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Yerkes National Primate Research Center

  (Redirected from Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center)

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 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[1] on the campus of Emory University.[2]

Satellite locationsEdit

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[3], 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.[4] 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.[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.[5]


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[6][7], 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.[8] In 2007, Yerkes was fined for unsanitary conditions and poor procedures leading to the death of a macaque.

Yerkes Center research assistant Elizabeth Griffin[9][10] became the first work-related death in the center's history on December 10, 1997, due to herpes B virus.[11] 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.[12] The event led to reforms in safety protocols for handling research primates.

On June 15, 2011, at the Field Station, personnel determined that Ep13, a non-infected female rhesus macaque, was missing.[13][14] On August 16, 2011, the search for Ep13 ended.


Name From To
Robert Yerkes 1930 1941
Karl Lashley 1941 1955
Henry Wieghorst Nissen[15] 1955 1958
Arthur J. Riopelle 1959 ?
Geoffrey Bourne 1962 1978
Frederick (Fred) A. King[16] 1978 1994
Thomas R. Insel[17] (now director of NIMH) 1994 1999
Thomas P Gordon[18] 1999 2002
Stuart Zola[19] 2002 2014
R. Paul Johnson 2014 present

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Google (7 July 2017). "Yerkes Center, 954 Gatewood Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Google. "2409 Collins Hill Rd, Lawrenceville, GA" (Map). Google Maps. Google.
  4. ^ Living Links Center. Emory University.
  5. ^ Palmer, Jason (27 May 2009). "Glowing monkeys 'to aid research". BBC News.
  6. ^ Primate (1974) on IMDb
  7. ^ Primate
  8. ^ "Goodall opposes AIDS research on monkeys: Primate expert urges government to reject use of endangered animals". Associated Press. 22 June 2006.
  9. ^
  10. ^ A Drop of Virus From a Monkey Kills a Researcher in 6 Weeks, By RICK BRAGG, New York Times, December 14, 1997
  11. ^
  12. ^ 1998/May/ermay.4/5_4_98Yerkes.html
  13. ^
  14. ^ http://www.ajc. com/news/calls-come-in-about-985776.html
  15. ^ "Portraits of Pioneer in Psychology Volume III" by Donald A. Dewsbury
  16. ^ "A Plea For the Chimps". The New York Times. 1987-06-21. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  17. ^ "Thomas R. Insel reflects on his first year as director of the primate research center". Emory Magazine. 1995. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  18. ^ "Insel leaves Yerkes post to head neuroscience center".
  19. ^ "Stuart Zola Brings Passion and Candor to his Role as Director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center". Emory Magazine. 1995. Retrieved 2008-02-29.

External linksEdit

  • - Yerkes National Primate Research Center (official homepage)
  • - 'Supporting Excellence in Research', Primate Freedom Project