$3.5M gift establishes professorship in applied reproductive medicine

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A foundation dedicated to preserving diverse livestock germ plasm is giving Tufts University $3.5 million to fund a professorship in applied reproductive medicine.

The Rhode Island–based Swiss Village Farm Foundation and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University have collaborated since 2001, and the foundation announced in December 2021 that the organization had completed its 20-year mission to cryopreserve the genetics of rare and endangered domestic livestock breeds, according to information from the foundation and tufts. The collaborators have collected and preserved more than 100,000 samples of germ plasm, blood, and somatic cells from 1,100-plus animals of 36 breeds, and that seed bank is stored at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.

A Dorset Horn ram that lived at the Swiss Village Farm Foundation property in Rhode Island (Photo by Greg Cima)

The SVF Foundation’s gift to Tufts creates the Dorrance H. Hamilton Professorship in Applied Reproductive Medicine, which is named for the philanthropist who founded the SVF Foundation. The position will be based in the Department of Ambulatory Medicine and Theriogenology, which includes the Tufts Veterinary Field Service that cares for about 55,000 animals annually, mostly dairy cattle, an announcement from Tufts states.

“What is unique about this professorship is that it will focus on bringing together genomics and advanced reproductive technologies to support animal health and productivity, using genomic resources that have been preserved through the collaboration between Cummings School and the Swiss Village Farm Foundation,” said Dr . Alastair Cribb, dean of the Cummings School, in the announcement. “The foresight of Dorrance Hamilton will continue to have an impact through this professorship and will ensure that we continue our history of excellence in education, research, and veterinary care in applied animal reproduction.”