Case Study

Emory University

Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Emory University consistently ranks as one of the top universities in Georgia, and its writing, psychiatry, business, history, and English programs rank nationally. The school is passionate about excellence and discovery, and those passions are lived out at the university’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

The Yerkes Research Center came under care of Emory University in 1956, a time when primate research was bringing about significant advancements in disease prevention (the first polio vaccination among them). Yerkes is one of only seven nationally-funded Primate Research Centers, and it is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for safety and compliance. That’s where Salas O’Brien stepped in to help.

Our team has performed mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering for multiple projects at Yerkes. The first was a 16,000-square-foot biosafety laboratory designated for AIDS research. Our team completed designs for fire protection systems, a pressure gauge control system, and air, gas, and vacuum systems (including HEPA filters for the supply and exhaust systems).

Similar services were provided for a 12,000-square-foot laboratory—with HEPA filtration implemented for supply and exhaust systems and designs completed for air, gas, vacuum, and fire protection systems as well as for glass and polyproylene acid waste management.

The final project included four 5,000-square-foot research animal enclosure facilities. The systems for animal housing were designed to meet the Department of Health and Human Services requirements for responsible laboratory animal care, including a 100% outside air systems and systems for disease control.

With Salas O’Brien’s help, Yerkes is able to maintain its high standards for safety and accountability as it continues to advance scientific understanding and discovery.


Atlanta, Georgia

Construction Cost:
$3.6 Million (project 1)
$2.4 Million (project 2)
$1.7 Million (project 3)

Project Size:
16,000 Square Feet (project 1)
2,000 Square Feet (project 2)
20,000 Square Feet (project 3)

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering as well as Fire Protection