Milestone Achievements

The research conducted by the investigators affiliated with the Campus has included a number of "firsts" and other promising breakthroughs in medicine:

  • The first demonstration in any species that dietary trans-fatty acids – in comparison to other dietary fats – adversely affect intra-abdominal fat, insulin sensitivity, and plasma lipids, a finding that has permeated public policy and consciousness.
  • A series of hormonal investigations revealing that premenopausal "protection" from atherosclerosis and osteoporosis is dependent on normal ovarian function and can be eliminated by stress-induced estrogen deficiency, and that exogenous estrogen inhibits early atherogenesis but does not benefit established lesions – another finding that has directly affected clinical and lay perceptions.
  • The first demonstration in a primate that estrogen + progestin therapy – but not estrogen alone – induces abnormal breast proliferation, an observation that preceded by several years the same outcome in the Women’s Health Initiative.
  • Unequivocal evidence that social environment influences brain function and disease-related behavior, as dominant animals experience increased central dopaminergic activity (measured by brain imaging) and – at least in males – reduced risk of substance abuse. 
  • The first demonstration that psychosocial stress exacerbates the development of coronary artery atherosclerosis in males and does so via   sympathetic nervous system arousal.
  • The first systematic investigation of the "cardiometabolic syndrome" (which includes obesity, insulin resistance, increases in blood pressure, and an adverse plasma lipid profile) and diabetic therapies in clinically relevant models (both naturally occurring and experimentally induced diabetes.

    Quick Reference

    Clarkson Research Campus/Primate Center
    Center Director

    Jay Kaplan, PhD
    336-716-1649

    Email the Clarkson Research Campus/Primate Center
    primates@wakehealth.edu

    Associate Director

    David Caudell, DVM, PhD
    336-716-4763

    Clarkson Research Campus/Primate Center

    Wake Forest School of Medicine

    Medical Center Boulevard

    Winston-Salem, NC 27157

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