12:00 AM

Power loss results in deaths of rodents used in research

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State University officials are investigating the events that led up to a power outage Wednesday (7/12) night for six Medical Center buildings. The outage shut off air conditioning in some research areas leading to the deaths of 598 mice, 90 rats and one rabbit used in research.

"We're deeply concerned with the chain of events that led to the loss of these animals," said Douglas Kniss, senior associate vice president for research. "These animals were involved in very important medical research and now much of that work is lost."

In some cases, the loss of the animals represents nearly two years of research. Studies led by at least 21 OSU faculty are affected. "For the faculty and students engaged in this work, the death of these animals is devastating," Kniss said.

According to university officials, animals died in Graves Hall when the power failed and the environmental systems shut down in the rooms housing them. Some 5,100 research animals are routinely housed in that Graves Hall facility.

While a complete investigation is still ongoing, the power loss apparently affected Dodd, Davis, Graves, and Meiling halls, plus the Neuropsychiatry and University Clinic buildings.

No patient care areas at the Medical Center were affected.

When those six buildings lost electricity, backup generators in each building automatically started, but these provided only limited power for emergency needs. Air conditioning isn't supported by those emergency generators. Workers began rerouting power by 11:45 p.m. and all buildings were back online by 2 a.m. Thursday.