which animals come into contact must be wiped thoroughly with 70% ethanol  before and after each animal use, and again with Peroxigard once the user has completed all testing. More details can be found in the specific testing guides available in each testing room.
  4. After testing, the floor of the testing room must be swept clean. A broom and dustpan are provided in each room.
  5. Users must remove their trash from the testing room after testing is completed and place it in the larger grey trash bin, located in the adjacent hallway, for PPC staff to remove from the facility.
  6. If proper cleaning procedures are not followed and PPC staff are required to clean the room after use, an $80 cleaning fee will be assessed. 

Standard Operating Procedure: Computer Use

PPC computers are solely for the purpose of operating PPC equipment, performing data acquisition, and for data analysis.

It is the responsibility of anyone using computers in the PPC facility to follow the procedures outlined here. If you experience any computer issues while testing, please contact PPC staff at bst3ppc@pitt.edu.


  1. Computers should be left on and only shut down for updates by the PPC staff. Computers are password protected using Pitt Passport logins or a user login set by PPC staff. Please remember to log out after your session.
  2. Your software program of interest should already be loaded and available on the relevant computer. Please do not attempt to alter any program or system files. If changes to the system or programs are necessary please contact PPC staff at bst3ppc@pitt.edu.
  3. We strongly recommend you bring a data storage device with you (USB drive or portable hard drive) to store your data files. Copy your data files to your storage device at the end of each testing session. Please note that the PPC reserves the right to delete all data files from any PPC computer, and will do so periodically to ensure space on the hard drive. Some computers are equipped with a SATA large capacity hard drive (D: drive) as well as a solid-state drive (C: drive) for programs. Please save any data files only to the D: drive.
  4. Video containing live images of animals must remain on PPC in-house computers only, unless otherwise stated in your approved IACUC protocol. 
  5. The computer keyboards and mouse are shared-use surfaces. They must be wiped thoroughly with Peroxigard solution at the end of your testing session.

Standard Operating Procedure: Import of Equipment

As a core research facility, equipment within the PPC is maintained by and administrated by PPC staff. Outside equipment may not be brought into the PPC, and PPC testing rooms are for the express purpose of utilizing PPC maintained equipment. 


  1. Use of outside equipment may only be considered in rare circumstances when highly specialized equipment is necessary, or a solution cannot be found utilizing PPC resources.
  2. You MUST contact PPC staff prior to bringing ANY outside equipment into the PPC space. PPC staff will determine whether the equipment can be accommodated or if a suitable alternative exists for purchase by the PPC.
  3. Outside equipment brought into the PPC and not approved by PPC staff will be immediately relocated outside of PPC testing rooms

Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) Animal Usage Restriction

 BSL-2 and higher animals MAY NOT be brought into the PPC under any circumstances. If your behavior studies require the use of BSL-2 or higher animals, please contact bst3ppc@pitt.edu to discuss any possible accommodations.