Why Monkey Around?

Scott Kreitlein, BHDP Architecture
Danielle Henry, BHDP Architects

In the aftermath of the most impactful public health crisis in recent decades, Covid 19 and the threat of a new global pandemic from some strange pathogen waiting to emerge from the environment, have resulted in a resurgence of research associated with drug and vaccine development. Prior to the mass production and distribution of the resulting therapeutic to the public, regulations require that it be tested in live animals under strict guidelines to ensure its efficacy. This testing must be monitored by individuals experienced with the species under study with the objective of verifying that the treatment, health, and welfare of the animal is held to the highest standard possible.

Perhaps the most challenging species to house and utilize in drug testing and scientific research are non-human primates (NHPs). They are also the most critical in the drug approval process, given their genetic similarity to humans. For years now, their demand has far exceeded their availability; one reason is their challenging nature to house, use, and maintain.

Recognizing the shortage, this year, the NIH offered the opportunity to compete for special funding to those institutions that utilize NHPs, with the goal of encouraging their accessibility. This presentation will focus on planning and designing facilities that focus on the housing, breeding, and utilizing NHPs in research. In so doing, concepts of sustainability and energy conservation will be discussed.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the nuances of planning and designing facilities constructed to house non-human primates in a research environment;
  • Identify and describe the major pieces of equipment required of a facility used to house research animals;
  • Explain some of the challenges associated with working with non-human primates, and how to mitigate those challenges through well-defined protocols and standard operating procedures; and
  • Describe some of the energy-saving methods typically found in a vivarium designed to house non-human primates.


Scott Kreitlein is a Discovery and Science Market Design Leader for BHDP Architects. He has over 29 years of experience in planning some of the most complex science and technology related projects in the industry. He is a recognized expert in vivarium and biocontainment facilities.

Danielle Henry is a Senior Laboratory Planner for BHDP with over eight years experience developing design solutions tailored to address the most challenges discovery and science projects. She is a specialist at incorporating sustainable and energy conserving concepts into her designs.


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