The award recognizes early-career faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences who are emerging leaders in their field of research, scholarship, or creative activity.
Hamm’s research investigates neural circuitry related to sensory processing particularly in the mammalian cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain responsible for processing language, sensory information, and other high-level functions associated with intelligence and personality.
Hamm’s work focuses on brain rhythms using advanced techniques such as two-photon microscopy, an imaging technique that allows for viewing of living tissue at greater depths than conventional methods. This research explores how neural circuits process sensory inputs and integrate this information with an individual’s past experience, predictions, and behavioral goals.
Dysfunction in this region of the brain could explain perceptual abnormalities seen in people who suffer from major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Further research could help identify markers for these diseases and, eventually, therapeutics.
Hamm has also broadened his work into research involving other areas of the brain. In one recent project, he collaborated with researchers who studied the relationship between neuron activity and blood flow deep in the brain’s hypothalamus, a region involved in body functions including drinking, eating and body temperature regulation. The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, found that how blood flowed to the hypothalamus changed in response to salt intake in unexpected ways.
Hamm earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2013. He joined the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University in 2018 after completing postdoctoral training at Columbia University.
Recipients of the Dean’s Early Career Award are selected based on outstanding achievements in research and teaching, as well as service contributions to Georgia State.
Hamm said he is honored to be recognized.
“I feel absolutely affirmed and delighted to have my work recognized with the Dean’s Early Career Award,” he said. “The Georgia State and Arts & Sciences community has been paramount to my success and the success of my students and trainees.”
The award is funded by private contributions from members of the college’s Board of Visitors and other donors to support “rising stars” among the faculty. As part of their recognition, recipients are provided $3,000 in professional development funds.