OHSU

History

HistoryThe ONPRC was established in 1960 in its present location on the border between Beaverton and Hillsboro on NW 185th Avenue. The research and animal husbandry facilities are located on a 166-acre campus, 20 minutes west of downtown Portland. Until 1998, the ONPRC was an independent research institution performing research on a variety of nonhuman primate species. Its core facilities are supported by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through grants awarded to ONPRC and its host institution, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The research projects are supported by competitively awarded grants from NIH and private foundations.

In July 1998, the ONPRC formally merged with OHSU, and in December 2003 the university began providing central services. A few areas such as legal, banking, technology transfer, and health & safety are handled entirely by OHSU, but most administrative functions are handled cooperatively between resources at the University and resources at the ONPRC level. This approach has been a significant advantage to the Center in retaining decades of experience in a responsive and dedicated local staff, centralizing and harmonizing key functions while tailoring non-duplicative service to meet unique needs that arise for an NPRC.

OHSU’s President, Joseph Robertson, M.D., and Daniel Dorsa, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, serve in an oversight capacity. All ONPRC faculty members—termed Core Scientists--have academic faculty appointments in appropriate departments at OHSU and are subject to the same promotion guidelines for their academic rank. The merger has played an important role in the increased number of graduate students at the Center, as Core Scientists have joined several training grants as mentors. Several of our new recruits have shared positions with Departments or Centers at OHSU. This type of co-recruitment and shared support serves to underscore the intent of enhancing ties between the OHSU basic science and clinical departments and the ONPRC, particularly in areas where research is more translational in nature.

The members of the Pathobiology & Immunology Division at ONPRC are all members of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI). The VGTI is an independent research institute at OHSU directed by Dr. Jay Nelson, and Dr. Louis Picker, Head of the Pathobiology & Immunology Division at ONPRC, is the Associate Director. The VGTI research building is on the West campus, co-located with the ONPRC and highly integrated into the ONPRC in terms of research facilities, scientific activities, cores, and research interests. Another independent institute on the OHSU West Campus, the Neurological Sciences Institute, closed in June 2008, and its Scientists are now members of other departments at OHSU.

History at a Glance

1959
Congress appropriates $2 million for primate research centers.

1960
NIH grants allow the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon (MRF) to purchase property and begin construction of Oregon Regional Primate Research Center (ORPRC).

1962
ORPRC opens under Director Donald Pickering, M.D.

1963
William Montagna, Ph.D., becomes second director.

1969
Montagna inaugurates high school apprenticeship program.

1970
ORPRC becomes first primate center to establish outdoor breeding corrals.

1972
Department of Reproductive Biology and Behavior (now the Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences) established.

1982
Vaughn Critchlow, Ph.D., becomes third director.

1983
Officials begin assembling virology research team in response to discovery of spontaneous AIDS-like virus in monkey colony.

1985
Critchlow inaugurates high school teacher internship program.

1986
Critchlow establishes Assisted Reproductive Technologies Laboratory.

1987
Critchlow establishes Division of Neuroscience.

1988
MRF constructs and opens the Cooley Center for Cell and Molecular Biology.

1990
Specific pathogen-free breeding facility comes on line.

1992
State-of-the-art Animal Services Building opens.

1994
MRF merges with OHSU Foundation. M. Susan Smith, Ph.D., becomes fourth director. Second addition to Animal Services Building comes on line.

1998
ORPRC merges with OHSU.

1999
NIH funds a Specialized Cooperative Center in Infertility and Reproductive Research (SCCPIR) at ONPRC.

2000
Third addition to Animal Services Building comes on line.

2001
ORPRC and OHSU open Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, which houses the ORPRC virology research team. Ten innovative outdoor animal shelters come on line.

2002
NIH designates centers as National Primate Research Centers, and ORPRC becomes ONPRC.

2007
Nancy Haigwood, Ph.D. becomes fifth director.

2007
ONPRC researcher Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., successfully reprograms skin cells to become embryonic stem cells (ESCs), a significant advancement in the quest to develop stem cell therapies.

2007
NIH awards one of four Contraceptive Development & Research Centers to ONPRC.

2007
ONPRC scientists join one of the NIH Director's Roadmap programs, called the Oncofertility Consortium.

2009
ONPRC celebrates it's 50th Anniversary. 

2011
Kathleen Grant, Ph.D. becomes Head of the Division of Neuroscience. 

2012
Dr. Mitalipov's ART-ESC group produces the first chimeric monkeys (rhesus macaques) by combining cells from two or more embryos.