Pathology Services

The Pathology Services Unit (PSU) is essential to nonhuman primate (NHP) colony health and research at the WNPRC. The PSU team consists of a dedicated, skilled team of three pathologists with ACVP and/or ACLAM board certification, a research program manager, and three research specialists. The Unit works with clinical veterinary staff to provide rapid diagnosis and effective monitoring and interpretation of acute and chronic conditions affecting colony animals as well as subjects assigned to research studies. It also has an integral role in research at the WNPRC, offering services including but not limited to: clinical pathology testing; cytology evaluation; surgical biopsy evaluation; gross post mortem examination, specialized sample collections; and histology with unbiased interpretation of lesions in reference to spontaneous disease, experimental questions, and research goals.

The PSU works closely with investigators to provide advice concerning protocol development, anatomy, disease pathogenesis, and the modification and creation of innovative procedures to answer research conundrums. Moreover, the unit’s outstanding services rapidly identify the presence and confounding effects of pathogens as well as unanticipated biologic responses in research studies and in the WNPRC primate colony.

The PSU is responsible for the collection, banking, and distribution of NHP samples through both the Nonhuman Primate Biological Materials Distribution core (NHPBMD) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Nonhuman Primate Tissue Bank. Tissues and biological samples are available to locally, nationally, and internationally located investigators for research and education.

The Nonhuman Primate Biological Materials Distribution (NHPBMD) Core services are provided cooperatively with the Scientific Protocol Implementation (SPI) unit and include prospective in-life and post-mortem sample collections from nonhuman primates housed at the WNPRC as well as access to a repository of banked tissues and biological samples spanning 30+ years.

In the case of post-mortem tissues, fees are charged for labor and supplies involved in collecting, processing, and shipping samples. For projects and programs that require tissues from a living animal, there are charges for short-term animal assignments and fees for labor and supplies. Shipment fees via FedEx and/or UPS are paid for by the recipient, or local investigators may pick up samples at the WNPRC on the day of collection.

If you have questions about the NHPBMD Core, please send a message to the link below.

If you wish to register with the NHPBMD Core to receive tissues and/or biological samples, please request an enrollment packet via the link below. Once the enrollment forms have been received, they will be reviewed. Approved investigators will receive a second set of documents that will include an estimate for services and the terms and conditions for service.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Nonhuman Primate Tissue Bank is a repository of tissue under contractual arrangement with the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. Tissues in the bank are collected primarily from aged nonhuman primates as well as some young and middle-aged nonhuman primates and are available to investigators at academic and nonprofit research institutions who are engaged in funded research on aging. These samples are provided at no cost to investigators approved by the NIA. Tissues are available as fresh frozen (stored at -80 degrees Celsius), slides from fixed blocks, and fresh frozen in OCT medium.


Clinical pathology services include:

  • Hematology, chemistry, cardiac markers, parasitology, urinalysis, virology/serology, microbiology, and cytology evaluations
  • Sample processing for research and diagnostic assays
  • Shipment of samples including infectious substances and dry ice
  • Ad Hoc Consultations

Pathology services include:

  • Gross post-mortem examinations, tissue perfusions, and specialized dissections and sampling
  • Histology with interpretation and correlation of gross and histologic changes
  • Surgical biopsy and histology with interpretation and correlation of gross and histologic changes
  • Imaging services for gross and histologic samples

Academic services include:

  • Ad Hoc Diagnostic consultations
  • Tissue banking protocol consultation
  • Collaborative scientific input for grant and protocol preparation


HEATHER SIMMONS, DVM, DACVP Veterinary Pathologist II – Unit Head (608) 263-3559 Send email to Dr. Simmons
PUJA BASU, DVM, MS, PHD, DACVP Veterinary Pathologist I (608) 263-3559 Send email to Dr. Basu
JENNIFER HAYES, BS Research Program Manager (608) 263-3559 Send email to Jennifer Hayes
CHRIS HUFFMAN, BA, LAT Research Specialist (608) 263-3559 Send email to Chris Huffman
NICOLE OLDENBURGER, BS, CVT Research Specialist (608) 263-3559 Send email to Nicole Riddle
ABIGAIL BRADFORD, BS, ALAT Research Specialist (608) 263-3559 Send email to Abigail Bradford


  • What services are available through the Pathology Services Unit? The PSU is able to provide comprehensive clinical pathology and anatomic pathology support for nonhuman primate colonies and research projects. This is done with coordination between the many service units (SPI, Veterinary Services, Animal Care, Assay Services, Virology, etc.) within a National Primate Research Center. The PSU and SPI can provide nonhuman primate blood and tissue specimens in vivo, in vivo specimens followed by coordinated post-mortem collections, post-mortem sample collections, and access to a repository of banked samples.
  • What specific clinical pathology tests are available and how do we submit samples? The list of currently available tests is modified to meet clinical and research needs. Send an email to Pathology Services for a list of currently available tests as well as submission instructions. Price estimates for testing are available upon request.
  • How much does a necropsy cost?  Each necropsy and tissue collection is tailored to the specific needs and goals of the project and investigator, and the cost of the necropsy will vary depending on these needs. PSU staff are available to meet with investigators during all phases of research projects from proposal preparation and grant planning to the writing and editing of manuscripts. Contact us for more information.
  • Why do I need to provide a necropsy collection list when my planned study does not include terminal procedures? The PSU works closely with SPI and the Veterinary Services staff to ensure successful research outcomes. Unfortunately, research in animals often involves adapting to unexpected outcomes. By providing a necropsy collection list to before beginning the project, you give us the opportunity to minimize the negative impact of an unexpected event on your research.
  • What specializations do Pathology personnel have? Specific procedures for support of research are available in research areas related to Neuroscience, Infectious diseases, Aging and Metabolism, and Regenerative Medicine and Reproduction but are available in areas of other general biomedical programs as well.
  • Whom do I contact about utilizing Pathology Services, NHPBMD, and NIA tissue bank resources? Send an email to Pathology Services.

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