OSU chief Burns Hargis discusses research decision

BY SUSAN SIMPSON Modified: December 9, 2009 at 10:14 am •  Published: December 9, 2009
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Hargis said other research involving bioterrorism and lethal pathogens would continue at Oklahoma State University.

The baboon research started at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, but was to be moved to OSU’s new Level 3 biosecurity lab, the only one in the state.

The project’s lead investigator, Shinichiro Kurosawa, was at OMRF but now is at Boston University, where he’s seeking a new site for the baboon lab, according to a statement from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Extramural Research.

Although the NIH hadn’t yet funded OSU’s part of the project, it had expectations OSU would follow through on its commitment, the statement said.

"NIH fully expects institutions to honor these assurances and commitment to complete NIH supported projects as requested, approved and funded, whether they are a direct recipient or a subawardee on a special project.”

In April, OSU announced that animals will no longer be euthanized in teaching labs at the veterinary school. Controversy about euthanizing animals after students performed surgeries on them arose after Madeleine Pickens threatened to redirect a $5 million donation to the vet school because she did not agree with such practices.

OSU officials said Pickens, wife of billionaire benefactor T. Boone Pickens, had no say on stopping the research involving the baboons. But she does endorse the new policy on her Web site, where she offers "kudos for a great decision” and posts a story about the controversy.