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The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center is one of eight federally supported (NIH-NCRR) National Primate Research Centers and the only one in the Midwest. More than 250 center scientists, through competitive grants, conduct research in primate biology with relevance to human and animal health.

The Primate Center is based in the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Center has strong research and teaching links to the UW Schools or Colleges of Medicine, Letters and Science, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine.

WNPRC Mission statement:

Our mission is to increase our understanding of basic primate biology and to improve human health and quality of life through research. To accomplish this, the WNPRC:

  • Helps discover treatments, preventions and cures for human disease.
  • Generates new knowledge of primate biology, from the molecular and whole animal levels to the understanding of primate ecosystems.
  • Facilitates research progress by providing expertise, resources and training to scientists worldwide.
  • Collects primate information and disseminates to the research community and to the public.

Discoveries Enabled by Primate Center Resources:

  • Embryonic stem cell culture and differentiation. (Monkey ES cells from WNPRC distributed worldwide.)
  • Beneficial effects of controlled dietary restriction on primate health.
  • New therapies for glaucoma and presbyopia.
  • How HIV infects host and escapes immune system. (Knowledge used to develop current SIV therapies.)
  • Risk factors for endometriosis.
  • Causes of polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Better enrichment, veterinary care for captive primates. (Diseases diagnosed and new treatments found.)
  • Neuroendocrine triggers of puberty. (Knowledge useful for diagnosing and treating puberty disorders.)
  • Improved hormone analysis in wild monkeys. (Knowledge for monitoring captive and wild endangered primates.)
  • Understanding primate family dynamics (Basic knowledge of primates, with insight into human family dynamics.)
  • Understanding emotion. (Better treatments for psychological disorders.)
  • Requirements for early pregnancy success (Aims to improve natural fertility and learn causes of miscarriage.)
  • Improved IVF techniques (World's first IVF monkey born in 1984.)
  • Nature of taste in primates. (Development of new, natural sweetener.)

In addition, we must note the discovery of the Rh factor, the critical blood typing knowledge now used universally for safe blood transfusions. (1940s, with UW-Madison rhesus monkeys, pre-Primate Center era.) Center Director and Contact:

Joseph W. Kemnitz, Ph.D., Director
1220 Capitol Court
Madison, WI 53715-1299
Phone: (608) 263-3500
Fax: (608) 265-2067