Melinda Novak is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She served as Department Chair when the Rudd endowment was initially established and continues to have a strong interest in the program. She 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. 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. 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.