Yerkes National Primate Research Center

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The Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of eight national primate research centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. It is known for its biomedical and behavioral studies with nonhuman primates.

Its 25-acre (10 ha) "Main Station" contains most of the center's biomedical research laboratories. The center also includes the 117-acre (47 ha) Yerkes Field Station near Lawrenceville, Georgia.

History[edit]

The center was established in 1930 by Robert Yerkes, in Orange Park, Florida, associated then with Yale University. Yerkes was a pioneering primatologist who specialized in comparative psychology.

In 1965 it relocated to its present location at 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, Georgia, on the campus of Emory University.[1]

Satellite locations[edit]

The "Field Station" houses 3,400 animals, specializes in behavioral studies of primate social groups, and is located 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Atlanta, on 117 acres (473,000 m²) of wooded land, at 2409 Collins Hill Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia.[1]

The "Living Links Center" is a part of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center run by primatologist Frans De Waal.[2] Located at the Yerkes Main Station on the Emory Campus, it also does work at the Yerkes Field Station.

Research[edit]

Multidisciplinary medical research at the Yerkes research center is primarily aimed at development of vaccines and medical treatments. Research programs include cognitive development and decline, childhood visual defects, organ transplantation, the behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy and social behaviors of primates. Yerkes researchers also are leading programs to better understand the aging process, pioneer organ transplant procedures and provide safer drugs to organ transplant recipients, determine the behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy, prevent early onset vision disorders and shed light on human behavioral evolution.[citation needed] Researchers have had success creating transgenic rhesus macaque monkeys with Huntington's disease and hope to breed a second generation of macaques with the genetic disorder.[3]

Controversy[edit]

Yerkes has long been the target of protest for its treatment of animals. This was especially true after the release of Frederick Wiseman's 1974 film Primate, which was shot at Yerkes and which depicted primates undergoing surgical procedures, as well as a transcardial perfusion and brain extraction.

Yerkes' proposal to do AIDS-related research on endangered sooty mangabey monkeys drew opposition from numerous primatologists, including Jane Goodall.[4] In 2007 Yerkes was fined for unsanitary conditions and poor procedures leading to the death of a macaque monkey.

Yerkes Center research assistant Elizabeth Griffin,[5][6] became the first work-related death (December 10, 1997) in the center's history, due to herpes B virus.[7] Griffin apparently became infected after a fluid exposure to the eye which occurred while helping to move a caged rhesus macaque at the Yerkes Field Station, in Gwinnett County, Georgia. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ultimately fined the center $105,300 in 1998, after a 19-week investigation(OSHA).[8] The event lead to reforms in safety protocols for handling research primates.

On June 15, 2011, at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station, in Gwinnett County, Georgia personnel determined that Ep13, a non-infected female rhesus macaque was missing[9][10] On August 16, 2011, the search for Ep13 ended.

Directors[edit]

Name From To
Robert Yerkes 1930 1941
Karl Lashley 1941 1955
Henry Wieghorst Nissen[11] 1955 1958
Arthur J. Riopelle 1959  ?
Geoffrey Bourne 1962 1978
Frederick (Fred) A. King[12] 1978 1994
Thomas R. Insel[13] (now director of NIMH) 1994 1999
Thomas P Gordon[14] 1999 2002
Stuart Zola[15] 2002 present

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Emory.edu - Yerkes National Primate Research Center (official homepage)
  • EmoryLies.com - 'Supporting Excellence in Research', Primate Freedom Project