From Directors Corner

From Directors Corner

IPR Participation inthe National Research and Development Agenda: As a public institution, NMK-IPR is expected to play its rightful role of knowledge creation through research, and translation of research results into products and policies. As the second largest biomedical facility in the country (after KEMRI), and the only preclinical testing facility that has access to small and large animal models of human diseases in the country and region, we are uniquely suited to influence current and future medical practice, or the management and conservation of non-human primates, by generating research data that contributes to evidence-based policies and practice. So how is IPR contributing to the national research agenda in the country? We are represented and participate in many forums within and...

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Page2 Jeannes Tamasha

Celebrating the Achievements of a Great Scientist and Friend of IPR – Prof Jeanne Altman


A celebratory event (Tamasha)was organized by Princeton University late last year in honor of one of their long serving and highly acclaimed scientist, Prof Jeanne Altman, to recognize and mark her outstanding contributions to science. The IPR was represented at the function by Mercy Akinyi who delivered a special citation from the Director IPR to the guests on the many contributions that Jeanne had achieved as an IPR associate, and a small gift to Jeanne on behalf of the IPR fraternity. Jeanne has a long standing relationship with IPR/NMK and with Kenya as a country which she has been visiting regularly for more than 40 years.

 

It is a relationship that extends to the Amboseli Baboon Research Project (ABRP; http://www.princeton.edu/~baboon/) that she founded many years ago and which now embraces various other Kenyan and non-Kenyan researchers who work with her or under her tutelage.She has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of non-human primate behavior based on her work at ABRP and her interactions with NMK/IPR and has deposited publications of her work and that of other related scientists, with the IPR library for the benefit of IPR and Kenyanresearchers.

She has introduced IPR to other primate centers and research institutions in the USA (e.g. Wisconsin Primate Centre,Correll Institute) and the interactions with Wisconsin Primate Centre has benefited the IPR library by providing access to various library materials. Her work and that of her colleague Prof Susan Albert of Duke University has provided a linkage between field component and laboratory bench assays enabling IPR scientists to participate in her research projects. She has trained Kenyan scientists and technicians in the area of primate behavior and related sciences.

 


For example previous researchers at IPR (Dr Muruthi , Dr Muoria) and currently Tim Wango and Mercy Akinyi have all benefited from her supervision and support. Mercy is currently undertaking PhD studies inthe USA with support and supervision from ABRP Co-director Susan Alberts and Jeanne. The ABRP has also made other direct contributions to the communities living around Amboseli.



The project employs a number of Kenyans who earn a livelihood from it. As a member of the IPRInternational Advisory Board,she has been very consistent in urging the IPR management to give priority to primate biology issues so that this important aspect of our institutional and national research programs does not get obscured by the expanding biomedical programs.

 

During her recent visit to Kenya in February 2012, she made a donation of books and papers to the IPR Library including the titles: Baboon metaphysics – the evolution of a social mind (Dorothy Cheney and RobertSeyfarth); Juvenile primates- Life history, Development and Behavior(Eds. Michael E. Pereira and Lynn A.Fairbanks); Primates Life histories and Socioecology (Eds. Peter M. Kappeler and Michael E. Pereira); Long-Term Field Studies of Primates (Eds. Peter M. Kappeler and David P.

Watts,which includes a chapter by Susan and Jeanne on 40 years of research work at ABRP); and Primate behavioral Ecology by Karen B. Strier. All these are now available in our library. Jeanne continues to visit Kenya at least twice a year. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with her and the Amboseli Baboon Research Project team.