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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 21, 2006

Hammond Named Interim Head Of Pharmacology

Donna L. Hammond, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and anesthesia and chair of anesthesia research at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been named interim head of the Department of Pharmacology, effective March 1.

Hammond, a UI faculty member since 2000, will serve as interim head while a nationwide search is conducted to fill the position vacated by Gerald Gebhart, Ph.D., who is leaving the UI to accept a position at the University of Pittsburgh.

"We are pleased that Dr. Hammond has agreed to accept this key leadership role," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "I am confident that the qualities that make her an outstanding scientist, teacher and scholar will serve her well as interim head of pharmacology."

Robillard also expressed gratitude to Gebhart for his years of service. Gebhart joined the department in 1973 and has served as head of pharmacology since 1996.

"Jerry has provided exceptional leadership for the department and the college. Without question, his skills, his professionalism and his demeanor have helped build the solid reputation the Department of Pharmacology holds today," Robillard said.

Hammond, whose primary faculty appointment is in anesthesia, studies the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropharmacology of central nervous system  (CNS) pathways that convey and control pain. Her research focuses principally on chronic pain states, such as those that develop after nerve crush, inflammation of soft tissues, or diseases like diabetes or shingles. Her laboratory is particularly interested in understanding how synaptic connections between neurons in the brain and the spinal cord reorganize after injury in a manner that supports the persistence of pain. Insights from these studies could lead to the development of more effective drug treatments for persistent pain.

Hammond received a bachelor's degree in biochemical pharmacology from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1975 and a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1980. Before joining the UI, Hammond was an associate professor in the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. Prior to her academic career, Hammond worked in the pharmaceutical industry for seven years as a group leader for G.D. Searle and Company.

Hammond has published over 70 scientific research papers and she holds a patent from her work in the pharmaceutical industry. Hammond's pain research has received national recognition; she was awarded the 2001, John J. Bonica Award by the American Society for Regional Anesthesia for contributions to pain research. In addition to leading two National Institutes of Health-funded research studies, Hammond also is principal investigator for an NIH-funded interdisciplinary training program in pain research aimed at equipping young physician scientists for a research career in pain medicine. The training fellowships are offered through the UI Pain Research Program.

Hammond also is a faculty member of the UI Biosciences Program and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neurosciences and a mentor in the UI Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

Hammond's salary will be $160,371.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, 319-335-9917