The California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) enables breakthrough discoveries in human health through access to unrivaled expertise and extensive collaborations throughout UC Davis — including our top ranked School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine. Research at the CNPRC is leading to new diagnostics, therapeutics and clinical procedures that enhance quality of life. The CNPRC is an Organized Research Unit at UC Davis and part of the National Primate Research Centers Program at the National Institutes of Health.

As part of the National Primate Research Centers Program, the CNPRC is one of seven centers that provide a unique resource for investigators to assess the causes of disease, and new treatment methods, in nonhuman primate models that have a biology significantly similar to that of humans. Studies carried out at the CNPRC and other National Primate Research Centers provide expedient validation of impactful research and reduces risk before proceeding to clinical trials in humans.  Research performed at the CNPRC leads to new drugs, therapies and surgical procedures that benefit human health and quality of life.

With four distinct research units and a diverse colony of over 4,000 rhesus macaques and titi monkeys, extending from the unborn to very aged, the CNPRC can accommodate a vast range of studies that vary greatly in size, scope and time-frame.  Our animal care specialists ensure the well-being of our animals and all studies run through the CNPRC must pass three levels of rigorous review.

Our History

The California National Primate Research Center began in 1962 as the National Center for Primate Biology. The National Institutes of Health developed this primate center to serve primarily as a breeding colony of healthy animals for research. The Center addressed conditions for housing and associated husbandry to ensure the healthiest of environments for the animals. Early in its history, the Center significantly advanced the quality of nonhuman primate research and nonhuman primate care.

In 1972, the National Center for Primate Biology increased its collaboration with the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine as well as other UC Davis schools and colleges. The Center continued to improve and evolve, and in 2002, the it was renamed the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) to focus on the role it plays in providing resources on a national level for human health-related research.

Why Primates

Virtually every major medical advance of the last century has relied on animal research.  Find out more about the valuable contributions nonhuman primates have made to both human and animal health, and how many advancements in biomedical research would not be possible without them.


Many significant achievements in healthcare have resulted from research performed at our center, improving human health and quality of life.  Find out more about our specific contributions and the great strides in biomedical research that have been made possible by CNPRC research.


There are many questions that surround animal research, specifically that which is done with nonhuman primates.  We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions on how we conduct our research and invite you to find out more regarding our research, practices, animal care, etc.