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July 8, 2003


Bloomsmith Named Associate Research Professor and Head of Environmental Enrichment at Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Atlanta ­ July 8, 2003 - Mollie Bloomsmith, PhD, has been named associate research professor and head of environmental enrichment at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University. As head of the enrichment program, Dr. Bloomsmith’s responsibilities include overseeing the activities that enhance animal enrichment and well-being, as well as developing a program designed to assess and improve the care of nonhuman primates at both the Yerkes center and field station. She will also contribute to the regulatory processes governing animal welfare by serving as a consultant to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and reviewing scientific protocols that involve nonhuman primates.

"I am extremely pleased about Mollie’s appointment," said Jim Else, DVM, associate director for animal resources. "Through her guidance and input, Yerkes will strengthen its position as a leader in environmental enrichment, enabling us to further integrate this important discipline into core animal care activities."

Dr. Bloomsmith comes to Yerkes with 21 years of experience from both laboratory and zoological park settings where she worked primarily with nonhuman primates. Her appointment as head of Yerkes’ environmental enrichment program comes after a nine-month period as the program’s interim coordinator. Her expertise includes using environmental design, enrichment and animal training to solve behavioral problems of animals and to manage social behaviors within animal colonies. Prior to directing the enrichment program, Dr. Bloomsmith was an affiliate scientist at Yerkes while working as the director of research at Zoo Atlanta.

"As a scientist who publishes in the areas of enrichment and behavioral management, I hope to continue to strengthen the scientific arm of Yerkes’ enrichment program," said Dr. Bloomsmith. "This will help us address important issues regarding the care and welfare of the primates we are studying."

Dr. Bloomsmith has published more than 80 scientific papers and submitted written testimony before the House Subcommittee on Health and Education for the Chimpanzee Health, Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act. Before coming to Yerkes and Zoo Atlanta, Dr. Bloomsmith held a variety of research positions at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. She is a founding member and secretary of the board of directors of Chimp Haven, a not-for-profit group developing a chimpanzee sanctuary.

She is also a research advisor to the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan, which is managed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to help maintain and conserve threatened and endangered species.

Dr. Bloomsmith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in animal behavior from the University of California at Davis and a master’s degree and a doctor of experimental psychology degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University is one of eight National Primate Research Centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Yerkes Center is a multidisciplinary research institute recognized as a leader in biomedical and behavioral studies with nonhuman primates. Yerkes scientists are on the forefront of developing vaccines for AIDS and malaria, and treatments for cocaine addiction and Parkinson’s disease. Other research programs include cognitive development and decline, childhood visual defects, organ transplantation, the behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy and social behaviors of primates. Leading researchers located worldwide seek to collaborate with Yerkes scientists.

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