Give now!
Zoobiquity Conference

Zoobiquity Conference 2019

Fri, September 13, 2019 - Fri, September 13, 2019

The Zoobiquity Conferences bring leaders in human and veterinary medicine, wildlife biology, conservation and evolutionary biology, and behavioral ecology together for collaborations in research, clinical care and public health. These transdisciplinary conferences create greater awareness of the species-spanning nature of health and disease and accelerate biomedical innovation through scientific collaboration between a diverse range of experts in human and animal health.

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Frans de Waal as our keynote speaker. An overview of his presentation can be found below. 

His book, Mama's Last Hug Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves, pays homage to Mama, the alpha female of a famous chimpanzee colony on a forested island at Burgers’ Zoo, the Netherlands. Mama died at the age of 59. Her last hug with Professor Jan van Hooff went viral on the Internet. I will discuss their encounter.

I will review evidence for animal emotions, starting with primate facial expressions. These expressions are sometimes described as grimaces -- misled by the apes in Hollywood movies, who are trained to pull weird faces -- but primates have an incredible variety of expressions that are as meaningful to them as our own expressions are to us. They  laugh when tickled, pout when disappointed, and stare with a frown when angry. Charles Darwin concluded long ago that if apes use expressions similar to ours under similar circumstances, the underlying emotions are probably similar, too.

Feelings behind emotions are harder to know, however. In humans, we often get our information from language, a somewhat questionable source. With animals we don’t have this luxury, hence feelings remain inaccessible. But the emotions themselves are visible and measurable as they are expressed in the body and lead to behavioral changes. Animal emotions have become a respectable topic of study.

All of our emotions can be found one way or another in other species. The whole idea that there is just a handful of “basic” or “primary” emotions (fear, anger, joy), and that all other emotions (jealousy, guilt, love, hope) are uniquely human doesn’t make sense. Emotions are like organs. We possess not a single organ that is unique to us. Similarly, although we have emotions that go deeper or are more varied than in other species, none of them is entirely new. I’ll discuss empathy and disgust as examples.

Event Agenda

Coming Soon!

Event Sponsors

Event Speakers

Frans B. M. de Waal, PhD


Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. His first book, Chimpanzee Politics (1982), he compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. His scientific work has been published in hundreds of technical articles in journals such as Science, Nature, Scientific American, and outlets specialized in animal behavior. His popular books - translated into 20+ languages - have made him one of the world’s most visible primatologists. His latest books are Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are? (Norton, 2016) and Mama’s Last Hug (Norton, 2019). De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was selected in 2007 by Time as one of The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today.

Sonia M. Hernandez, DVM, DACZM, PhD


Sonia is a Professor who has been in a joint position at the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources and the College of Veterinary Medicine—at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study since 2008. She holds a DVM from LSU and PhD in Ecology from UGA. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine. She teaches various courses to undergraduate, graduate and veterinary students, including Wildlife Disease Investigation for graduate students and a study abroad Conservation Medicine & Biology course in Costa Rica. Her lab is dedicated to investigating wildlife diseases, and specifically how human activities affect the ecology, health/diseases of wildlife. She is widely published in the field of wildlife diseases. In 2013 she received Warnell’s Outstanding Teaching Award, in 2017 she was awarded the University-wide Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2018, Professor of the Year at Warnell. She is the proud mom of Paxton, and twins, Ashton and Maya.

Hayley Murphy, DVM


Dr. Hayley Weston Murphy, graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. Dr. Murphy then worked full time as a small animal and equine veterinarian for 3 years after graduation. She was accepted into a veterinary internship at Zoo New England (Boston, MA) in 1995, where she eventually became the Director of Veterinary Services 2008. Dr. Murphy started at Zoo Atlanta in 2009 and is currently the Deputy Director. She is a recent graduate of the Executive Leadership Development program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is also founder and director of the Great Ape Heart Project, based at Zoo Atlanta and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Dr. Murphy is a veterinary advisor to the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) and chair of the Veterinary Advisory group for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Scientific Advisory Group. When not at work- she is the mother of two children and wife to Dr. David Murphy, a small animal veterinarian in Kennesaw, GA.

John Peroni, DVM, MS, DACVS


Megin Nichols, DVM, MPH, DACVPM


Megin Nichols serves as the Enteric Zoonoses Activity Lead at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this role, she works on multistate outbreaks of Salmonella and E. coli resulting from exposure to animals and animal products. She received a bachelors degree in Animal Science from New Mexico State University, a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University and a masters in public health in Food Safety and Biosecurity from the University of Minnesota. Her areas of research interest include: impact of the exotic pet trade on native species, zoonotic disease, food safety and biosecurity, public health law and pediatric vaccine-preventable diseases.

Contact Information

Contact: Cheryl Kennedy
Phone: 706.542-1451

Travel Information

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the most convenient airport to use when attending a conference in Athens.  Groome Transportation offers an excellent shuttle service to and from the Atlanta Airport and Athens.  For more information and to schedule a reservation, please visit

Event Hotels

Emory Conference Center Hotel  1615 Clifton Road NE Atlanta, Georgia 30329 (404) 712-6000 

Please mention the UGA/Georgia CTSA Zoobiquity Conference when calling to reserve your room. 

*Registration fee includes: continental breakfast, refreshment breaks, lunch, and instructional materials.

Refund/Cancellation Policy:

  • Non-Lab Conference: Refunds are available for cancellations made by 5 p.m. ET, 10 days prior to the beginning of your event.
  • Wet Lab Conference: Refunds are available for cancellations made by 5 p.m., 45 days prior to the beginning of your event.
  • If a course is cancelled for any reason, the CVM will not be responsible for any charges related to travel.
  • For courtesy and liability reasons, we prohibit children and domestic animals (except working animals, e.g., guide dogs) at our CE conferences.
  • Each conference participant may receive mail from companies or individuals who have obtained names and addresses from course registrations as permitted by the Georgia Open Records Act.

The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, to conducting research related to animal diseases, and to providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Our research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock, and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share.

Registration is Closed.

Be part of the CVM Team. Give today!