1. To study natural diseases of primates and techniques of importation conditioning, housing, and management, which improve the well-being and suitability of the research primate.
  2. To supply biological specimens to biomedical investigators.
  3. To disseminate findings of center-supported studies to the biomedical research community.

The primate centers have 190 core scientists who receive part or all of their salary and research support through the primate center grant. The core scientists, in turn, work with 924 collaborators, affiliates, or visiting scientists and have 276 graduate students. During 1994, they produced 1,200 scientific publications and books, and more than 450 are in press. These scientists are assisted by more than 1,000 support staff at the primate centers. All but one of the primate centers is directly affiliated with a university, but most of them are not located on the main campus of the affiliated institution.

When the primate center program began, each new center had an identifiable focus, which often was linked to a particular species of primate. As the centers have matured, there is increasing overlap among them in regard to the focus of their research. Despite this merging of some activities, each primate center still maintains some of its original orientation. Perhaps the major influences on the scientific programs of a primate center are the research interests of the director and core faculty, the research strengths of the institution, and the availability of funding for particular types of research.

Facilities and Programs

The Washington Regional Primate Research Center (WRPRC) is an integral part of the University of Washington research community. The central campus facility is part of the Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center in Seattle, which houses the schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and public health; several other research centers; and the university medical center. The 45,000-square-foot, three-story building, dedicated in 1964, is designed specifically for primate housing and research; it houses about 500 primates: baboons (Papio papio), and monkeys, primarily pigtailed and cynomologus macaques (Macaca nemestrina and Macaca fascicularis). In addition to conventional laboratories and associated facilities for animal housing, cage washing, food preparation, and veterinary care, the building contains fully equipped surgical and radiological suites for experimental and clinical use and an automated quantitative microscopy system. Additional features are facilities for covertly observing and recording the behaviors and social interactions of groups of nonhuman primates, as well as certified biological safety level 3

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