UNM Research News

Call opens for 2017 Women In STEM awards at UNM

The awards are supported by an anonymous gift made to UNM to support research by, and professorships for, women faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Income from investment from this gift will be used to help UNM women tenure-track and tenured assistant and associate STEM professors to establish new lines of research and to develop research collaborations. Awards range from $3,000 to $15,000.

“Small awards can make a big difference when faculty have new ideas or want to start a new collaboration. We look forward to helping another group of outstanding women STEM faculty make research progress,” said Julia Fulghum, director of Advance at UNM, a National Science Foundation-funded project that aims to boost the number of women and minorities in STEM fields at the university.

Eligible applicants include tenure-track and tenured women faculty members at UNM who hold the rank of assistant or associate professor and who are pursuing research in areas supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (non-clinical) or the Department Of Energy.

Three types of grants will be awarded: 1) travel awards to foster collaborations, 2) seed awards to stimulate research projects that will lead to additional external funding, and 3) workshop awards, which are designed to generate innovative research ideas and collaborations.

Proposals are due Feb. 15. Decisions will announced by March 15.

Earlier this year, seven women were awarded the 2016 Women In STEM awards. They were: Christina Salas of the Mechanical Engineering and Orthopaedics Departments; Katie Witkiewitz of the Department of Psychology; Lindsay Worthington of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Mousumi Roy of Physics and Astronomy; Jingjing Wang in UNM’s Department of Economics; Jessica Feezell in the Political Science Department and  Siobhan Mattison of the Anthropology Department. 

Read more about the winners here.

]]>Inside UNMFaculty NewsBiologyChemistryGeographyPhysics & AstronomySchool of EngineeringResearchWed, 11 Jan 2017 19:51:16 GMTThe awards are supported by an anonymous gift made to UNM to support research by, and professorships for, women faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Income from investment from this gift will be used to help UNM women...Kate Cunninghamhttp://news.unm.edu/news/call-opens-for-2017-women-in-stem-awards-at-unmWed, 11 Jan 2017 19:34:00 GMT

AFRL, UNM collaborate to mentor undergrads

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base and The University of New Mexico have established a successful UNM+AFRL Mentoring program that promises benefits to the community and the nation.

The program matches UNM undergraduate students with AFRL scientists and engineers (S&E), military or civilian, to provide personal and professional mentorship. The program began in the fall of 2015 with eight mentors. It now has 20 AFRL researchers and three UNM students as mentors, with an equal number of mentees.

Capt. Timothy Wolfe, an AFRL electrical engineer working on his doctorate at UNM, has been a mentor since the program’s beginning.

“I believe that stronger community building through mentorship and outreach programs like this are crucial to solving many of the current problems identified in maintaining a strong and healthy STEM culture and knowledge base,” Wolfe said.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Wolfe has mentored two students.
 

Air Force Research Laboratory mentors (l. to r.) Capt. Timothy Wolfe, Imelda Atencio and Lt. Evan Threlkeld hold posters announcing The UNM STEM Collaborative Center during a visit to that center. 
 

“What we talk about varies according to student needs,” he said.

His discussions with students usually focus on coping with stressors in their field, study techniques, professional development, course planning and opportunities such as internships and special scholarships.

Wolfe’s first student, Benjamin Zamora Urioste, joined the program in its first semester and still participates. Urioste recently received one of four “I Am STEM” awards UNM presented to undergraduates for commitment to STEM success for themselves and their communities through exceptional campus and community engagement. He now mentors a student.

Wolfe is mentoring Maria Oroyan, a junior in chemical engineering and an “I Am STEM” award winner.

“One of the greatest benefits of the mentoring program is developing lifelong mentoring relationships,” Oroyan said.

She is also working with Wolfe to mentor another UNM student.

“Both of my mentees have embraced the concept of cultivating the next ‘wave’ of students behind them, so that those students can then become strong leaders of their peers as well,” Wolfe said. “Both saw palpable gains in their confidence and comfort level as leaders, and see taking care of their mentees as major components of their leadership.”

Wolfe and AFRL mentor and scientist Imelda Atencio believe such programs are a terrific way for lab researchers to promote leadership and teamwork, and have the potential to increase the Air Force’s cadre of scientists and engineers.

“I think mentoring is an essential part of being a professional S&E,” Atencio said.

UNM is recruiting mentors and students for the spring. AFRL researchers can contact program coordinator Tara Hackel at tshackel@unm.edu before Jan. 30 for more information or to join.

]]>Latest NewsResearchWed, 11 Jan 2017 19:33:18 GMTThe Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base and The University of New Mexico have established a successful UNM+AFRL Mentoring program that promises benefits to the community and the nation. The program matches UNM undergraduate students...Jeanne Dailey, AFRLhttp://news.unm.edu/news/afrl-unm-collaborate-to-mentor-undergradsWed, 11 Jan 2017 19:10:00 GMT

Werner-Washburne receives AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement

Margaret Werner-Washburne, Regents Professor Emerita of Biology at The University of New Mexico and principal investigator of the UNM-IMSD program, will receive the Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The distinction honors her work in mentoring and research that led to a significant increase in Hispanic and Native American doctorates in the biological sciences.

In almost 30 years of scientific research, Werner-Washburne has mentored more than 118 underrepresented students who have Ph.D.s or are working toward Ph.D. degrees, AAAS noted. Of those who have earned Ph.D.s, 41 were Hispanic/Latino, nine Native American and three African-American.

Werner-Washburne mentored undergraduate students in her laboratory through programs that encouraged underrepresented racial and/or ethnic minority students to pursue doctorates and through the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science SACNAS. Her mentees have gone on to work in academia and industry, in fields from computer science to genomics and biochemistry to chemical engineering, and are becoming leaders in STEM research, education, and diversity, according to AAAS.

“Imagine, if the first 300 mentees all mentor 100 students, in 3 generations, we’ll have touched the lives of 300 million people.” – Margaret Werner-Washburne, Regents Professor Emerita of Biology

In 2004, Werner-Washburne became principal investigator of UNM’s NIH-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), an undergraduate mentoring program that prepares students for graduate school. Over 300 students have participated in the initiative since 2004. In recent years, well over 70 percent of the students have entered Ph.D. programs. Werner-Washburne attributes the success of her program to the lessons she learned from her family.  One of the most important steps in the program is for each student to “know their heart” or find out what they love. Once students know that, they have self-motivation and the rest is fun, said Werner-Washburne.

Several years ago, Werner-Washburne added a mentoring program for freshmen, sophomores and transfer students, targeting Native American students. The program, Pathways Scholars, has increased the retention/graduation rate significantly for all students, but, most importantly, by almost 70 percent for Native American students. In the future, Werner-Washburne hopes to find ways to replicate the Pathways Scholars Program in other schools, including tribal colleges.

Werner-Washburne was nominated by Juan C. Meza, dean of the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California, Merced. Meza has worked with Werner-Washburne on the board of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), where she was president in 2013 and 2014.

In a nomination letter sent to AAAS, Meza wrote that Werner-Washburne has been a “selfless and dedicated mentor to many hundreds of students” throughout her career. Meza said, “I was especially honored to work with Maggie during her time as president of SACNAS. She worked tirelessly initiating new activities and served as an incredible role model to students in all areas.”

One former IMSD student, Erik Arellano, arrived at the University of New Mexico in 2008 after eight years of military service. Arellano, a Hispanic first-generation college student, was in IMSD as an undergraduate and wrote in his letter of support that he felt severe anxiety and insecurity upon entering his first lab. He wrote that Werner-Washburne helped him realize that he was “not only good enough to be in a high-end research lab, but that [he] could excel in that environment.”

Because of Werner-Washburne, Arellano wrote that he found the boldness to dream bigger than the life of poverty in which he was raised. “Having spent eight years leading men into conflict, I can honestly say that Dr. Werner-Washburne’s ability to recognize and repair deep-seeded and complicated issues in her mentees is of the highest order,” Arellano wrote.

Werner-Washburne stays in touch with many of her mentees and is happy to see so many are successful mentors themselves. “Imagine,” she said, “if the first 300 mentees all mentor 100 students, in 3 generations, we’ll have touched the lives of 300 million people.”

In 1999, Werner-Washburne received the National Science Foundation Director’s Special Service Award. Werner-Washburne was also honored by Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. She received the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the first President Bush in 1990 and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring from his son in 2004.

She was elected a Fellow of AAAS in 2006 and served on the AAAS Biological Sciences Steering committee from 2008 to 2012. In addition, she has served on the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Advisory Council and as a board member and president of SACNAS. She has also been affiliated with the American Society for Cell Biology and the Genetics Society of America.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University in Stanford, California in 1971 and her Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii. Werner-Washburne earned her Ph.D. degree in Botany from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1984, where she also did her post-doctoral research.

Her research career focused on HSP70s and stationary phase in yeast. She has been a co-principal investigator for the model organism database FlyBase at Harvard. Werner-Washburne’s scholarly work and service were recognized in 2011 with the Harvard Foundation’s Scientist of the Year Award.

“One can think of few people who have done more to advance the goal of increasing underrepresented minorities and women in the biological sciences than Dr. Werner-Washburne,” said Meza. “She has provided mentorship and guidance to countless students, who will doubtless go on to have their own successes in science. Her impact will be felt for many years to come.”

The AAAS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement honors AAAS members who have mentored significant numbers of underrepresented students working toward completion of a Ph.D. in STEM and/or are significantly affecting the climate of a department, college or institution, or field in such a manner as to significantly increase the diversity of students pursuing and completing Ph.D.s in STEM fields.

To be considered for the Lifetime Mentor category, candidates must demonstrate scholarship, activism and community building. Nominees must have more than 25 years of mentoring experience. The award includes a $5,000 prize, a commemorative plaque and complimentary registration to the AAAS Annual Meeting, as well as reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the meeting.

The award will be bestowed upon Werner-Washburne during the 183rd AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, Feb. 16-20, 2017. The AAAS Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held Friday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Republic Ballroom of the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

]]>Latest NewsBiologyResearchWed, 11 Jan 2017 19:06:05 GMTMargaret Werner-Washburne, Regents Professor Emerita of Biology at The University of New Mexico and principal investigator of the UNM-IMSD program, will receive the Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science...http://news.unm.edu/news/werner-washburne-receives-aaas-mentor-award-for-lifetime-achievementWed, 11 Jan 2017 16:00:00 GMT

UNM's 2016 top-10 research news stories

The University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) Department at The University of New Mexico annually compiles a list of its top-10 research news stories during the course of the year. Below is the list of UNM's top-10 research news stories for 2016. The stories are in random order.

Scientists discover hidden galaxies behind Milky Way
Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been studied for the first time by a team of international scientists, including UNM Physics and Astronomy Professor Patricia Henning, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the ‘Great Attractor.’ 

An afternoon walk and a mammoth find
It began with a man walking along a shallow wash near Abiquiu, New Mexico one afternoon and noticing some flakes of what looked like bone. He happened to be walking near the property line, maybe on his neighbor’s property. So he went to visit his neighbor, to tell him about the find.

Zach Sharp, Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, conducts and experiment in the UNM-CSI lab. Sharp is the director of the newly-opened UNM-CSI lab.

UNM-CSI features world class stable isotope research
It started with a vision – a vision to build a world class research-focused laboratory to support stable isotope research while providing hands on instruction that also encourages a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas and techniques. The result is the UNM-CSI or Center for Stable Isotopes.

UNM research reveals big benefits to housing homeless population
A new report from The University of New Mexico Institute for Social Research could help change the way cities, counties and states deal with homelessness. The study, which researchers say is one of the most comprehensive looks at the economic impact of homelessness to-date, shows it actually costs less to house chronically homeless people than to leave them on the streets.

UNM alumnus plays role in gravitational waves discovery
It is considered by many to be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the past century. For the first time an international group of researchers, including a University of New Mexico alumnus, have detected the existence of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime, confirming a portion of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity.

UNM researchers exploring how to control bacterial growth on sensitive surfaces
Bacteria is such a common part of our world most of us don’t think much about it, but when bacteria grows prolifically on some surfaces it can cause major problems. One example is bacterial growth on a urinary catheter, another is bacterial growth on the hulls of ships. 

New DNA sequencing tech could revolutionize industry
The advancement of the study of the human genome is considered by many to be one of the most significant scientific achievements in modern history. Now, a new technique developed at The University of New Mexico will change the way researchers sequence DNA, what they’re able to learn from it and how many lives they’re able to save.

The dead still speak at UNM’s Human Osteology Lab
Inside an aged, unassuming laboratory in UNM’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, a group of scientists look to the dead for answers.

Optical physicists record lowest temperature ever in solids using laser cooling
When most people think about lasers, they usually imagine them generating heat and even setting something on fire. But, for a group of scientists in The University of New Mexico’s Department of Physics & Astronomy, lasers are actually being used to reach temperatures colder than the arctic circle.

Research links parental relationship quality to a child’s intelligence
The race is on. Children spend more of their time in classrooms and participating in organized activities than any other generation. As part of this frantic feat, Americans are spending around $7 billion annually on supplemental education to ensure their children do well on the highly competitive education circuit. What researchers at UNM have found is if parents can’t get along with each other, then all this conditioning is moot. 

Tobias Fischer collects measurements of volcanic sulfur dioxide in the sky overhead using a Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometer on the summit of Kanaga volcano in the Western Aleutian Islands. 

Exhaling Earth: scientists closer to forecasting volcanic eruptions
On average, 40 volcanoes on land erupt into the atmosphere each month, while scores of others on the seafloor erupt into the ocean. A new time-lapse animation uniting volcanoes, earthquakes, and gaseous emissions reveals unforgettably the large, rigid plates that make the outermost shell of Earth and suggests the immense heat and energy beneath them seeking to escape.

UNM technology playing crucial role in Large Hadron Collider discoveries
Near Geneva, Switzerland, an experimental facility, 17-miles in diameter, shoots protons at almost the speed of light to see what happens when they crash into one another. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is located at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator on the planet. Several experiments take data at the LHC, including the largest called ATLAS. And, on the other side of the world, in The University of New Mexico’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, a research group is making big contributions to this massive experiment more than 5,000 miles away.

]]>Latest NewsAnthropologyBiologyChemistryEarth & Planetary SciencesPhysics & AstronomySchool of EngineeringCollege of EducationResearchThu, 22 Dec 2016 21:42:17 GMTThe University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) Department at The University of New Mexico annually compiles a list of its top-10 research news stories during the course of the year. Below is the list of UNM's top-10 research news stories for 2016. The...http://news.unm.edu/news/unm-s-2016-top-10-research-news-storiesThu, 22 Dec 2016 21:10:00 GMT

Heinrich announces funding for Innovative STEM Education Program at KAFB 

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently announced $25 million in authorized funding for the continuation of the nationwide STARBASE program, which motivates fifth grade students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through hands-on learning in collaboration with military installations.

The program in New Mexico is based at Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) La Luz Academy where scientists, engineers, and military volunteers from AFRL and other Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) organizations apply abstract principles to real world situations by giving students from across New Mexico interactive demonstrations on the use of STEM in different settings and careers.

"We need more New Mexico students who are passionate about STEM to fill the in-demand jobs at our national labs and military installations," said Heinrich. "STARBASE is a highly effective program that strengthens the relationships between the military, communities, and local school districts. The program at AFRL's La Luz Academy exposes students to STEM at a critical age and puts them on the path to become the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs."

Before the announcement, Heinrich toured La Luz Academy and met with students who have participated in the STARBASE program. The STARBASE program at La Luz Academy is geared toward students who are historically under-represented in the STEM fields and allows them to participate in a 25-hour hands-on curriculum where they solve scientific challenges related to aerospace.  In New Mexico, the program has served nearly 10,000 5th grade students.

The announcement was made at KAFB where Heinrich was joined by Kelly Hammett, director of AFRL Directed Energy; Ronda Cole, director of La Luz Academy; and Chaouki Abdallah, provost, The University of New Mexico. 

Heinrich also discussed giving the Department of Defense civilian on-campus recruiting authority, which enables AFRL, White Sands Missile Range, and other installations specializing in research, development, testing, and evaluation to hire from New Mexico's academic institutions.

"The long-term success of Kirtland Air Force Base can be enhanced by our college graduates, which is why I helped create a new direct-hire authority to allow Department of Defense recruiters to hire the best graduates directly from university campuses, including UNM, New Mexico Tech, and New Mexico State," said Heinrich. "This measure, along with the continuation of the STARBASE program, will strengthen the STEM pipeline and ensure that New Mexicans are prepared for the jobs of the future."

"Directed energy is a new frontier for national security research, and UNM has been a leader in that arena for more than 20 years," said Abdallah. "Along with our partners in the Air Force Research Lab, and at Kirtland Air Force Base, we are determined to be at the forefront of this research and to provide exciting new opportunities for students and important career prospects with the DOD.” 

In addition to these provisions, Heinrich also highlighted $183 million for research and development of directed energy weapon systems and other key advancements he secured in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to benefit New Mexico's men and women in uniform, military installations, national laboratories, and job creation throughout the state.  For a full list of measures secured in the NDAA for New Mexico, click here.

The NDAA sets spending levels and policies for fiscal year 2017. NDAA authorizes funding for the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons programs at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as the Department of Energy's environmental cleanup programs including the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

]]>Latest NewsGovernment RelationsResearchAdministrationWed, 21 Dec 2016 20:13:22 GMTU.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently announced $25 million in authorized funding for the continuation of the nationwide STARBASE program, which motivates fifth grade students to explore Science,...http://news.unm.edu/news/heinrich-announces-funding-for-innovative-stem-education-program-at-kafbWed, 21 Dec 2016 17:28:00 GMT

Engineering students learn how to design bridges using 3D printing

Students in The University of New Mexico Department of Civil Engineering designed and built a railroad bridge this semester, which may not seem like an unusual feat for these students. But, this group of budding engineers did it a little differently – with the aid of 3D printing.

Students in Fernando Moreu’s Civil Engineering 410 (structural design for non-structural engineers) course were tasked with designing a bridge using the typical method of calculating load, stress, materials and other details, then putting them into blueprint form. But, instead of just putting them on paper or in a software program, they were assigned to take it a step further and actually put their designs into a 3D printer to build a miniature bridge to their specifications.

Moreu said the idea of using 3D printing in a classroom setting is very new. He got the idea to incorporate it into his class from a book he recently read called “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Student Michael McAninch supervises the fabrication of one of the floor beams at the Social Media Workgroup.
 

“Like sensors, 3D printing is one of those exponentially changing discoveries,” he said. “It’s a new idea now, but everybody will be using 3D printing in five years.”

Moreu, an assistant professor in civil engineering, said this gives students valuable experience in how engineers work in industry, translating plans into reality. The 3D printing component makes the numbers and blueprints more real, he said.

Students in the design course were tasked with completing design projects that expose them to real deadlines, engineering codes, deliverables, scheduling and a final presentation of their work to a hypothetical board of governors that selected the best group to do the project.

He said the students had to learn the 3D printing technology very quickly, and they had no problem being up to the task.

“The students didn’t know anything about 3D printing, so they had to learn,” Moreu said. “But it’s not a matter of being easy or hard. It was something they were interested in learning about, and because of that, they were able to learn fast.”

Students were able to use two 3D printers, in which they could print out different kinds of materials, through a partnership with the Social Media Workgroup at UNM and its director, Andrea Polli, a professor of art.

Moreu first offered the course in fall 2015, but added the 3D component this semester. Students in the course said the 3D experience was valuable to them.

“Normally we would use structural software for a project like this, but with this, I got a physical feel for what we were building,” said Aron Robbins, a senior in civil engineering.

Another student, Michael McAninch, a senior in civil engineering, said he thought what he learned in the project would be immediately transferrable to a career.

“It taught me about the process of a project, because with the 3D printers you can only print one piece of the project at a time, so you have to figure out which pieces to print in what order and how to put them together, just like in real life,” he said.

Students in Fernando Moreu's class display a model of their bridge. 
 

Moreu said studying structures can be intimidating, especially for students not specializing in that area, but adding the 3D component in the course makes it easier to understand.

“There is a little fear of this area, but when they create something they can see and touch, it makes it seem less complicated and may even encourage some students to want to do further study in the area of structures,” he said. “It’s a great example of active learning and empowering students, and it allows them to see their work and catch mistakes early in the project.”

Moreu said he is planning to incorporate 3D printing into other courses in the future. He said in addition to the 3D component for this course, he incorporated guests from industry to speak to his class and included a segment at the beginning of the semester where students investigated the rail bridge on Central Avenue, becoming familiar with topics such as loading, impact, track design, cost-effective solutions and constructability. 

]]>Latest NewsSchool of EngineeringCivil EngineeringResearchThu, 15 Dec 2016 18:49:26 GMTStudents in The University of New Mexico Department of Civil Engineering designed and built a railroad bridge this semester, which may not seem like an unusual feat for these students. But, this group of budding engineers did it a little differently – with the aid of 3D printing.Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/engineering-students-learn-how-to-design-bridges-using-3d-printingWed, 14 Dec 2016 17:00:00 GMT

UNM professor named 2016 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Gabriel P. López, vice president for Research and professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The University of New Mexico has been named a 2016 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI announced today that it has chosen a cohort of 175 inventors from around the world for election as 2016 NAI Fellows.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.  

With the election of the 2016 class there are now 757 NAI Fellows, representing 229 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The 2016 Fellows are named inventors on 5,437 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 26,000.

The STC Board of Directors nominated López for the national honor.

“Dr. López was the STC 2016 Innovation Fellow for his achievements in developing a large portfolio of patented biomaterials technologies at UNM that have high economic impact and societal benefit worldwide,” said STC Board Chair Sandra Begay. “He has also developed innovative research programs for faculty and students as the founding director of UNM’s Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBME). The goals of CBME are to improve healthcare and outcomes for New Mexicans and to contribute to the growth of the biotechnology industry in the state of New Mexico by creating biomedical technologies for commercial development and new company formation. We are delighted that Dr. López has received this honor.”

We are excited at the possibilities to come for UNM’s research mission... We are very fortunate to work with such a remarkable inventor. —STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila

López’s main research focus—biomaterials science—pulls from the disciplines of medicine, biology, chemistry, tissue engineering and materials science to create new materials. These are generally materials developed for medical applications or applications in which there is some biological context or interaction with a living system. Biomaterials can be composed of natural substances or synthesized substances, such as polymers, that can be part of or a whole living structure or device that performs or replaces a natural function. Heart value implants, urinary catheters and engineered particles as drug carriers are good examples. 

“Dr. López’s research discoveries, outstanding inventions, and program leadership are all the more remarkable considering the many hats an academic researcher, inventor and administrator must wear,” said STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila. “We are excited at the possibilities to come for UNM’s research mission, its faculty and its students as he leads our efforts to achieve even greater levels of outstanding research and innovation. We are very fortunate to work with such a remarkable inventor and honored that Dr. López has been chosen as a 2016 NAI Fellow.”

In his career as an inventor at UNM, López has used smart polymers to create environmentally friendly, anti-fouling films, and hybrid biomimetic membranes that can separate different sized molecules at the micro- and nanoscale, particularly applicable for microfluidic devices. His technologies are being used to develop innovations in flow cytometers; particle separation for drug discovery, rare cell detection and environmental sensing; and antimicrobial biofilms and coatings for better ways to disinfect surgical instruments, medical devices and filtration systems.

López has published approximately 200 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters. He has served as PI or co-PI on grants totaling approximately $46 million and his research has been supported by several sources. He has been granted many awards and honors for his research, including the W. Moulton Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Washington. He was named “One of the 100 Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business for 2006” by the editors of Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology.

The 2016 Fellows will be inducted on April 6 as part of the Sixth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston. U.S. Commissioner for Patents, Andrew H. Hirshfeld will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony.

]]>Inside UNMResearchWed, 14 Dec 2016 00:10:04 GMTGabriel P. López, vice president for Research and professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The University of New Mexico has been named a 2016 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI announced today that it has chosen a...http://news.unm.edu/news/unm-professor-named-2016-fellow-of-the-national-academy-of-inventorsTue, 13 Dec 2016 23:53:00 GMT

Ecological Science to benefit from UNM data initiative

While there is a trend in the field of ecology towards collecting data with automated sensors (e.g., the National Ecological Observatory Network), individual investigators and independent research projects still generate much ecological data through field observations and experiments.

Because these small projects do not have the resources or technical expertise to link with national data repositories, there is a danger that data collected by these projects will not be documented or curated appropriately and therefore be lost forever to science (e.g., dark data).

To address this problem, investigators at The University of New Mexico’s Center for Research in Ecological Science and Technology (CREST) were recently awarded $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a prototype National Ecological Data Center. The 3-year grant, titled “Environmental Data Initiative” (EDI), involves investigators from UNM’s Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin and the University of California-Santa Barbara.

The project will build upon PASTA (Provenance Aware Synthesis Tracking Architecture) software, developed by CREST scientists, to create an open access data repository for ecological scientists.

”It is not enough to simply make a data repository available to a research community, you have to work with them so that the repository becomes part of their daily workflow,” said Principal Investigator and UNM Research Assistant Professor Mark Servilla.

The EDI will engage the ecological community to encourage the publication of ecological data that are presently difficult to find and access. The initial focus will be on research funded by NSF’s Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) and MacroSystems Biology (MSB) programs as well as independent researchers working at sites that are part of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS). 

For more information, visit Environmental Data Initiative.

]]>Latest NewsBiologyResearchThu, 08 Dec 2016 00:39:04 GMTWhile there is a trend in the field of ecology towards collecting data with automated sensors (e.g., the National Ecological Observatory Network), individual investigators and independent research projects still generate much ecological data through...http://news.unm.edu/news/ecological-science-to-benefit-from-unm-data-initiativeThu, 08 Dec 2016 00:15:00 GMT

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