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Looking Back, Looking Ahead.

For 50 years, the Duke Lemur Center has advanced scholarship and biological conservation through interdisciplinary research on lemurs – Earth’s most threatened group of mammals. The Center houses the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar, and the current colony houses nearly 250 individuals across 18 species.

The scientific endeavors at the DLC span a vast array of disciplines, from behavior and genomics to brain sciences and paleontology. Over its long history, the DLC has brought together scientists, conservation biologists and educators in North Carolina and in Madagascar to understand and to protect these extraordinary animals.

Thank you for being part of this innovative 50 year journey. Please help us shape the next 50 years as we continue to Discover, Engage, Protect… CELEBRATE!

The Duke Lemur Center – IMAX 60 second trailer

Lemurs are not only cute, they’re resourceful. Born in Africa over 62 million years ago, they escaped extinction by crossing the Mozambique Channel to the island of Madagascar. These resourceful creatures evolved into over 80 species to cope with their new environment.


Want to relax? Watch a loris, the Asian cousin of a lemur. Duke Lemur Center studies these endangered animals so we can help save them. You can see lorises, lemurs and galagos on-line at, or visit our blog at

How Smart is a Lemur?

CNN’s Randy Kaye looks at the intelligence of Lemurs.


50th Anniversary Scientific Symposium & Gala

September 21-23, 2016
Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Durham, NC

The symposium will bring together leading scholars engaged with research at the Duke Lemur Center, spanning a vast array of disciplines, from behavior and genomics to brain sciences and paleontology. An optional Welcoming Reception for the symposium attendees will be held Wednesday evening in the Ambassador Duke Room of the Washington Duke Inn. There will be a Gala Celebration on Friday night that is also optional (but highly recommended!).


  • Living Stock Collection Working Group (closed session)
    Wednesday, 9/21/16
    1:00 – 5:00 pm – Duke Lemur Center
  • Welcome Reception
    Wednesday, 9/21/16
    6:00 – 9:00 pm – Welcome Speaker@ 6:30 pm
  • Symposium Sessions (includes breakfast, lunch, & breaks)
    Thursday, 09/22/16
    8:30 am – 5:00 pm – Presidents I&II
    Friday, 09/23/16
    8:30 am – 4:30 pm – Presidents I&II
  • Poster Session & Reception
    Thursday, 09/22/16
    6:00 to 9:00 pm – Duke Lemur Center (bus transportation provided – very limited parking on site)
  • 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner
    Friday, 9/23/16
    6:00 – 7:00 pm – Cocktail Reception
    7:00 – 8:30 pm – Banquet dinner w/ Plenary Speaker Alison Richard
    8:30 – 10:00 pm – Music by Razia Said w/ dancing

Conference Hotels

Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club (Conference rate until August 22, 2016)
3001 Cameron Blvd Durham, NC 27705
Front Desk / Guest Services: 1-919-490-0999 or Toll Free: 1-800-443-3853 or online booking (Group code 496925)
Single or Double Guest Rooms: $189 + applicable taxes. Room sharing can be arranged with the hotel and your roommates. The hotel does not provide shuttle transportation to or from RDU Airport.

Hilton Durham (conference rate until August 22, 2016)
3800 Hillsborough Road Durham, NC 27705
1-800-HILTONS or Front Desk / Guest Services: 1-919-383-8033 FAX: 1-919-383-4287 or online booking (Group code LEMUR)
Single or Double Guest Rooms: $139 + applicable taxes. Room sharing can be arranged with the hotel and your roommates. The hotel does not provide shuttle transportation to or from RDU Airport. The hotel does provide shuttle service to and from the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club.

Registration Information

Registration after June 1, 2016
Professional Student
$50.00 Welcome Reception $50.00 Welcome Reception
$120.00 Both days of Conference $60.00 Both days of Conference
$70.00 One day of Conference $40.00 One day of Conference
$150.00 Gala Dinner & Celebration $150.00 Gala Dinner & Celebration

Please register online and pay by credit card – Please note that an ” * ” asterisk denotes a required field. Please create your own personal registration account and password. Password needed for security purposes only.

Register Email with any questions

Additional Hotels in the area

Millennium Hotel
2800 Campus Walk Ave
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 383-8575

La Quinta Inn & Suites Durham
4414 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 401-9660

Hilton Garden Inn Durham/University Medical Center
2102 W Main St
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 286-0774

Extended Stay America
3105 Tower Blvd
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 489-8444

The Staybridge Suites (Durham/Chapel Hill)
3704 Mt Moriah Rd
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 401-9800
Free local shuttle service.


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Small bodied primates: a critical need for aging research

Dr. Austad is a multi-awarding winning researcher, Distinguished Professor, and Chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he studies virtually every aspect of aging from demography to molecular processes to the societal impact of an aging population. His research also involves developing lifestyle and pharmacological approaches to improving and preserving human health. He has published 5 books and more than 150 scientific articles.

Impacts of environmental change on lemur health

Dr. Barrett is the Vice President of Science and Research at Propeller Health, a health technology company dedicated to better understanding how the environment influences chronic respiratory disease. Her training in ecology, population health and spatial analysis has enabled her to study the impacts of environmental change on both infectious and chronic disease. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California Berkeley and San Francisco. She completed her PhD in Ecology at Duke University, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was mentored by Anne Yoder and collaborators at the Duke Lemur Center. Her research investigated how climate change drives spatial patterns of wildlife and human health in Madagascar, and how these patterns may influence the risk of disease transmission. Her research has been published in Science, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and Big Data, among other journals, and in popular media such as The Huffington Post.

Dwarf lemur biodiversity through the lens of hibernation

Dr. Blanco received her degree in Biological Anthropology at the National University of La Plata, Argentina, in 1998. After conducting research on prehistoric human populations at the Museum of Natural Sciences of La Plata, she became interested in evolutionary theory. In 2004, she finished her MA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, on the topic of craniofacial variation among howling monkey species. During her tenure at UMass, she become intrigued by lemurs, and changed her research focus from bones to minuscule primates. Her PhD Dissertation discussed the reproductive biology of brown mouse lemurs at Ranomafana National Park, southeastern Madagascar. Since 2010, she has been investigating life history traits and hibernation patterns among eastern dwarf lemur species. Her current research interests include the ecology and physiology of hibernation in lemurs and the biogeography of mouse and dwarf lemurs. She has been a Postdoctoral Associate at the Duke Lemur Center since 2012 and will be joining the SAVA Conservation team based in Madagascar in 2016.

Counting on lemurs to uncover the evolutionary origins of quantitative cognition

Dr. Brannon is Professor of Psychology at The University of Pennsylvania. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. in Physical Anthropology and then earned a Master’s degree in Anthropology and a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. She was faculty at Duke in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience from 2000-2015. She has received numerous academic awards and honors including the Young Investigator Award from The Society for Experimental Psychology, a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, a Merck Scholar Award, and a James McDonnell Scholar Award. Dr. Brannon’s research is funded by The National Institutes of Health and The National Science Foundation. Dr. Brannon’s research encompasses many subject populations (human adults, human infants, children of all ages, monkeys, lemurs) and many behavioral and neurobiological methods (psychophysical methods, fMRI, ERP, EEG, single-unit recording in monkeys). She is primarily interested in the development and evolution of the human mathematical mind and this has recently led her to a new research direction involving interventions to improve math readiness using number sense training.

Predicting the genetic consequences of future climate change: the power of coupling spatial demography, the coalescent, and historical landscape changes

Dr. Brown is currently an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University. The central theme of Dr. Brown’s research aims to understand the interplay between spatial, genetic, ecological and evolutionary processes. He integrates theoretical perspectives on evolution and population genetics with geospatial, field-based and molecular genetic research to address fundamental questions about speciation, distribution patterns and the processes of generating and maintaining diversity. Most his research falls into two focal areas: 1. Ecology, evolution and systematics of South American poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). 2. Explicit integration of ecological, genetic and geospatial analyses to address evolutionary and conservation questions — focusing on methodological and statistical issues.

Conservation 3.0 - The Future of Conservation and Madagascar

Dr. Dehgan is the co-founder of Conservation X Labs, a startup for tech innovation for conservation and development. He recently served as the Chief Scientist at USAID, with rank of Assistant Administrator, and founded the Global Development Lab. Prior to USAID, Alex worked in multiple positions within the Office of the Secretary, and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, at the Dept. of State. At State, Alex developed political and science diplomacy strategies towards addressing our most challenging foreign policy issues in Iraq, Egypt, and the greater Islamic world, including engagement with Iran under the Obama Administration with Ambassador Dennis Ross. As head of the Wildlife Conservation Society Afghanistan Program, Alex helped create Afghanistan’s first national park.

Female Lemurs Rule! Gaining Proximate and Ultimate Understanding of Social Dominance via Comparative Studies

Dr. Drea was born in Africa and raised in Europe. Her education began in France, at the American College in Paris, with research performed throughout Europe for the US Embassy, Department of Agriculture. Back in the US, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology at the University of Maryland, while studying bower bird mating behavior in Australia and the vertebrate visual system at the National Institutes of Health. She earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Psychobiology from Emory University, as a Guggenheim fellow, studying macaque social cognition and reproductive endocrinology at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center. Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Physiology at Morehouse School of Medicine, she continued as a NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology and Lecturer in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. There, and in the Masai Mara of Kenya, she studied spotted hyena social behavior and reproductive development. She began her faculty position at Duke University’s Departments of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology in 1999, where, along with studies of brown hyenas in Namibia, mandrills in Gabon, and meerkats in South Africa, Christine has been researching various species of strepsirrhine primates, both at the Duke Lemur Center and in Madagascar. Her special focus over the last 30 years has been on gaining a better understanding of exceptional, female-dominant species.

The evolution of prehensile behaviour and forelimb morphology in prosimians

Dr. Fabre is a researcher at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. She has been awarded a post-doctoral grant from the Fyssen foundation and was recently awarded a highly competitive Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant. She is broadly interested in form-function relationships with a special emphasis on the use of 3D geometric morphometrics to describe the shape of anatomical structures. Her current research focuses on the evolution of grasping and manipulation in tetrapods. By quantifying behavior, function (e.g. locomotor forces and kinematics) and form she aims to test the major hypotheses on the evolution of complex grasping and manipulation. Moreover, these approaches are used to infer behavior and ecology in extinct taxa. To understand the evolution of grasping and manipulation behavior in primates she has focused principally on strepsirrhines given their diversity in ecology, morphology and function. Her work has been published in leading international journals and she has been invited to present her work in Europe and abroad at international meetings and symposia.

Gene expression and physiological extremes in primate hibernation

Ms. Faherty is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biology Department at Duke University. Her dissertation work focuses on the genetic controls of lipid metabolism during hibernation when fat-storing mammals switch to lipids as their sole fuel source for up to 8 months. She investigates this phenomenon in the only primates capable of hibernation behavior, the dwarf lemurs of Madagascar, using a combination of field and captive studies, molecular biology, and sheer, dumb luck. Her research has been funded by a variety of external grants, including an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant. Sheena is an avid writer with journalistic aspirations. In summer 2015, she received an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship to test out her journalism chops at The Philadelphia Inquirer, during which time she almost met the Pope. Almost.

Tipping points in lemur ecology and conservation

Dr. Ganzhorn is Professor at the University of Hamburg, Department Animal Ecology and Conservation. He has served as Chairman for the Madagascar section of the IUCN/SSC/Primate Specialist Group for 15 years. A zoologist by training, he has over 30 years of experience conducting field work in Madagascar on forest and vertebrate ecology. His approach is to find ways on how to combine an understanding of species needs, ecosystem functioning and biodiversity conservation with economic development and secure livelihoods for the people in order to come to sustainable forms of land utilization and conservation in Madagascar and elsewhere.

Lemurs have gone from ignored to adored in cognitive research thanks to the Duke Lemur Center

Dr. Hare founded the Hominoid Psychology Research Group while at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and subsequently founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center at Duke University. His publications on dog cognition are among the most heavily cited papers on dog behavior and intelligence and his research has received national and international media coverage over the last decade. He has been a frequent guest on radio programs including the BBC and American National Public Radio and has also been featured in multiple documentaries from production companies such as National Geographic (U.S.), BBC (U.K.), Nova (U.S.), RTL (Germany), SBS (Korea) and Globo (Brazil). In 2004 the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation named him a recipient of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, Germany’s most prestigious award for scientists under age 40. In 2007 Smithsonian magazine named him one of the top 37 U.S. scientists under 36.

The evolution of lemur social systems

Dr. Kappeler holds a chair for Sociobiology / Anthropology at the University of Göttingen and is the head of the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit at the German Primate Center. He studied Biology and Psychology at the University of Tübingen and at Duke University, where he also obtained his PhD in Zoology. As a postdoc, he worked at the German Primate Center and obtained his Habilitation from the University of Würzburg. Before moving to his present position, he was the head of the Behavioral Ecology Department at Leipzig University. His research interests focus on the social systems of non-human primates. For the past 20 years, his empirical work has focused on the social and mating systems of Malagasy primates, carnivores and birds which he and his students have been studying at Kirindy Forest. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and authored or edited about 15 books and special issues, including “The Lemurs of Madagascar” and a (German) textbook on animal behavior.

Pathogen discovery in Madagascar: the utility of next-generation disease surveillance for lemur conservation

Dr. Larsen is an evolutionary biologist and genomicist. His research interests include mammalian speciation, disease surveillance, and evolution of the adaptive immune system. Dr. Larsen’s latest work focuses on using emerging genomic technologies to elucidate lemur genome evolution and to inform ongoing lemur conservation efforts through de novo pathogen detection. National Geographic highlighted his research on the molecular characterization of lemur antibodies and he has recently initiated advanced disease surveillance projects of wild lemurs. He received his B.S. from South Dakota State University and his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. He has authored over 30 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters. Dr. Larsen is currently a research scientist in in the Department of Biology at Duke University.

Lemur Diversity as a Natural Experiment in Cognitive Evolution

Dr. MacLean is an Assistant Professor in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University in 2012 and served as Senior Research Scientist and Co-Director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center from 2012-2016. His research investigates animal cognition with an emphasis on phylogenetic approaches to the study of cognitive evolution, and the cognitive characteristics of canids and nonhuman primates.

Gut Instincts: Lemur microbial community dynamics in health and disease

Ms. Mckenney is a 5th-year PhD candidate in Biology at Duke University, where she studies gut microbes. She earned a BS in Biology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After graduating, she developed her interest in exotic animal nutrition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where she worked as a professional research intern. From Orlando, Erin returned to North Carolina, where she completed a MS in Animal Science at North Carolina State University. In March 2015 Erin was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant by the National Science Foundation to further her investigations of lemur gut microbes in health and disease at the Duke Lemur Center. Erin has also been awarded a Bass Teaching Fellowship to develop an original undergraduate course on the microbiome, which she will teach in Spring 2015. In addition to her dissertation work on lemurs, Erin has additional collaborative publications investigating tapeworms as therapeutic agents and implementing citizen science in middle and high school. Outside of academia, Erin is a blacksmith, with experience in beekeeping and zoo-keeping.

Biogeographic Evolution of Madagascar’s Primate Communities: Endemism, Elevation, and the Fossil Record

Dr. Muldoon received her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. She is involved in several projects that investigate the recent extinctions in Madagascar. Since human colonization, Madagascar’s native mammal community has suffered the loss of dozens of species, including the giant subfossil lemurs. My goal is to understand how primate communities in Madagascar have been influenced by these extinctions. The subfossil record provides a unique opportunity to approach this question. By comparing “subfossil communities” with modern ones, insights can be drawn into the degree of change experienced by those communities over time. The results of these comparisons have practical conservation implications, given the fragile state of living lemur habitats in Madagascar.

Cookstoves, Respiratory Health, and Conservation of Lemur Biodiversity in SAVA, Madagascar

Dr. Nunn uses evolutionary approaches to understand and improve human and animal health. Thus, he and his research group investigate the ecology and evolution of infectious disease, drivers of variation in sleep, and the links between ecology, evolution and global health. Charlie addresses these questions using phylogenetic methods, mathematical modeling, and through fieldwork in Madagascar, Kenya and other locations. He is the author of Infectious Diseases of Primates: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution and The Comparative Approach in Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology.

The mouse lemur as a model for research on aging

Dr. Pifferi is researcher at the French National Research Center (CNRS). He graduated with a PhD in Nutritional Neuroscience from the University of Paris Sud (France) in 2007. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the Research Center on Aging of University of Sherbrooke (Canada). He is an expert in the biology of aging in a non-human primate model, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) and is primarily interested in the influence of nutritional factors on brain functions during the aging process. His studies gather many approaches (behaviour, chronobiology, neurophysiology) inside the Laboratory of Adaptive Mechanisms and Evolution in Brunoy which hosts a breeding colony of grey mouse lemurs.

The Evolution of Visual Decision Making in Primates

Dr. Platt studies how we make decisions, using a combination of neural recordings, pharmacology, brain imaging, genetics, and computation, in humans, monkeys, and other animals. He received his B.A from Yale and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, both in biological anthropology, and did a post-doctoral fellowship in neuroscience at New York University. His work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Klingenstein Foundation, the McDonnell Foundation, the EJLB Foundation, Autism Speaks, the Broad Foundation, the Klarman Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and the Department of Defense, among others. He is a winner of the Ruth and A. Morris Williams Faculty Research Prize in the Duke University School of Medicine, and was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow. He has given the Sage Lecture at UC Santa Barbara and has received the Astor Visiting Professor award at Oxford University (deferred). Michael has authored over 90 peer-reviewed papers and over 40 review and opinion papers, and his work has been cited over 4,000 times. Michael is an editor of major textbooks in neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience, and he is a former president of the Society for Neuroeconomics. A revered instructor and mentor, Michael won the Master Teacher/Clinician Award from the Duke University School of Medicine. He is the former Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and former Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. Michael’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and National Geographic, as well as on ABC’s Good Morning America, NPR, CBC, BBC, and MTV. He has also served as a consultant on several films, including The Fountain (Warner Bros, Darren Aronofsky, director) and as a scientific advisor to NOVA.

One island, one health: transmission of pathogens between species at the human-wildlife interface

Dr. Rasambainarivo obtained his veterinary degree from the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, a Master’s degree in epidemiology from the Université de Montréal, Canada and is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate at the University of Missouri Saint Louis. He has 10 years of experience working with captive and free ranging wild animals (especially lemurs) as a veterinarian and a researcher on health and diseases at the human and wildlife interface. Fidy is also a lecturer on wildlife health and conservation medicine at the Veterinary School of Antananarivo and serves as a veterinary advisor for the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group.

Lemur conservation in Madagascar: Good news in bad times

Dr. Ratsimbazafy is a native of Madagascar. He received his PhD in Physical Anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is currently the General Secretary of a Malagasy Primate Group (GERP). From 2002 to 2013, he was the Training and Conservation Coordinator of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Madagascar. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Paleontology and Anthropology and the Department of Medicine veterinary at the University of Antananarivo. His research interests include primate behavior and ecology. He has studied behavioral ecology of lemurs in Madagascar. He co-authored the 2nd and 3rd edition of the Field Guide Series: Lemurs of Madagascar. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Vice-President of the International Primatological Society for Conservation. He is a co-Vice-Chair of the IUCN/SSC Specialist Group- Madagascar. Jonah won the Disney Conservation Hero award 2015.

Decoding mouse lemurs: DNA sequencing, comparative genomics and the remarkable biology of an emerging research model

Dr. Rogers is an Associate Professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center and Dept. of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Dr. Rogers received his B.A. from Northwestern University in Anthropology, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Yale University. His research is focused on the genetics and genomics of nonhuman primates. Dr. Rogers has participated in or led collaborative projects that produced whole genome DNA sequence assemblies for 12 nonhuman primate species including mouse lemurs, sifakas, baboons, gibbons and rhesus macaques. His work includes population genomic analyses of rhesus macaques, in which he and his collaborators characterize functional genetic variation in this important research primate. In addition, Dr. Rogers also uses nonhuman primate models to investigate specific aspects of human health and disease, with particular emphasis on genetic analyses of neurobiology, behavior and psychiatric disorders. His research is funded by several programs within the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Rogers has also conducted field studies of Papio baboons in several localities across Africa, work that was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The ecology and evolution of primate spatial memory

Dr. Rosati is an Assistant Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, where she directs the Cognitive Evolution Group. She received a BA from Harvard in Psychology, and a PhD from Duke in Evolutionary Anthropology, with a focus in cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Rosati’s research examines the evolution of the human mind by comparing how different primate species think about the world. She is particularly interested in the origins of psychological abilities used in foraging contexts, including memory and decision-making. She addresses these questions by studying cognition across a variety of primate populations, including semi-free-ranging apes, monkeys, and lemurs. Her scientific research has been featured in the New York Times, BBC, NPR, and The Economist.

What do we really know about mouse lemur species diversity?

Dr. Weisrock is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Kentucky. His research program is broad, addressing questions in evolutionary biology across a range of levels, from the phylogenetic reconstruction of deep evolutionary histories to the study of recent population genetic change as a result of changing environments. While many might consider Dave to be a herpetologist, over the last ten years he has leveraged his way into studying the fascinating world of lemur speciation and diversity using genetic and genomic tools, a system that ideally serves his interests in using genomic tools to diagnose species diversity and reconstruct phylogeny in rapid radiations. Much of the diversity in research questions and taxonomic systems in Dave’s lab, from the study of population structure in alpine insects to species delimitation in North American salamanders, is driven by very creative and motivated graduate and undergraduate students.

Lemur Conservation in Madagascar-the next ten years

Dr. Wright is Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Wright has served as the Executive Director for the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE) since 1992. She spearheaded an integrated conservation and development project in Madagascar resulted in the founding of Ranamafano National Park in 1991. Dr. Wright is a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and in 1995 she was awarded the “Chevalier d’Ordre National” (National Medal of Honor of Madagascar) from the President of Madagascar. She has co-authored three books (Tarsiers: Past, Present and Future; Madagascar and the Comoros; and “Madagascar: Forest of our Ancestors” and her autobiography is published in two volumes, “High Moon over the Amazon: my quest to understand the monkeys of the night” (2013) and “For the Love of Lemurs: my life in the wilds of Madagascar” (2014). She has received numerous honorary degrees and awards including “The Hauptman-Woodward Pioneer in Science Award” (2007), the Distinguished Primatologists award (2008), membership in the American Philosophical Society, and the Indianapolis Prize, considered the “Nobel Prize” for Conservation (2014). She has spearheaded the Centre ValBio, an award-winning “green, sustainable” research station in Madagascar with molecular and infectious disease laboratories, high speed internet and modern facilities.



Celebrate all the amazing work over the past 50 years at a beautiful gala and help us continue our critical work for the next 50 years.


Animal Jam Logo McDonald York Logo MYochelson


Dinner and Auction


50th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Auction

Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club
3001 Cameron Blvd, Durham, NC, 27705

Friday, September 23, 2016

  • 6:00 – 7:00 pm – Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction
  • 7:00 – 9:30 pm – Plated dinner with guest speaker Dame Alison Richard & music by Razia Said with dancing

Thank you for being part of this innovative 50 year journey. Please help us shape the next 50 years as we continue to Discover, Engage, Protect……… CELEBRATE!

Registration Information:

$150 per person

Or call Janice Kalin at 919-401-7252 to register.


Plenary Speaker

Professor Dame Alison Richard received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Cambridge University, and her doctorate from London University. In 1972, she moved to the US to join Yale University, where she became Professor of Anthropology in 1986. From 1991-1994, she was Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, which houses one of the world’s most important university natural history collections. In 1998 she was named the Franklin Muzzy Crosby Professor of the Human Environment. From 1994-2002, she served as Provost of Yale, with operational responsibility for the University’s financial and academic programs and planning.

From 2003-2010, Professor Richard was Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, a position carrying the responsibilities of university president. During her tenure, she led several major changes in university policy, ranging from intellectual property to undergraduate financial aid, reorganized management of the University’s endowment, expanded Cambridge’s global partnerships, most notably in the US, China, India, Singapore and the Persian Gulf, and launched and completed a billion-pound fund-raising campaign. Her achievements received recognition in 2010, when she was awarded a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) for her services to Higher Education.

An eminent researcher, Professor Richard has studied the ecology and social behavior of wild primates in Central America, West Africa, and the Himalayan foothills. She is best known for her work on lemurs in the forests of southern Madagascar. For many years, she has worked to conserve Madagascar’s unique natural heritage and enhance the livelihoods of people living in and around the forest. She was appointed Officier de l’Ordre National in Madagascar in 2005.

Professor Richard is co-trustee of the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, is a member of the Boards of WWF-International, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, chairs the Advisory Boards of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the Luc Hoffmann Institute, and Perrett Laver, and serves as a member of the Arcadia Advisory Board. She was a recipient of the Verrill Medal at Yale University in 2008, and has received numerous honorary doctorates.

Razia Said

Singer and songwriter Razia Said’s nomadic life has taken her across Africa to France, Italy, Ibiza, Bali and New York City, but despite these wanderings, her heart and soul remains inexorably tethered to Madagascar, the land of her birth. Her musical explorations have also been wide ranging, and over the years Razia has experimented with French chanson, rock, jazz and even smooth, Sade-style R&B. But it took reaching back to her cultural roots for Razia to uncover her true artistic calling as one of African music’s most promising talents.

With the album Zebu Nation, Razia has created an inspiring collection of songs that draw deeply on the music she heard growing up in the town of Antalaha in northeastern Madagascar. The source for the world’s most prized Bourbon vanilla, Antalaha is one of Madagascar’s wealthiest communities, although there remains a great gap between rich and poor. Razia first heard the infectious rhythms of local salegy music blasting out of the town’s ubiquitous radios. It was one of Razia’s older uncles that first introduced her to French music as well as The Beatles, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and other Western stars. Her uncle even invited her to sing the latest French pop songs on stage with his band when she was just ten years old.


Your support makes it possible for us to Discover biological phenomena that would otherwise be unseen, to Engage the next generation of conservation scholars, and to Protect the most endangered primates on Earth.

The Duke Lemur Center 50 Year Impact

3261 endangered prosimian primates have been born at the Duke Lemur Center over the past 50 years.

The highest number of primates in the care of the Duke Lemur Center was 756 on January 1, 1987.

Currently, there are about 250 endangered lemurs living at the Duke Lemur Center.

39 species of prosimian have been housed over the history of the DLC.

18 species are currently housed at the Duke Lemur Center.

In the past 4 years alone, more than 400 students have been trained in research, husbandry and conservation, and well over 1000 students have been trained over the course of the Center’s history.

More than 1000 peer-reviewed publications have been produced with more manuscripts appearing every week.

For 35 years, the DLC has been managing and supporting critical conservation community based work in Madagascar.

The Duke Lemur Center welcomed more than 30,000 guests in 2015 to learn about lemurs and Madagascar.


Impact Stories

How we use your gifts

Your financial gift directly impacts lemurs; our lemurs, our researchers, our students and our work in Madagascar. It costs the Duke Lemur Center $7,400 per year to house, feed and care for each of our lemurs in Durham, North Carolina. Our researchers are learning more about lemurs, their links to human health and evolution; our students will be the next generation of environmental stewards and researchers.

The impact of your gifts affect all areas of lemur research, care, conservation and education.


Meet our Donors

The Duke Lemur Center relies on the support of thousands of generous donors who have given their time, love for lemurs, passion and financial support to help fulfill our missions. These donations come from schools, area businesses, and foundations, current and former researchers and from people like you who care about the future of lemurs.

From the contents of a piggy bank, the proceeds of a bake sale to the money to build a new veterinary wing, each penny is important and valued.

Individuals and Families

Caring individuals and families from all over the world support the Duke Lemur Center. All believe in our mission to learn everything we can about lemurs in captivity so we can save lemurs in the wild.

Community Members and Corporations

For many companies, giving to the Duke Lemur Center is the most compelling way to support international conservation ties and community roots.

Planned Gifts


DLC in Madagascar

Duke Lemur Center’s SAVA Conservation initiative is a multifaceted community-based project which brings both conservation and opportunities for Duke students to the SAVA region of northeastern Madagascar. Conservation activities include but are not limited to environmental education with local students, reforestation, fish farming, sustainable agriculture through promotion of yam cultivation, support of fuel efficient stoves, family planning, research and more. The ultimate objective of all project activities is to protect remaining forest and the unique biota of the SAVA region.

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I Lemurs

Rose Smiley

My experience at the Lemur Center Rose Smiley, DLC supporter.

My work-study job at the Duke Primate Facility (the original name of the Lemur Center) was my first and most memorable job working with animals. The work-study job was a part of my undergraduate financial aid package. The job paid an impressive $2.00 an hour. Okay, maybe not that impressive, but every little bit helped.

I heard about the facility in 1974, halfway through my freshman year. It sounded like a step up from my first semester job, which I spent filing paper in the Duke Hospital Personnel Office.

I called and spoke to David Anderson, who was the interim Director of the Center at that time, and managed to talk my way into a job. They had never had a student work there, but he was willing to give me a try. My audition was to be able to capture a lemur. She needed eye drops to treat her glaucoma, but was unwilling to sit still for them. She sprinted around in her cage like something out of a Tasmanian devil cartoon. It took an embarrassing amount of effort to grab her and win the job.

I started with cleaning cages and rooms and feeding the lemurs monkey chow ,a variety of plants and fruit, and of course a grits meal on Sundays. I can remember the first time I saw an infant lemur riding piggyback and the ring-tailed lemurs sunning outside. The lemurs were always excitable, but they were loudest on banana day.

It wasn’t all cleaning and feeding, I was able to work on a behavioral research project with the supervision of Dr. Peter Klopfer. We studied visual communication in ring-tailed lemurs. I went on to take as many lemur and primate related courses at Duke that I could.

I couldn’t stay away from my lemurs.  There were no free ranging forest dwelling lemurs in those days and the only large outside cage I can remember was a cylindrical grain silo with a metal top. Maybe it wasn’t really a grain silo but that is what it reminded me of (editor’s note: Rose is correct, the Lemur Center still uses six grain silos to house animals on our summer tour path: they make excellent lemur housing!) There were chain link fence outside enclosures for a score of lucky lemurs. The facility was terribly crowded, partly because of a baby boom. Cages lined all the halls. Yvette and Yves were two of my favorites-they were collared lemurs. The first sifakas, Reginald and Charlotte, who were Nigel’s parents, arrived some time from Madagascar while I was working at the center. I named one of their first offspring, Mango. There was a mouse lemur named after me, as we are both rather small compared to our fellow primates.

At one point, Duke was facing a budget problem and was planning to close the primate facility and the school of forestry. We had little contact with the public in those days, so I was surprised when students gathered to protest in “Save the Primate Facility” t-shirts. I think it was thanks to those protests that somehow the university found the money to keep both facilities active.

After my four years at Duke I had to move to Philadelphia to go to veterinary school at The University of Pennsylvania. Even though I focused my career on small animal care, I never stopped thinking about my lemur buddies. I started donating to the Lemur Center soon after finishing veterinary school. Even when money is tight, the Center comes first.

I have visited the lemurs many times after graduating and regaled my husband and three boys with lemur stories their whole lives. I would love to retire to Durham and volunteer at the Lemur Center, as my heart is never far from my lemur buddies.


This event will be organized with the financial support of the following institutes and organizations

Africa Initative
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