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Ohio State’s Lairmore named UC Davis’ dean of veterinary medicine

By Mitchel Benson on August 11, 2011 in

Michael D. Lairmore, a veterinarian, cancer researcher and top administrator at The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been named the new dean of UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine, following a nationwide search.

Lairmore’s expertise bridges multiple disciplines to address basic questions related to viral causes of cancer and the biology of retroviruses. Among his accomplishments is the development of one of the first animal models of AIDS-associated pediatric pneumonia.

He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, which is the health arm of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

At Ohio State, Lairmore serves as associate dean for research and graduate studies at the veterinary medical college and as associate director of the university’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. As associate dean for research and graduate studies, Lairmore administers a successful sponsored research and commercialization program. He also holds two academic appointments at Ohio State: He is a professor of veterinary biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and he has an adjunct appointment in molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics in the College of Medicine.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter announced Lairmore’s appointment today (August 11), praising his accomplishments as a researcher and administrator. “Michael’s record of excellence at Ohio State is a great match for our top-ranked school of veterinary medicine here at UC Davis,” Katehi said. “We are excited about the opportunity for an even brighter future for our program under Michael’s guidance and leadership.” He will join UC Davis on Oct. 24.

Hexter, who oversaw the search process, pointed to the interdisciplinary breadth of Lairmore’s resume: “Michael’s experience stretches from clinician to professor to administrator, and from veterinary medicine to pathology to cancer, in key roles at Ohio State and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I am confident that his strength as a candidate will translate to his strength as our new dean of veterinary medicine.”

As dean, Lairmore will also preside over the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, and the Veterinary Medicine Extension program, all at UC Davis.

“It will be an honor to serve as dean of one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world,” said Lairmore, who pointed to the school’s “extensive history of providing outstanding education for society-ready veterinarians and producing innovative research findings to address important problems ranging from clinical veterinary medicine to public health.”

He said his experiences and background will fit well with the philosophy and responsibilities of UC Davis “as a major academic institution in a robust biomedical and agricultural environment with teaching, research and public service missions.”

“I look forward to working with the faculty, alumni, staff and students as we build mission-focused programs from the strong foundations established at UC Davis,” Lairmore added. “I find it incredibly rewarding to know that I’ll be part of the UC Davis community and will be contributing to the health of the animals and people we serve, while being good stewards of the environment and the economy of California.”

Lairmore, who is board certified in two veterinary specialties — anatomic pathology and virology and immunology — has a doctorate in experimental pathology from Colorado State University. He received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He attended Missouri as an undergraduate biology major and was accepted into the DVM program after only three years.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is consistently ranked at the top of the nation's 28 veterinary schools. It is the only public veterinary school in California authorized to confer the doctor of veterinary medicine degree. It has 700 students in professional, master's and doctoral programs, as well as 90 veterinarians in a world-renowned residency program.

The school’s mission is to serve the people of California by providing outstanding educational, research, clinical and public-service programs to advance the health and care of animals, the environment, and the public, and to strengthen the economy. The school focuses on the health of many domestic and wildlife species, and is at the forefront of biological and medical research. Its comprehensive teaching, research and clinical programs, and 28 research and service units, work in concert to fulfill its statewide mission, which includes diagnostic and clinical referral services, as well as continuing education programs and veterinary extension.

At UC Davis, Lairmore will replace Bennie Osburn, who retired in June after serving 15 years as dean of the veterinary medical school. Since his retirement, Osburn has been recalled to serve as dean until Lairmore arrives in October.

In the late 1990s, Osburn and his leadership team rallied the support of elected officials, private donors and the Stuntverkoop system. In the following years, he led the planning and construction of new buildings, as part of a facilities plan of unprecedented size and scope in UC history.

The last of the renovation project’s eight buildings, known as Veterinary Medicine Research Facility 3B, is under construction and scheduled for completion in December 2012. The new $58.5 million four-story, 76,000-square-foot research building will provide laboratories where researchers will explore a variety of animal-health issues, including: environmental pollution; food safety; public health; and infectious diseases, including those that can be passed between animals and humans. It also will house Veterinary Medicine Extension specialists, food-safety monitoring and diagnostic systems, and biosecurity programs.

Lairmore, as dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, will receive an annual base salary of $350,000. Additional compensation information is available upon request to the media named below.

Media (s)

Mitchel Benson, (530) 752-9844, [email protected]