Research environment

In the Oulu Laboratory Animal Centre, there are both animal premises as well as operational and laboratory premises for researchers.

Animal and operational premises in the Oulu Laboratory Animal Centre

  • The mice are produced and maintained in the mice barrier, which is a closed animal department. There is some experimental activity in the barrier.
  • Research activity has been focused to the research department.
  • There are several operational and laboratory premises in the research department that the researchers can reserve for their own use.
  • Rodents may be isolated to the quarantine unit, isolators or IVCs when needed.

The Department of Experimental surgery offers possibilities for experimental activity with large laboratory animals.

The doors to the Oulu Laboratory Animal Centre are always locked. Entering and leaving OULAC is monitored by recorded video surveillance. Motion detectors monitor the premises outside working hours.

An access control ID (electronic key) is needed for moving within the unit, with the necessary access rights registered. The access rights must be applied for in the OULAC, and they are admitted when the applicant has received orientation for working in the unit.

Laboratories, equipment and their booking

Booking laboratory room and equipment

Researchers may reserve a laboratory space, an isoflurane anaesthesia device, IVC-cages or an isolator.

  • The laboratory space is booked through the booking list on the door of the room or in the booking log
  • The isoflurane anaesthesia device will be booked in the booking log in the laboratory
  • Need for using the IVC-cages should be negotiated with the research technician
  • Need for using the isolator should be negotiated with the research technician

Laboratories and procedure rooms

It is possible to perform procedures on small rodents and process the samples in the large laboratory space in OULAC. There is a laminar flow cabinet in the space.

Experimental procedures on small rodents can be performed in the procedure rooms. There are two isoflurane anaesthesia devices for small rodents.

Quarantine unit

The quarantine unit is a closed area with restricted personnel traffic. In this department, such mice and rats that cannot be brought into the research unit due to their microbiological quality, are maintained in IVCs or isolators. The unit has two animal rooms and a laboratory room with a laminar flow cabinet.

Strains of mice waiting for rederivation by embryo transfer are kept in the quarantine unit, and it is also possible to perform short-term animal experiments there.

The need for maintaining animals in the quarantine unit is decided with the veterinarian and the research technician when planning animal import.

Individually ventilated cages

Individually ventilated cages is a system, where every cage has own ventilation and the cage lid is covered with the hepa-filter. The air pressure in IVCs is kept positive for clean rodents, and negative for contaminated animals. The cage change is performed under the laminar change station and the animals are not in contact with the ordinary room air. It is possible to keep animals with different microbiological quality, within the same IVC system.

There are some IVCs in the research unit, for the use of researchers. IVC offers a possibility to use the animals under experiments in the conventional unit, in the similar microbiological level as in the barrier. It is advisable to keep the immunodeficient animals in IVCs.

The need for maintaining animals in the quarantine unit is decided with the veterinarian and the research technician when planning animal import.


An isolator is a space confined from an external space where both clean rodents (positive pressure isolator) and contaminated rodents (negative pressure isolator) can be maintained. The supply and exhaust air is hepa-filtered and traffic of goods is conducted through a sealable gate. There is no direct contact with the animals.

OULAC has one isolator in use. For example, immune-deficient mice or mice waiting for embryo transfer are maintained in the isolators.

The need for using the isolator is decided with the veterinarian and the research technician when planning animal import and experiments.


Environmental conditions and care of the animals

The environmental conditions of the animal facilities are monitored daily. The temperature and humidity are measured every day and air-conditioning is monitored continuously.

Small rodents are usually held in cages and large laboratory animals in pens with a solid floor. The minimum requirements for the area per one animal or group of animals are set in the legislation.

At OULAC, mice and rats live in solid bottom plastic cages with a layer of bedding on the bottom.

Pigs are kept in floor pens with a shelter-box. Sheep are kept either in smaller pens as pairs or in a combined fold as a flock.

An integral part of the animal well-being programme at OULAC is that the animals are offered spaces which clearly exceed the minimum requirements.

Waste management