Excellence in Research Animal Care & Use Awards Program

Laboratory technician holding small black mouse

Established in 2019, the goal of this awards program is to celebrate staff excellence in the humane care and use of animals in research within the University of Michigan (U-M) Animal Care & Use Program and the U-M animal research community.

Two awards are distributed each year to one member of each of the following:

Award recipients receive an honorarium, commemorative plaque, and recognition across the entire U-M research enterprise.

Criteria for Consideration

Eligible nominees must meet at least ONE of the following criteria:

Blue award iconExcellence in Animal Welfare —
The nominees should demonstrate, through their actions, concern and compassion for laboratory animals and be advocates for the welfare of animals involved in laboratory research.


Blue award iconExcellence in Outreach and Education 
The nominees should make specific and notable contributions to the education and/or mentorship of members of the animal research community and/or the general public in a manner which promotes the field of animal research.


Blue award iconExcellence in Innovation and Collaboration —
The nominees should engage in cross-disciplinary partnership to facilitate creative and data-driven refinement of research animal care and use practices.

Additional Details

  • Current U-M students (undergraduate or graduate) and staff with a minimum of one year of institutional service in animal care and/or use*
  • Must be a current U-M employee at the time of award selection

Please note: this excludes AFSCME, temporary students and staff, and all faculty.

Nomination packets must include:

  • Completed nomination form in the Animal Care & Use Program's InfoReady Review website, which requires a narrative (minimum 250 words) describing, in reasonable detail, the nominee's contributions related to the selected criteria described above
  • At least one, but not more than three, letters of support detailing the specific contributions to excellence made by the nominee. Letters of support must not be more than a single-typed page in length
  • Deadline for nominations: Friday, March 1, 2024 at 5:00 PM EST

Previous Award Winners

Renee Jehmlich, 2023 Animal Care & Use Program Excellence in Research Animal Care & Use Award WinnerRenee Jehmlich, an Animal Care Supervisor in the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, was named winner of the 2023 Animal Care & Use Program Excellence in Animal Care & Use Award.

Renee collaborates with researchers across campus on a variety of studies and helps ensure animal welfare by providing daily husbandry care and health monitoring to all animals in her assigned locations. 

Dr. Zhi “Elena” Zhang, a close collaborator with Renee stated that, “[Renee] consistently demonstrates exemplary excellence in animal welfare through her actions, concern, and compassion for laboratory animals involved in research. She always performs thorough animal health examinations and assures that the animals receive high-quality care and humane treatment. Her support not only promotes animal welfare but also ensures the quality of animal research.”

Renee also manages the Animal/Rodent Redistribution Program, which aims to reduce the number of animals used in research by re-distributing naïve animals to different U-M investigators.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, Renee, and thank you for all that you do to support the U-M research community and the animals entrusted to our care! 

Eric Kennedy, 2023 Research Community Excellence in Research Animal Care & Use Award Winner​Eric Kennedy, a Senior Animal Technician and Lab Manager for both Dr. Timothy Bruns and Dr. Cindy Chestek’s laboratories in the Biomedical Engineering Department,  received the 2023 Research Community Excellence in Animal Care & Use Award.

Working alongside Dr. Bruns, Eric investigates new methods for modulating and monitoring bladder function toward translational technologies to restore human health.

Eric was specifically nominated for his work with Dr. Bruns’ laboratory for his willingness to collaborate with ULAM Faculty Veterinarians and staff to further improve animal handling techniques to minimize animal stress and ensure the highest standards of care. Eric also provides training for other laboratory members on proper animal handling and monitoring procedures to support animals throughout all stages of various complex studies.

Dr. Bruns praised Eric’s diligence and care saying, “Eric works with the rest of our research team to make sure all of our animals are well taken care of – including coming in on nights and weekends to check animal health.”

Thank you for your commitment to compassionate and humane animal care, Eric. We are proud to recognize your many efforts! 

Hadrian Kinnear, Excellence in Research Animal Care & Use Award WinnerHadrian Kinnear, a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program, was named the recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Research Animal Care & Use Award in 2019.

Working alongside Dr. Ariella Shikanov from the Biomedical Engineering Department, Hadrian studies the reproductive consequences of testosterone administration for female-to-male gender transition.

He has also collaborated with experts in Obstetrics & Gynecology to turn a simple idea into a robust and well-refined animal model, which led to his nomination for this award.

Hadrian also serves as a peer mentor for his fellow graduate students who have said, “Hadrian has gone above and beyond teaching me and others in the lab… he ensures that everyone he trains understands why we do certain steps and always puts the health of the animal(s) first. He is always ready to assist when evaluating the best way to do a procedure or evaluating an animal’s behavior, which is an invaluable asset to our lab.”

Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved award, Hadrian!


Questions about this award program should be directed to ULAM-Animal-Care-Excellence-Award@umich.edu.