I am very disturbed to learn that Rockefeller University Laboratory of Neural Systems is subjecting monkeys to inhumane and very invasive experiments designed to map the brain regions involved in facial recognition.
There is mounting and undeniable evidence that animal experiments translate poorly to human biology. Moreover, scientists today have at their disposal a wide range of non-invasive means for studying the human brain.
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have studied how the human brain rapidly distinguishes faces by working with human volunteers. As the participants viewed images of 91 different facial expressions, researchers scanned their brains with magnetoencephalography and then applied computational methods, which allowed them to map out how the brain encodes key information involved in facial recognition. [Vida, et al. PNAS, December 27, 2016]
This is just one example of the sort of modern, human-relevant brain research that Rockefeller University should conduct. Monkeys and other animal experiments are cruel and archaic and don’t provide adequate information to advance our understanding of human brain physiology and pathology.
Rockefeller University states on its website that it is “in pursuit of one mission: to conduct science for the benefit of humanity” and has a “singular focus on powering the breakthroughs that will transform medicine.”
This can only happen by carrying out leading-edge, human-centered research, not outdated and inhumane monkey experiments. Rockefeller University is well-positioned to undertake such research with an affiliated hospital and surrounded by other prominent medical centers.
I respectfully request that you end these invasive and cruel brain experiments on monkeys and instead utilize modern, human-based research methods.