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Close-up: Useful Vermin

The modified medical mice of an esteemed but oft-overlooked New York institution.

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Photographs by Catherine Chalmers

One hundred thousand of the world’s most valuable rodents live on York Avenue as residents of Rockefeller University, whose relative obscurity among the city’s higher-learning establishments belies its elite status in the medical community. (Twenty-three Nobel laureates have done work at the school, which doesn’t offer undergrad degrees.) A few of its more cooperative mice—and one rat—recently took turns in front of our cameras.


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