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Laboratory of Comparative Ethology
Primate Center, Lab or Research Program

Director: Stephen J. Suomi
Phone: 1 (301) 496-9550   Fax: 1 (301) 496-0630   E-Mail:
NIH Animal Center, 16701 Elmer School Road, Poolesville, Maryland 20837-0529 UNITED STATES
Institution: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Affiliations: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health,National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Mission: To investigate behavioral and biological development in humans and in nonhuman primates. Both genetic and environmental influences and their interactions are explored in a comparative approach in order to characterize the origins, ontogeny, and outcomes of various behavioral phenotypes. Results of experimental studies of biobehavioral development in nonhuman primates are correlated with findings from longitudinal investigations of human infants and their families, as well as data obtained by neuroscience techniques. Longitudinal designs are employed to address issues of developmental continuity vs. change, and in many of the investigations a variety of both behavioral and physiological measures are collected concurrently. A major emphasis is placed on characterizing and understanding normative patterns of biobehavioral development so that deviant patterns can be readily identified and their consequences evaluated.

Principal Research Programs: Developmental continuity of individual differences in rhesus monkey reactivity; Adaptation of laboratory reared monkeys to field environments; Aging in rhesus monkey; Innovative manipulative behavior and neurobehavioral laterality in capuchins and rhesus monkeys; Social organization, infant development and tool use in Cebus monkeys; Physiological correlates of rhesus monkey reproductive behavior; Impact of maternal rank and sex of infant on maternal rearing strategies in semi-free ranging rhesus; Maturational and hormonal control of common marmoset vocalizations (Newman); Genetics of primate vocal behavior (Newman); Physiological correlates of infant cry (Newman)

Training Opportunities: Educational opportunities available for: Pre-College, Undergraduate, Graduate, Continuing Education, Professional, Postdoc; Program emphasis: Biobehavioral development

Financial Aid: Summer traineeships; post-baccalaureate fellowships, post-doctoral fellowships

Number of Staff: 32

Associated Field Sites: Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico

Supported Species: 40 Callithrix jacchus (common marmoset), 50 Cebus apella (tufted capuchin), 200 Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaque)

Last Updated: 2009-03-21

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