“Step Away from the Monkeys”

Monkey.jpg

Apparently the University of Wisconsin suspected a professor from working with animals after officials noticed a pattern of sloppiness in the professor’s behavior. According to an article by Deborah Ziff in the Wisconsin State Journal:

University administrators say researcher Michele Basso has had a bumpy history, citing a lack of respect for veterinarians, incomplete record-keeping and instances where monkeys developed brain injuries. But Basso said she hasn’t violated any rules. She said the charges against her are vague, and that the university knew that her experiments were risky when it approved them.

Her animal research has since been reinstated, but her experiments are under strict supervision, officials said.

Basso, an associate professor of physiology, conducts experiments with monkeys to study cognitive diseases like Parkinson’s.

It’s very rare for a university to prevent researchers from working with their animals and occurs, according to the article “only do so when [administrators] perceive that the risks to animals outweigh the benefits to science and medicine.”

After Madison suspended Basso’s research last fall, the school’s chancellor, Biddy Martin (a longtime proponent of the “let’s study the issue further” tactic in dealing with potential academic scandals), ordered a review of the school’s animal policies. Apparently the review found nothing substantially wrong, though there were “suggestions’ about how the school might improve oversight.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer