Tulane Primate Center Thrives and Grows

October 19, 2005

Fran Simon
Phone: 504.858.3833

NEW ORLEANS The Tulane National Primate Research Center isn't just surviving, it's thriving. The center received notice that the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health awarded two grants of $4 million each for new construction and expansion of the current breeding facility.

In addition, the primate center received more than $1.6 million to support research training in experimental medicine and pathology to prepare veterinarians for careers in biomedical research. The grant proposals were submitted before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. The first facility grant will fund construction of a facility that will house monkeys assigned to a variety of research studies and state-of-the-art nursery facilities for infant monkeys, taking into account their unique social requirements.

The new housing and procedure areas will replace existing square footage in the 40-year-old facility that contains both laboratory and animal housing. The existing animal housing space will be renovated eventually into laboratory space using other funds.

The new facility will be located on the Covington, La. campus according to the recently completed master plan and will functionally separate animal areas from laboratory areas, addressing security, access and biosafety issues that currently exist with the commingling of laboratory spaces and animal housing, says Andrew Lackner, director of the primate center.

The second grant funds a plan to create a national nonhuman primate breeding colony resource that will be built on the Covington campus of the Tulane National Primate Research Center. Primates bred from this national resource will be used to accommodate the increasing demand for these animals.

Animals from this breeding resource will be used for ongoing NIH-funded research such as AIDS and for future biodefense research needs associated with the Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Improvements to land currently owned by Tulane University will include utilities, roadways, drainage, security, and fencing.

In addition to corral housing for animals, buildings will be constructed for staging and quarantine of animals as they are received from or shipped to other facilities.

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