September 1, 1997
The Tulane Regional Primate Research Center broke ground for a new building for AIDS and gene-therapy research on Aug. 26. The new building, funded by a $1-million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources and $1.5 million from the medical center, will house 14,000 square feet of laboratories and animal housing, says Peter Gerone, director of the primate center and acting director of Tulane's Center for Gene Therapy and Human Genetics.
"With this building, we will be able to have some rooms for small animals below the primates," Gerone says. "Even though we work primarily with monkeys, this kind of research requires that you have rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other animals for preparing reagents and things like that."
Gerone anticipates that the building will be finished by September 1998. Meanwhile, he will continue to head a search committee to find a permanent director of the gene therapy center, which was formed in late 1995. "We have a lot of good candidates and are interviewing three of them now," he says. "We're not under the gun, but we hope to have a decision by the end of the year."
Although some of the gene-therapy research will occur at the primate center, Gerone expects that the center's headquarters will be located on the downtown campus, most likely in the J. Bennett Johnston Health and Environmental Research Building.
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