The Yerkes Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) research program has experienced a steady expansion over the past five years culminating in research funding totaling over $32 million direct annual funds in FY2012. While this expansion attests to the quality and importance of the HIV research portfolio at the YNPRC, it has also amplified a growing problem of lack of appropriate animal space at the Yerkes Main Station for HIV research, which has flourished with the combined efforts of Yerkes researchers, Drs. Silvestri, Amara, Pulendran, Ahmed, Hunter, Schinazi, Ansari and Villinger. This vibrant research effort may now face delays, due to a combination of steadily increasing animal requests and our inability to easily and quickly accommodate housing nonhuman primates (NHPs) for studies that are already funded, particularly those requiring ABSL2 facilities. Currently, there are outstanding requests for approximately 80 rhesus monkeys by the various Yerkes HIV/AIDS investigators, and we anticipate an increasing need based on ongoing funded and submitted projects. In 2011, we used Yerkes funds to expand our ABSL2+ space for infected monkeys by renovating a building that previously housed chimpanzees (those animals were retired to the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary). Addition of this housing relieved the shortage of research housing space for SIV/SHIV infected rhesus monkeys, at least for now. However, several funded ongoing large AIDS vaccine studies require ABSL2 (non-infectious) housing space for extended immunization periods prior to challenge, which is where the bottleneck exists. While the opening of our dual ABSL3/Transplant facility building in late 2013 will relieve some of the space shortage by regrouping some of the transplant program NHPs to this area, more space is clearly needed for HIV/AIDS NHP studies. To alleviate this issue, we propose to convert part of a chimpanzee housing facility, the Yerkes Great Ape Wing (GAW), into innovative AIDS research housing (IARH) with seven monkey suites and14 adjacent runs, housing up to 16 animals each for a total of 112 animals and two treatment/procedure rooms for AIDS vaccine studies. The chimpanzees occupying this space will have been relocated to group compounds at the Yerkes Field Station prior to start of construction. The design of the IARH renovation will retain much of the existing building structure to minimize costs and environmental impact, but will create innovative and flexible NHP housing allowing for both easy access to the animals in conventional cage housing, while allowing them access to adjacent outdoor runs during times of low frequency sampling, adding a vital element of social enrichment and space not previously offered for such studies. The GAW is centrally located allowing direct access to many services, including food preparation, storage, cage washer and veterinary services and has pre-existing water, sanitation and electricity. The proposed conversion will alleviate a bottleneck in our ability to conduct NHP AIDS vaccine research while at the same time provide a unique opportunity to improve enrichment and well-being of NHPs on research protocols.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
Research Facilities Construction Grant (C06)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZOD1-STOD-5 (01))
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Mccullough, Willie
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Emory University
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
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