Research models and services

Tina Koban

Associate Director of Behavioral Sciences

Areas of Expertise

+ Non-human primate behavior, health, socialization, enrichment, and training
+ Old world monkeys such as baboons, Rhesus, and Cynomolgus macaques
+ Project management across various business units

Specialties

+ Animal welfare

+ Project management

+ Positive reinforcement training

+ Client relations and sales

+ Customer success

+ Research

What are your responsibilities at Envigo?

My main objective is to create and develop a multi-faceted behavioral management program involving Envigo's inputs and outputs, animal welfare, and customer needs and wants. I consider the animals we're getting, where we're getting them from, how best to house them, create the best environment for them, and how to prepare them for the next phase of research. 

This also involves creating training programs for the staff so they have a better understanding of the species they're working with and how to interact with them. This creates programs for those animals to ensure they're getting the enrichment, nutrition, and positive interaction they need to best prepare them for the customer's research.

What inspired you to pursue a career in science?

I am fascinated by animals and their behavior. There is something mesmerizing about primates and monkeys, I always wanted to work with them in some capacity. I had a need to know more, to work with them and understand them. It's interesting because there are so many different environments where I could have done that. 

For me, my drive was realizing there was so much more we could do for animals in a lab setting to enrich their lives.. We need animals in research to improve human and animal health. I knew I could help make a better environment for them. 

What are some of the key attributes to being successful in your role?

Compassion for the animals and providing them with the best welfare. My main objective is to provide the best environment for them that I can with the support of internal management - providing the tools, access, and staff needed to do that. 

What is the best part of your job?

It's working with the non-human primates. They're so interesting from an evolutionary perspective. Understanding their behavior and where we evolved from is fascinating. Each primate is its own individual and has its own personality. Being able to spend time with them, observe them, and understand them on an individual basis is the most amazing thing to me. It's really rewarding to be able to use this knowledge and experience to improve their welfare in a captive environment. 

Which career achievements make you proud?

Definitely one of them was being involved in our auditing process overseas. We acquire non-human primates from breeding facilities in Asia. Initially, veterinarians would perform an audit, but I was included to provide a behavioral perspective. To help analyze, 'Okay, how are these animals behaviorally acting? How are they being housed? Is it the best? How are staff interacting with them? Is that the best way to do it?' I then provided feedback, information, and training so they could improve. To me, knowing that's where it's all initiated and having an impact from the start was huge. 

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of Envigo?

I love traveling to new countries, exploring different cultures, and being able to experience that with the my husband and two girls. We went to Costa Rica in 2019 for spring break. While there, we went to national parks on hikes where they were able to see swaths of monkeys in their natural environment, which was great. Most of my experience is with Old World monkeys so it was interesting to talk to my girls about the New World species of monkeys that we were seeing. I loved every moment that we'd wake up in the morning and hear the Howler monkeys and talk to my girls about primates and what they do. I love educating them on all of that. 

Please contact us if you have a question for Tina or would like to discover more about our non-human primate species, behavior management, and training.

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