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OHSU names new director of Oregon National Primate Research Center

Skip Bohm, a veterinarian, will lead center beginning in August
Skip Bohm director designate of the ONPRC
Skip Bohm will lead the Oregon National Primate Research Center in August. (Courtesy)

A research veterinarian with deep experience in animal care, veterinary training and infectious-disease research at two national primate research centers has been named director of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University.

Skip Bohm, DVM, DACLAM, will take on his new role in August.

Bohm currently serves as associate director and chief veterinary medical officer at the Tulane University National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana, after previously serving with the Emory National Primate Research Center in Atlanta.

Nancy Haigwood, Ph.D., retired as ONPRC director in October after 15 years, and remains a part-time faculty member pursuing her own research program focused on HIV and AIDS. Jon Hennebold, Ph.D., is serving as interim director.

“The ONPRC has a long history of outstanding leadership, a strong research program, and an exemplary animal care and use program,” Bohm said. “I am excited about the opportunity to join OHSU and the strong team at the ONPRC, and look forward to establishing new relationships and collaborations.”

Bohm is already familiar with the center, having served on its national scientific advisory board.

Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., OHSU executive vice president and chief research officer, led a nationwide search for a new director.

“Skip brings a unique perspective to running a primate center, given his outstanding background in veterinary care and strong veterinary research experience,” Barr-Gillespie said. “I have confidence that Skip will provide strong leadership through challenging times.”

The ONPRC houses one of the largest rhesus macaque colonies in the world, at a time of global shortages of research animals essential to understanding and treating disease. The ONPRC is one of seven national primate research centers in the U.S., with research spanning neuroscience, fertility and reproduction, genetics, diseases of aging and infectious disease.

“The Oregon research program is very diverse,” Bohm said. “Research using nonhuman primates is critical because of their close similarities to people, and the Oregon center has already established areas of research where nonhuman primates can be useful in advancing human health.”

Bohm, a veterinarian with deep background in the care of nonhuman primates, calls the veterinary staff at the Oregon center extraordinarily committed to animal welfare. As director, he said he is committed to ensuring exemplary animal care with OHSU’s support as the center’s host institution.

“Promoting the psychological wellbeing and welfare of animals is just as critical to research outcomes as the study design,” he said.

Bohm has spent the past 22 years in a leadership position at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, and during that time has led an animal care and use program consistently rated as exemplary.

“Our friends in Oregon are getting the best of the best,” said Jay Rappaport, Ph.D., director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center. “We are excited to see all that he will do as their new director when he begins his tenure there in early August.”

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