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Tom Hamm leaves the Farm

STANFORD -- After eight years in charge of Stanford's laboratory animal facilities, Dr. Thomas E. Hamm Jr. is stepping down Sept. 30 to become a professor at the veterinary school of North Carolina State University and its dire ctor of animal resources.

As Stanford's chief veterinarian, he presided over a $30 million modernization of Stanford's laboratory animal facilities and served as founding chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine.

In his new position at North Carolina State University's Veterinary School, Hamm says he'll have more time for teaching and research and fewer administrative responsibilities than he's had at Stanford.

"I love to teach," said Hamm, "and I'm very limited in how much of that I can do here because of all my administrative duties."

A large part of Hamm's job - he recently estimated 75 to 80 percent - has been working to counter the efforts of animal-rights activists to stop biomedical research. As a result, he has had to contend with many threats to his l ife and to his staff and facility, including a Christmas Eve bomb threat several years ago.

Hamm came to Stanford to head the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine from North Carolina in 1984.

During his tenure at Stanford, Hamm oversaw the consolidation of the medical school's numerous animal laboratories into the underground Research Animal Facilities adjacent to the medical center.

"When I came to Stanford, there was very high-quality science, and I didn't see any mistreatment of animals. But the facilities were atrocious," Hamm said. "Now we have one of the best laboratory animal facilities in the worl d, and I'm extremely proud of that. No other place has 24-hour nursing care, for example.

"The quality of the science is helped as well - the humane care of research animals and good science usually go hand in hand."

About 75 percent of the medical school's principal investigators make use of laboratory animals at some stage of their research studies. On the average, about 50,000 animals from about 15 different species, mostly mice, are acc ommodated within the department's facilities.

Hamm also encouraged the establishment of the Department of Comparative Medicine, which retained the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine and created the division of comparative pathology, reflecting the school's need to prov ide critically needed research and training in the rapidly growing veterinary specialty of comparative medicine.

Hamm has had a distinguished research career in the fields of comparative medicine, toxicology, carcinogenesis and atherosclerosis. He received a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University and a Ph.D . in comparative pathology from Bowman Gray Medical School in North Carolina.

Hamm notes that during the search for his successor, the animal facility will be well staffed and led by experienced veterinarians. He gave particular credit to Joann Blume, associate director of comparative medicine, for organ izing major innovations like 24-hour nursing care.

He said he has confidence in Blum and the staff to run the clinical service and perform all the regular duties.


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