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Director: Prof. Dr. Stefan Treue (Scientific Director), Michael Lankeit (AdministrativeDirector)
Mission: The function and services of the DPZ concentrate on biological and biomedical research with primates, comprising topics which may result in conclusions concerning human physiology and behavior. The DPZ is also dedicated to the preservation of nonhuman primates by improving methods for the management and breeding of animals in captivity.
Principal Research Programs: The service facilities of the DPZ are concentrated in the the Department Veterinary Medicine & Primate Husbandry. All aspects of animal care and veterinary services are considered to improve animal welfare. The research of the Division is focussed on infectious pathology of the gastrointestinal tract with special emphasis to SIV infection. A tumor registry for nonhuman primates collects all availabe informations and tissue materials. Research at the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at understanding the neural basis of visual perception. The focus of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory is the processing of sensory information in the central nervous system and the influence of cognitive factors on these processes. The model system we have concentrated on for our research is the highly developed ability to process visual motion information in higher primates.The work of the Department of Reproductive Biology aims at a better understanding of factors limiting fertility in primates and at improving and supporting the breeding of rare and endangered species. Key areas of research include i) the endocrine, cellular, and molecular basis for follicular development and corpus luteum function, ii) in vitro maturation and storage of gametes and iii) non- invasive reproductive assessment. The work of the Department of Neurobiology centres around the questions which brain structures are involved in vocalization, how vocalizations are decoded in the auditory system and which role learning plays in the development ofmonkey calls. A second line of investigation deals with the central nervous effects of psychosocial stress. The main field of research of the Department of Virology and Immunology focuses on primate retroviruses, in particular the immunodeficiency disease AIDS. The aim is to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of these viruses as well as finding new approaches to vaccines and therapy. Further research activities concentrate on the development of diagnostics for human neurodegenerative diseases and on the search for new hepatitis viruses as causative agents for acute and chronic liver disease. The Department of Ecology and Ethology studies i) the influence of naturalresources on social systems of different primate species, ii) the ethological, physiological and genetic basis of acoustical communication in tree shrews and primates, iii) the development of national and international breeding programs, iv) the structure of primate communities in Madagascar and evolution of social behavior. Three main topics are worked on in the Primate Genetics Group : i) molecular data are generated to infer the phylogenetic relationships between different extant primate taxa.ii) mitochondrial DNA and nuclear tandem repetitive DNA systems are used as markers to analyze primate social systems, kinship relationships, genetic structuring and distances of different primate taxa. Another research interest is the (evolutionary) analysis of diversity generation at tandem repetitive loci. iii) Finally, MHC class II genes of the rhesus monkey are studied to make inferences about the selection forces maintaining MHC diversity, the influence of the MHC on fitness, reproductive behaviour and the significance of MHC genes for the pathogenesis of AIDS. v) pathology of the primates' immune system, of the respiratory and gastro-intestinal tract and their alterations due to SIV infection, as well as vi) the cloning and sequencing of MHC class I and II antigens of rhesus monkeys.
Training Opportunities: The DPZ offers comprehensive training for primate animal keepers and laboratory technicians. It offers its facilities to students and external guest scientists affiliated to existing research units for a limited period of time. A broad spectrum of methods is at their disposal: Autoradiographic receptor analysis, hormone immunoassays, digital image processing, cryopreservation and in vitro gamete-handling, immunohistochemistry, real-time ultrasonography, electron microscopy, stereotactic operating methods and extracellular single-unit recording as well as facilities for virological and cell biological examinations. The DPZ operates a S3 biological safety laboratory and respective animal housing facilities.
Number of Staff: 208
Associated Field Sites: Iquitos (Peru), Program focus: ecology and behavior of tamarins; Kirindy, near Morondava (Madagascar), Program focus: ecology and behavior of lemurs.
Supported Species: 622 Callithrix jacchus (common marmoset), 51 Macaca fascicularis (long-tailed macaque), 428 Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaque), 18 Papio hamadryas (hamadryas baboon), 31 Saguinus fuscicollis (saddleback tamarin), 39 Saguinus oedipus (cotton-top tamarin), 64 Saimiri sciureus (common squirrel monkey)
Publications: "Primate Report" (quarterly, includes the Annual Scientific Report), "DPZ-aktuell" (quarterly).
Last Updated: 2002-04-18
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