The Chicago Branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (CBAALAS) is a non-profit educational organization of persons and institutions professionally concerned with the humane production, care, and study of laboratory animals and serves as a medium for the exchange of scientific information on laboratory animal care.
In 1946, Nathan R. Brewer (University of Chicago) and Arthur R. Rosenberg (Northwestern University) started to have meetings to discuss mutual problems. Between 1947 and 1949, Lester E. Fisher and Bennett J. Cohen (Northwestern University), Robert P. Litt and Elihu Bond (University of Illinois Medical School), and Robert J. Flynn (Argonne National Laboratory) met at Brewer's office monthly to discuss animal facility issues. This group initiated a series of lectures on laboratory animal care. These lectures were well attended by animal caretakers and technicians. The success of these meetings prompted the group to pursue the idea of forming a national organization. After formation of the national organization, called the Animal Care Panel, meetings were limited to caretakers and vendors for a period of time. In time, the Animal Care Panel was renamed the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
The Chicago Branch became an official Branch on September 28, 1961. Nate Brewer was the first president. By 1968, the leaders were Nate Brewer and John Rust (University of Chicago), Bob Flynn and Cal Poole (Argonne), William Doloway (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Bob Locke, Sr. (Hines VA and UIC). During that time, meetings were held in the cafeteria of the American Medical Association and later moved to the St. Regis Hotel. After a fire damaged the St. Regis Hotel, the meetings were held at the University of Chicago for several years; then moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago. Eventually the meeting site rotated to various participating institutions.
Today the Chicago Branch has a membership of approximately 250 members, including animal care technicians, veterinary technicians, veterinarians, facility managers, and vendor representatives. The Branch has an active schedule that includes monthly educational seminars, an annual meeting, and an annual awards banquet.