Prior to joining the Fire Research Division at NIST in 1989, Hamins was a Postdoctoral Research Engineer at the University of California at San Diego and a Research Scientist in the Chemistry Department at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At NIST, he has served as Project Leader (1990 – 1997), Group Leader (1998 - 2007) and Division Chief (2008-2015). His research interests include fire model validation, fire dynamics, heat and mass transfer processes in fires of multiple scales, fire suppression, flame structure, wildland-urban interface fires, and micro-gravity combustion. At NIST, he has led interdisciplinary research studies on advanced fire measurements and predictive methods, including large-scale fire experiments for validation of fire models, as well as fundamental and applied fire suppression studies for a range of applications including buildings, automobiles, aircraft, and space platforms.
Hamins has served as a Research Advisor for Post-Doctoral Research Associates, visiting scientists, and students conducting their thesis and dissertation research. He served as Vice-Chair of the International Association of Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) (2008-14) and Chair of the Research Advisory Committee of the National Fire Protection Association's Fire Protection Research Foundation (2010-12). He has served as a member of the Editorial Boards of the Fire Safety Journal and Fire Science Reviews. In 2005, Hamins received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal. He has co-authored over two-hundred journal articles and reports.