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The Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of seven 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.
The Field Station houses 3,400 animals, specializes in behavioral studies of primate social groups, and is located 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Atlanta, on 117 acres (47 ha) of wooded land.
The Living Links Center is a part of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center run by primatologist Frans De Waal. Located at the Yerkes Main Station on the Emory campus, it also does work at the Field Station.
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. 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.
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 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. In 2007, Yerkes was fined for unsanitary conditions and poor procedures leading to the death of a macaque.
Yerkes Center research assistant Elizabeth Griffin became the first work-related death in the center's history on December 10, 1997, due to herpes B virus. 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. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ultimately fined the center $105,300 in 1998 after a 19-week investigation. The event led to reforms in safety protocols for handling research primates.
|Henry Wieghorst Nissen||1955||1958|
|Arthur J. Riopelle||1959||?|
|Frederick (Fred) A. King||1978||1994|
|Thomas R. Insel (now director of NIMH)||1994||1999|
|Thomas P Gordon||1999||2002|
|R. Paul Johnson||2014||present|