Primate Medicine

Primate Medicine provides high quality centralized clinical care, research support, training, and veterinary oversight to ensure compliance with optimized standards of research conduct and animal care. The Primate Medicine team is responsible for the clinical care of over 4,000 nonhuman primates and encompasses all health needs across the lifespan, from neonatal to geriatric stages, and from preventive medicine to intensive care. Primate Medicine Services also provides research project support to investigators.

Primate Medicine veterinarians also integrate with other CNPRC services, Core Scientists, the UC Davis Animal Care Program, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital to ensure optimal management practices, develop guidelines, algorithms, and standard operating procedures (SOPs), as well as provide input on future plans.


CNPRC veterinarians utilize their considerable training and experience to:

Provide the highest quality medical care for our nonhuman primates

Well-trained experienced veterinarians in medical primatology and Animal Health Technicians (AHTs) trained to the level of physician assistants provide preventive health care, medical care, and input into the CNPRC management programs. Preventive health includes a Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved quarantine program, biannual tuberculin (TB) testing, routine physical examinations, serum banking, and a vaccination program. Medical care addresses the spectrum of diagnostics to treatment in general medicine, dentistry, emergency medicine, intensive care, project-related clinical findings, and specialized surgical procedures.

Provide expertise and research support to investigators regionally and nationally

A CNPRC primate veterinarian’s role is also to provide the necessary support and expertise to ensure successful project outcomes. The veterinarians work in a close partnership with Core and Affiliate Scientists and the entire Primate Services team that is built on mutual respect and a common vision focused on improving human health-related problems, while concurrently ensuring nonhuman primate well-being. As a part of the centralized services, the veterinary staff members keep pace with technology to support research and aid in refining research protocols.

Provide an avenue of educational growth (both didactic and clinical) for students, residents, researchers, veterinarians, and the nonhuman primate community at large

Primate Medicine is committed to mentor and train the next generation of veterinarians in collaboration with Core Scientists. Primate Medicine provides a spectrum of learning opportunities for veterinarians (including the Mountain Gorilla Project), residents, veterinary students from institutions worldwide, animal technicians, and new investigators in order to support and encourage their career goals.

Ensure the highest standards of responsible conduct of research and animal care

CNPRC veterinarians have been trained in American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) approved residency programs and are ACLAM boarded which adds significantly to the quality of animal care and research standards. The role of a LAM veterinarian is to cultivate good working relationships, be involved in management committees, and remain engaged in all aspects of the research process from IACUC protocol development to procedural support. Primate Medicine works with the entire CNPRC staff and faculty that have specialized expertise in infectious diseases, genetics, behavior, reproduction, respiratory illnesses, and pathology in order to provide optimal colony management and psychological well-being.

Laboratory animal medicine (LAM) deals with the clinical care of animals used in teaching and research, including nonhuman primates, for the improvement and advancement of medicine and science for both humans and animals alike. LAM veterinarians work at the interface between clinical care and research support, and act as advocates for all research animals. The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) sets standards in the field for certification of veterinary specialists though professional development, education, and research. The majority of the CNPRC veterinarians have been trained in an ACLAM-accredited LAM residency program.

The goal of ACLAM training program is to maintain the highest quality and consistency of LAM training in the field of veterinary medicine. Participation also strengthens an institution’s ability to prepare trainees for the ACLAM examination and, subsequently, for careers as board certified LAM veterinarians. Preparation for the LAM specialty board examination takes a tremendous investment in time, dedication, and effort, and requires personal and professional sacrifice, determination, meticulous preparation, and perseverance.

The CNPRC has six staff senior veterinarians that are ACLAM boarded. Moreover, all our veterinarians have each acquired a vast amount of nonhuman primate experience, totaling more than 70 years in combined experience and knowledge in nonhuman primate medicine and research support.

The CNPRC veterinarians are supported by a staff of 14 highly trained Animal Health Technicians (AHT) with approximately 140 years of experience and six veterinary students. The AHTs are critical to the function our unit and essential for the provision of medical care to animals in need. They have expertise in animal assessment and triage, wound management, fluid therapy, radiology, anesthesia, surgical support, and dentistry. They are also responsible for communication with investigators, collection of samples for research support, coordination of animal relocations with behavioral management, upkeep of treatment areas throughout the facility, and coordination of routine maintenance of medical equipment. The AHT staff is onsite 10-12 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. As a team, they work to ensure timely and thorough medical care to every animal in the colony and project support, as needed. The team manages a caseload of up to 300 animals per day.

Jeffery Roberts, D.V.M.

Dr. Jeffrey Roberts is a Professor in the Medicine and Epidemiology Department at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Director for Primate Services at the CNPRC. He received his education at the University of Illinois and at UC Davis, and is the past president of the Association of Primate Veterinarians.

Dr. Roberts was recently honored by the Association of Primate Veterinarians as the inagural recipient of the Nicholas W. Lerche award (2014) for his outstanding contributions to improving the field of primate medicine.

Primate Medicine takes the responsibility to mentor and train the next generation very seriously. For example, UC Davis and the CNPRC have overseen the LAM Residency Program since 1974 with 60 successful veterinarians completing the program. These CNPRC-trained experts and leaders in the field have gone on to be successful in many roles ranging from clinical veterinarians in academia or industry to Associate Directors of National Primate Research Centers and wildlife programs. In addition, Primate Medicine offers a senior veterinary student clinical rotation specifically for UC Davis veterinary students and the CNPRC is one of the few NPRCs that provides such opportunities for externs. The CNPRC mentors and fosters on average 25 students a year, most commonly for two-weeklong clinical rotations. Many of the externs have pursued careers in LAM and/or research.

Veterinary students whom have gained experience at the CNPRC have stated “….how their early involvement in nonhuman primate research is likely to impact their future career path(s). Similarly, students involved in medical related training programs suggested the highly translational nature of research at the CNPRC made them more likely to continue pursuing research throughout their veterinary medical careers.”

The program has also accepted international veterinarians that were in need of nonhuman primate training. Most notably, Primate Medicine trained two of the Mountain Gorilla Project Veterinarians,which was viewed by these trainees as invaluable to their success. Contact us for more information.

See Education>Training for more information about arranging for a Residency or Externship at the CNPRC.

(Green) Gold in a mountain of monkey gravel

A partnership with UC Davis Waste Reduction and Wastewater Treatment results in resource savings and improvements to long-term sustainability and efficiency while maintaining the highest standards of animal care. August 1, 2014. Read More.