In October 2015, George Washington University (GWU) announced the establishment of the National Chimpanzee Brain Resource, funded by a $1 million NIH grant and based at GWU, Georgia State, and Emory universities. This project grew out of the need to preserve biological materials and information about such “great apes,” resources essential for understanding these remarkable creatures and human evolutionary specializations. The Brain Resource is the outcome of a collaboration involving CARTA members Dr. Chet Sherwood, Dr. Bill Hopkins, and Dr. Todd Preuss.
Preuss noted that “The CARTA organization has long recognized the importance of such resources, most explicitly in the form of a 2005 symposium largely devoted to the matter, Understanding Great Apes in the Genomic Era. The symposium laid out the problems and prospects for acquiring and preserving great ape biomaterials, and the Chimp Brain Resource can trace its lineage to that event, and the fruitful interactions that it generated.”
CARTA Executive Co-Director, Dr. Ajit Varki, responded enthusiastically to the news about the funding of the Brain Resource. “We are extremely pleased and proud to have facilitated the origins of this very important project,” he said. “This is an excellent example of what CARTA strives for, to facilitate transdisciplinary interactions that generate new research directions about anthropogeny.”
To learn more about this valuable resource, go to the National Chimpanzee Brain Resource website.