The head of the Harvard University-run New England Primate Research Center in Southborough has resigned amid scrutiny over the deaths of several monkeys at the facility, and federal authorities are now investigating the matter.
In a brief email to his colleagues, Dr. Fred Wang writes that he believes the center has made great progress, and that he is honored to have served as interim director for the past six months.
He makes no mention of the controversy surrounding the center, where four monkeys have died in less than two years, three of them during Wang's brief leadership. The most recent death came on Sunday and is being blamed on a lack of water in the monkey's cage.
Wang had been hired to help reverse systemic problems at the center, which is one of eight primate research facilities around the country. In a letter to employees, Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier says Wang established practices to strengthen animal care and showed "heartfelt commitment to the well-being of the primates."
To discuss what type of oversight is in place for animal research facilities nationwide, WBUR's All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with Deborah Runkle, an analyst with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and began by asking if the number of deaths at the Harvard facility is unusual.
This article was originally published on March 01, 2012.
This program aired on March 1, 2012.