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Professor and Chair of Psychology
Stress Research Group
Melinda Novak established the UMass Primate Laboratory, a small primate facility in which students receive training in handling and managing captive primates, performing behavioral and health assessments, and conducting research. Dr. Novak is Head of the Behavioral Primatology Unit at the New England Primate Research Center at Harvard Medical School where she conducts her federally funded research on the causes of and treatment for abnormal behavior in primates. Dr. Novak is a past President of the American Society of Primatologists, a previous member of two National Academy of Sciences Committees (one on Psychological Well-being of Nonhuman Primates and the other on Recognition of Distress in Laboratory Animals), a past member of the Board of Trustees of AAALAC International, and a board member of SCAW (Scientists’ Center for Animal Welfare). She has also served on a number of advisory boards, journal editorial boards, and federal grant review panels. She regularly reviews primate facilities and provides advice and guidance on psychological well-being programs. Dr. Novak has over 100 publications related to behavioral development in rodents and primates and has given numerous invited addresses and symposium presentations. At the University level, she is a past recipient of the College Outstanding Teacher Award, The Distinguished Faculty UMass Alumni Association Award, and a recent recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, the highest honor bestowed on faculty for exemplary research and service contributions.