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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
A legacy of life-saving research and humane animal care

Pathology Services

Pathology Services lab members
The Pathology Unit is essential to nonhuman primate (NHP) colony health and research at the WNPRC. It is led by a board certified veterinary pathologist with extensive experience with NHP. 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 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 the experimental questions and goals.

WNPRC pathologists and technicians work 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 outstanding services provided by the Pathology Unit prevent and rapidly identify the presence and confounding effects of pathogens and unanticipated biologic responses in research studies and in the primate colony.

The Pathology Unit 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 at nominal costs.

The Nonhuman Primate Biological Materials Distribution core (NHPBMD) services are provided in cooperation with the Scientific Protocol Implementation (SPI) unit and include prospective ante 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 20+ years.

In the case of post-mortem tissues, we charge for labor and preparation of materials for shipping. For projects and programs that require tissues from a living animal, we charge for short-term animal assignments, labor, and preparation of materials for shipping. 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 collected primarily from aged nonhuman primates as well as some young and middle-aged nonhuman primates under contractual arrangement with the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. Tissues are available to investigators at academic and nonprofit research institutions who are engaged in funded research on aging. Tissues are available as fresh frozen (stored at -80 degrees Celsius), fixed blocks, slides from fixed blocks, and fresh frozen in OCT medium.

Services Supported

  • Provide a full range of clinical pathology services including hematology, chemistry, glycosylated hemoglobin, parasitology, urinalysis, virology, and microbiology.
  • Provide surgical biopsy and cytology evaluations.
  • Provide high quality support for the pathology portions of research protocols.
  • Perform specialized tissue perfusions.
  • Perform gross post-mortem examinations with specialized sampling.
  • Perform histology with interpretation and correlation of gross and histologic changes.
  • Provide microscopic and gross imaging services for investigators and clinicians.
  • Provide collaborative scientific input of pathology results for research manuscript preparation.

Key Personnel

Heather Simmons, DVM, DACVP Veterinary Pathologist – Unit Head (608) 265-8279 Send email to Dr. Simmons
Andres Mejia, DVM, MS, DACLAM Veterinary Pathologist (608) 890-4601 Send email to Dr. Mejia
Marina Emborg, MD, PhD Co-Investigator, Associate Professor e-mail only Send email to Dr. Emborg
Jennifer Hayes, B.S. Associate Health Technologist (608) 263-3559 Send email to Jennifer Hayes

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What services are available through the Pathology Unit? The Pathology unit is able to provide comprehensive clinical pathology and pathology support for nonhuman primate 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 Pathology unit 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.
  • How much does a necropsy cost? The Pathology unit does not publish prices on the web due to our commitment to providing optimal samples for research needs. Each necropsy and tissue collection is tailored to the specific needs and goals of the project and investigator. Pathologists are available to meet with investigators during all phases of research projects from proposal and grant planning to writing and editing of manuscripts.
  • Why do I need to provide a necropsy collection list when my planned study does not include terminal procedures? The Pathology unit works closely with SPI and the Clinical veterinary staff to ensure successful research outcomes. Unfortunately, research in animals often involves adapting to unexpected outcomes. By providing a necropsy collection list to us prior to the beginning of 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.
  • Who do I contact about utilizing Pathology, NHPBMD, and NIA tissue bank resources? Send email to Pathology Services.