William King to lead U-M’s animal care, compliance programs

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William W. King has been appointed associate vice president for research in which he will help lead efforts to ensure that University of Michigan teams maintain the highest standards of animal welfare in the conduct of research and instruction.

His five-year appointment as associate vice president for research – animal care and use program, which includes newly expanded roles and responsibilities, was approved July 21 by the Board of Regents. The Animal Care and Use Program is overseen by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Medical School.

William W. King
William W. King

King joined U-M in 2018 as assistant vice president for research within OVPR, and he will continue in his dual roles as university attending veterinarian and executive director of the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine in the Medical School.

“The University of Michigan is home to one of the nation’s oldest and most recognized programs for laboratory animal medicine,” King said. “I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to support a research community of this size and prestige in answering important scientific questions through the compassionate and humane use of animals.”

The judicious, responsible use of animals in research spans a variety of fields — from medicine, dentistry and engineering to public health, kinesiology and sustainability — and has led to numerous scientific breakthroughs to improve both human and animal health.

These advancements would not be possible without the proper care of laboratory animals, King said, which includes a commitment to uphold the highest animal-welfare standards, along with adherence to all rules and regulations that govern the use of animals in research.

As associate vice president for research, King will work with the assistant vice president for research – animal program compliance oversight, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to provide strategic leadership and a shared vision for safeguarding animal welfare across U-M. King also will collaborate with the OVPR leadership team to ensure programmatic compliance across all aspects of the university research enterprise that involve the use of animals.

King has more than 30 years of experience in laboratory animal operations and management, which includes leadership positions at the University of Louisville and the four Veterans Administration medical centers in the greater Chicago area. He received doctoral degrees in veterinary medicine and veterinary medical science from Louisiana State University.

“When we are afforded the great privilege of working with animals to help solve some of society’s most complex challenges, our responsibility for conducting safe and ethical research is only amplified,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“Dr. King’s knowledge and experience in laboratory animal medicine plays a critical role in the development of institutional programs, policies and procedures to help ensure that all faculty, staff and students who work with animals do so with the utmost care and respect.”

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