Following two recent monkey deaths at Harvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center, the interim director of the research facility announced his resignation Thursday morning in an email to people associated with NEPRC.
Dean of the Medical School Jeffrey S. Flier wrote in an email that Medical School professor Frederick Wang had stepped down from his post as interim director to devote more time to his laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Wang was appointed interim director in September. Since then, the NEPRC has received multiple citations from the United States Department of Agriculture—most recently for the death of a cotton-top tamarin monkey on Sunday. The Boston Globe reported that the monkey’s cage did not contain a water bottle, which may have been a factor in the animal’s death.
In December, a squirrel monkey died from dehydration at the NEPRC.
These two deaths bring the total number of primate deaths in Harvard research facilities to five in the past 19 months.
Earlier this week, Flier announced that experimentation at the NEPRC would halt indefinitely until a corrective plan is set in place.
University President Drew G. Faust said in a statement on Thursday that she was “dismayed” to learn about the animals’ deaths.
“This situation is unacceptable,” Faust said. “When I was notified of developments at the primate center over the summer, I found them troubling and fully supported a thorough review of procedures and implementation of reforms.”
As a result of the deaths, Faust added, she has asked for weekly progress reports to monitor primate research and record any difficulties encountered.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently sent a letter to the National Institute of Health demanding that the government agency cease funding research at the NEPRC.
Flier wrote in an email to the NEPRC community that he was “enormously grateful” for the contributions Wang made to the NEPRC during his six-month tenure.
He wrote that Wang “demonstrated superb leadership, establishing numerous procedures and practices to address issues that he personally identified to strengthen not just animal care, but also administration and management.” Flier wrote that he hopes to announce Wang’s successor soon.
—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Investigation Faults HMS Animal Research FacilityA Harvard Medical School facility has received five citations from the United States Department of Agriculture, including for the accidental death of a second primate.
Two Monkeys Die At HMS Research CenterTwo monkeys have died at the Harvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center in the past three months, resulting in the suspension of all new experiments at the Center indefinitely.
No More Monkey BusinessWhile the circumstances surrounding the recent primate deaths are still somewhat unclear, it is indisputable that something is not working well at New England Primate Research Center.
USDA Cites Harvard Center for Non-Compliance with Federal LawThe United States Department of Agriculture has recently cited Harvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center for non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, following the death of a cotton-top tamarin monkey in February.
Johnson Named Interim Director of Primate Research CenterAssociate professor of medicine R. Paul Johnson has been appointed the new interim director of the New England Primate Research Center after Frederick Wang resigned following the death of four primates in the Harvard Medical School laboratories.
HMS To Close Primate Research CenterHarvard Medical School’s New England Primate Research Center will largely discontinue its operations by 2015, the Medical School announced Tuesday.