Bulk Dry Heat Sterilizer in Zeigler Building at UAB
UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) has experienced rapid research growth and currently ranks
among the top 25 universities nationally in NIH funding. This proposal requests funding to purchase a bulk dry
heat sterilizer to serve the vivarium in the Zeigler Building, located in the heart of UAB’s biomedical research
campus. Serving the 71 animal researchers based in the Zeigler vivarium, it will enable point-of-use
sterilization and mitigate risk of contamination to pre-sterilized caging transported by truck from a different
campus building. The equipment will create a modernized, green, and more rigorous research environment for
the science conducted in Zeigler, UAB’s second-largest vivarium, plus the countless research programs we
expect to be based in Zeigler in the decades to come.
UAB uses 3 centralized cage-wash facilities to serve 12 campus vivariums. This strategy offers efficient
logistics to clean and sterilize large volumes of soiled cages but impacts scientific rigor because sterilized
cages are transported by truck from a cage-wash and steam-powered autoclave facility in a different building
back to Zeigler. The purchase of this sterilizer will mitigate contamination risk from that transport, modernize
facilities and meet sustainability goals.
The scientific innovation occurring in Zeigler’s vivarium is wide-ranging and impressive. Quantitatively,
the sterilizer will serve 71 Principal Investigators from 17 academic departments, 58 of them NIH-funded with
>$28M in awards in the current fiscal year. The vivarium houses about 4500 cages, mostly mice and rats but
also including ferrets, frogs, and chinchillas. Examples of pioneering science occurring in the vivarium include
efforts to treat muscular dystrophy, prevent “chemobrain”, understand the effect of high fructose corn syrup on
neurological functioning, examine epigenetic effects on memory, determine whether shiftwork impacts
cardiovascular health, and develop drugs to heal cartilage.
Long-term maintenance of the equipment will be managed by UAB’s Animal Resources Program and
overseen by an external oversight board. Operation will be conducted by trained Animal Resources Program
In summary, the proposed bulk heat sterilizer will support the scientific needs of UAB’s large and
growing research portfolio, offer substantial modernization of UAB’s equipment, and provide a green-
technology solution consistent with UAB’s sustainability goals.