WNPRC 2018 year-in-review newsletter

Neural stem cells grown from human embryonic stem cells in James Thomson's lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research in 2018. Jamie in his lab at the Primate Center in 2002. (Jeff Miller photo)

Neural stem cells grown from human embryonic stem cells in James Thomson’s lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research in 2018. Jamie in his lab at the Primate Center in 2002. (Jeff Miller photo)



Thank you, everyone, for another productive and rewarding year at the Primate Center! We have greatly enjoyed celebrating along with the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the whole world the 20th anniversary of the successful derivation and culture of human embryonic stem cells by James Thomson.

Meanwhile, even as stem cells were gathering much of the news media attention this year, other areas of science at the Primate Center were equally impressive. These included progress in research (below, clockwise from top left) on HIV, calorie restriction and aging, Parkinson’s disease, post-menopausal health, muriqui monkey conservation and Zika virus, to name a few. Please visit our 2018 News Archives to read more.

Research supported by the WNPRC resulted in at least 65 scientific journal articles in 2018.

We had some staff and student news to report as well. One shining example was when the National Primate Research Centers sent volunteers to Punta Santiago, Humacao, Puerto Rico to help with rebuilding efforts on Cayo Santiago after Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017. A team deployed in August included our own Ted Jones (left) and Justin Schmidt (second from left) from WNPRC Facilities Management and Shop Services. (Image courtesy of Project Monkey Island)

They and colleagues from the other NPRCs rebuilt the island’s rain collection roof and monkey health check corral. Research station staff had been transporting all of the monkeys’ fresh water by boat. They were transporting food as well because the station’s infrastructure was devastated and the hurricane had stripped the island of its vegetation. The rebuilding effort, called Project Monkey Island, is all about helping the people in the Punta Santiago community rebuild their lives, as well as helping the monkeys on Cayo Santiago.

On the public outreach front, we hosted 65 visiting school and community groups in 2018, bringing 12,676 people to campus (or we went to them) to enjoy our face-to-face and eyes-on, hands-on WNPRC outreach experiences. UW–Madison’s Campus Visit Program sent us back great reviews from our groups. We are always grateful to CVP for all their help with planning and logistics.

In an ongoing partnership, Amy Laufenberg (above), research program manager with Colony Management, along with her children, show residents and staff at the Madison Area Rehabilitation Center in Stoughton how to make shredded paper stuffed tubes for the Primate Center’s rhesus monkeys. The tubes are filled with treats for foraging later on. “The residents have been working on them once or twice per week. The staff says it’s a messy job, but everyone is really enjoying it.”

We post even more updates on our WNPRC Facebook page. You do not need to sign up for Facebook to view our public page. (Guess which post was one of the year’s most popular!)

Finally — drum roll, please –– Madison has been chosen as the site of the 42nd meeting of the American Society of Primatologists. The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and the University of Wisconsin–Madison will host. This is one not to miss, so please save the dates and we’ll see you in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin next August!

Jordana Lenon, Senior Editor and Outreach Specialist