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Yerkes Research Center Receives Continued Full Accreditation from AAALAC

August 7, 2008

Media Contacts

Emily Rios, 404-727-7732,; Lisa Newbern, 404-727-7709,

ATLANTA— The Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, has received continued full accreditation from The Council on Accreditation of the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC), the gold standard of laboratory animal care. This latest review begins the 23rd consecutive year of full accreditation for the center.

In the official notification letter to the Yerkes Research Center from Kathy E. Laber, DVM, president of the AAALAC Council of Accreditation, she commended the staff for “providing and maintaining a quality program of laboratory animal care and use.” Also, Laber noted the “outstanding administrative commitment to the animal program” and the “knowledgeable and dedicated husbandry staff.” In sharing Laber’s comments, Yerkes director Stuart Zola, PhD, expressed “AAALAC accreditation is paramount to maintaining the center’s reputation for outstanding science and the highest quality animal care. We welcome the review process, which always helps us be even better than before.”

The accreditation process includes an extensive internal review followed by a site visit from AAALAC evaluators. After an institution earns accreditation, it must be re-evaluated at least every three years as part of the process to maintain accredited status. “The Yerkes Research Center was first accredited in 1985, and this is our eighth straight subsequent site visit that has resulted in continued full accreditation,” said Jim Else, DVM, associate director for veterinary resources.

AAALAC is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. More than 750 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 29 countries have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to responsible animal care and use. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC's program, in addition to complying with the local, state and federal laws that regulate animal research.

For more than seven decades, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, has been dedicated to conducting essential basic science and translational research to advance scientific understanding and to improve the health and well-being of humans and nonhuman primates. Today, the center, as one of only eight National Institutes of Health–funded national primate research centers, provides leadership, training and resources to foster scientific creativity, collaboration and discoveries. Yerkes-based research is grounded in scientific integrity, expert knowledge, respect for colleagues, an open exchange of ideas and compassionate, quality animal care.

Within the fields of microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, psychobiology and sensory-motor systems, the center’s research programs are seeking ways to: develop vaccines for infectious and noninfectious diseases, such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease; treat cocaine addiction; interpret brain activity through imaging; increase understanding of progressive illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s; unlock the secrets of memory; determine behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy; address vision disorders; and advance knowledge about the evolutionary links between biology and behavior.

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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