UNM Research News

UNM libraries awarded $250,000 grant

As research data and technology become more prevalent, so does the need for people who can analyze it. Thanks to a new three-year, $250,000 grant, University Libraries and Learning Sciences will be able to work towards improving the quality, discovery and use of research data management training materials in multiple areas.

“Researchers routinely state that they and their students need more training in effective methods for managing large complex data collections and their associated documentation, especially training that is targeted to their research domains,” said Karl Benedict, associate professor and director of research data services for the libraries. “This project will meet that need.”

The grant is being funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Benedict says the grant will enable the libraries to add key enhancements to the collaboratively developed registry of research data management training resources – the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), which incubated and hosts the Data Management Training Clearinghouse egistry.

Enhancements to the registry will include allowing learners and instructors to provide feedback to materials that can lead to increasingly useful and effective training methods. Additionally, the grant will provide means to improve descriptive information, so researchers and students can more easily discover and explore a broad range of research disciplines within the system.

Beginning this summer, UNM, in collaboration with Knowledge Motifs LLC and ESIP, will kick off the project by bringing together experts in research data management and training, developers of training materials, and data librarians. Together, the group will work to identify several objectives for the program’s future.

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. The agency’s mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. Click here to learn more.

]]>Front PageCollege of University Libraries & Learning SciencesResearchTue, 22 May 2018 18:30:35 GMTAs research data and technology become more prevalent, so does the need for people who can analyze it. Thanks to a new three-year, $250,000 grant, University Libraries and Learning Sciences will be able to work towards improving the quality, discovery...Rachel Whitthttps://news.unm.edu/news/unm-libraries-awarded-250-000-grantTue, 22 May 2018 16:18:00 GMT

UNM scientists find widespread ocean anoxia as cause for past mass extinction

For decades, scientists have conducted research centered around the five major mass extinctions that have shaped the world we live in. The extinctions date back more than 450 million years with the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction to the deadliest extinction, the Late Permian extinction 250 million years ago that wiped out over 90 percent of species.

Over the years, scientists have figured out the main causes of the mass extinctions, which include massive volcanic eruptions, global warming, asteroid collisions, and acidic oceans as likely culprits. Other factors sure to play a part include methane eruptions and marine anoxic events – when oceans lose life-supporting oxygen.

The events that triggered the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction or LOME of marine animals and plants has largely remained a mystery until now. The Ordovician was a dynamic time interval in Earth history that recorded a major increase in marine biologic diversity and a greenhouse-to-icehouse climatic transition. Researchers believe this cooling period, which culminated in the first Phanerozoic glaciation led to the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction.

Now a team of researchers, including Maya Elrick at The University of New Mexico, Elrick’s former master’s student Rick Bartlett, now earning his doctorate at Louisiana State University, James Wheeley from the University of Birmingham (England) and the University of Ottawa’s Andre Desrochers, have deciphered geochemical evidence left behind in marine limestone sediment that suggests this extinction was caused by a period of global cooling that created a global marine anoxic event.

“So far each of them has widespread anoxia associated with them, so we are finding that low seawater oxygen concentrations are a major killer.” – Professor Maya Elrick

The research, “Abrupt global-ocean anoxia during Late Ordovician-early Silurian detected using uranium isotopes of marine carbonates,” was published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It was supported, in part, through a three-year, $680,000 National Science Foundation grant.

“This extinction is the first of the ‘big five’ extinctions that hit the Earth and our research indicates that it was coincident with the abrupt development of widespread ocean anoxia that lasted for at least 1 million years,” said Elrick.

Working with an international crew, Elrick and her team traveled to Anticosti Island in the St. Lawrence seaway of Quebec, Canada where they collected limestone rock samples. The returned samples were analyzed for uranium isotopes using a mass spectrometer housed in the UNM Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Results from the study indicate that abrupt and widespread marine anoxia occurred at the same time 85 percent of marine life went extinct.

“These results provided the first evidence for abrupt global ocean anoxia initiating and continuing through peak and waning glacial conditions,” Elrick said. “We suggest that the anoxia was driven by global cooling which reorganized large-scale ocean circulation and led to decreased deep-ocean oxygenation and, enhanced nutrient fluxes, which caused phytoplankton blooms and expanded the areas of low oxygen concentrations. These results also provide the first evidence for widespread ocean anoxia initiating and continuing during glacial conditions.”

Elrick and Bartlett’s research is the first study of this type that uses a geochemical proxy (uranium isotopes) which integrates the entire ocean oxygen concentration. The results agree with what other scientists had been saying before, although the earlier studies were assessing only local oxygen concentrations rather than globally integrated concentrations. Further, Elrick and her team are modeling global ocean oxygen concentrations to evaluate how much of the seafloor went anoxic during the Late Ordovician extinction.

The team compared conditions 450 million years ago to those of today and determined that about there was about a 15 percent increase in anoxic seafloor during the Late Ordovician mass extinction. The modern ocean has less than a half a percent of seafloor that is anoxic (mainly the Black Sea), so a 15 percent increase in seafloor anoxia is quite significant.

“Anticosti Island is the best natural laboratory in the World for studying fossils and sedimentary strata dating from the first mass extinction nearly 445 million years ago,” said Desrochers. “The island is now awaiting recognition at the UNESCO World Heritage program because of its exceptional geology and paleontology.”                                                                                           

Elrick is also studying three of the other ‘big five’ mass extinctions using uranium isotopes as oxygenation proxy.

“So far each of them has widespread anoxia associated with them, so we are finding that low seawater oxygen concentrations are a major killer,” Elrick said

These results for the past ‘big five’ mass extinctions have implications for the modern extinction our planet is presently experiencing.

“We are warming and acidifying the oceans today and warmer oceans hold less and less oxygen. Some marine organisms can handle the heat and the acidity, but not the lack of oxygen” Elrick said. “All these things are happening today and the results from the Late Ordovician study indicate the potential severity of marine anoxia as an extinction driver for many of the past and ongoing biologic extinction events.”

 

]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesEarth & Planetary SciencesResearchMon, 21 May 2018 21:49:30 GMTFor decades, scientists have conducted research centered around the five major mass extinctions that have shaped the world we live in. The extinctions date back more than 450 million years with the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction to the deadliest...Steve Carrhttps://news.unm.edu/news/unm-scientists-find-widespread-ocean-anoxia-as-cause-for-past-mass-extinctionMon, 21 May 2018 21:00:00 GMT

Local dispensary, manufacturers show support for medical cannabis research at UNM

Ultra Health, a local medical cannabis dispensary along with various cannabis manufacturers, presented a donation in support of The University of New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF) that will enable additional Veterans to enroll in a study involving post traumatic brain syndrome.

The dispensary, Ultra Health, recently conducted the fundraising drive to solicit donations for UNM’s MCRF. Ultra Health created 10 gift baskets filled with various medical cannabis products from manufacturers including Aromaland, Bhang, Mountain Top Extracts, Panaxia, Seebinger Hemp and Ultra Health. The gift baskets, valued at $300 each, were presented to different raffle ticket winners from various Ultra Health dispensary locations across New Mexico. Overall, $2,000 was raised for the MCRF, which will allow researchers to double a current study involving Veterans and PTSD. 

“We’re trying to support cannabis research because this is a miracle drug. It helps in so many ways,” said Susan Billy, director of operations for Ultra Health. “We may not be able to cure patients, but we’re definitely going to improve their quality of life. This research is so important. There are so many things this (cannabis) can do and it can help so many people on so many levels, not just health-wise, but also economically. We’re still in prohibition with it and there’s not a lot of government funding out there for this research, so we have to raise it in our communities.”

“One of the best outcomes of this drawing is that now more people around our state are aware that UNM is conducting Medical Cannabis Research,” added Lew Seebinger, owner of Seebinger Hemp.

The  Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF), established in August 2016 by Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor in UNM’s Department of Psychology and Sarah See Stith, assistant professor in the UNM Department of Economics, is tasked with the singular mission to harness the vast intellectual and technological resources from UNM and the larger central New Mexico community for conducting sound and ethical research on medical cannabis.

“Lew Seebinger’s support and advocacy for the Medical Cannabis Research Fund is an amazing demonstration of how special people can and do serve beyond themselves, sometimes purely with the goal of helping their fellow man,” said Vigil. “Thanks to Mr. Seebinger, Susan Billy at Ultra Health and the other supporters of this fundraising drive, we will be able to expand our current study of the effectiveness of medical cannabis for treating New Mexican Veterans with PTSD by an additional 20 participants, allowing us to better assess the potential of medicinal cannabis to heal those who have given so much for our country and our freedom."

Vigil has conducted medical cannabis research for more than a decade including two recent studies that indicate legal cannabis may reduce use of dangerous prescription drugs, and a more recently, a study that found medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addition

In the two studies, Vigil, along with Stith, have found a strong correlation between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and cessation or reduction of opioid use, and that whole, natural Cannabis sativa and extracts made from the plant may serve as an alternative to opioid-based medications for treating chronic pain.

The MCRF is comprised of UNM faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines that are focused on conducting scientifically valid and unbiased research on medical cannabis across all areas of social and biomedical sciences. The MCRF supports wide-ranging and often multi-disciplinary research programs that advance basic and clinical knowledge on the safety and potential medicinal uses of cannabis. The MCRF also supports student training, academic assistantships and professional programs that advance research on medical cannabis.

Donations made to the MCRF support the direct costs of studies intending to measure the safety and efficacy of using medical cannabis as a pharmacological agent. Findings from these multi-disciplinary investigations are intended to generate basic and clinical knowledge, educate patients, scientists, and physicians, and help inform regulation and use of medical cannabis.  

“Every single cent that is donated to the MCRF is used to support the direct costs of research necessary to improve both the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis as a pharmaceutical agent for human consumption,” said Vigil.

For more information, visit MCRF.

]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesEconomicsPsychologyResearchFri, 18 May 2018 17:32:56 GMTUltra Health, a local medical cannabis dispensary along with various cannabis manufacturers, presented a donation in support of The University of New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF) that will enable additional Veterans to enroll in a study...https://news.unm.edu/news/local-dispensary-manufacturers-show-support-for-medical-cannabis-research-at-unmFri, 18 May 2018 16:35:00 GMT

Get out of the classroom and into a STEM Summer

Step out of the classroom this summer and experience STEM opportunities in a stimulating environment with students, professors, research, scientists and technology. The University of New Mexico’s STEM University provides undergrad students with a learning boost through a collection of free outside-of-class activities May through August.

These activities range from workshops, conferences, projects, mentorships and more. Some opportunities include identifying and photographing fossils in the Bisti Badlands, touring Albuquerque’s Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant and traveling to Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge to learn about the UNM Biology Department’s Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Program.

Events give students impactful networking opportunities with scientists, engineers, researchers, faculty members and peers; along with connection to careers and internships, emerging technologies, cutting edge research and leadership and advocacy in STEM.

To view the full list of free events and to register visit the website.

STEM University sends out a weekly email about campus events, scholarships, news, jobs and other opportunities for undergraduate students. To stay up to date with upcoming events, go to UNM listserv management and type “UNM_STEM-L” under “list name.”

Keep up with STEM University’s current events and news on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.

Contact stem@unm.edu or 505-277-0878 to request accommodations or suggest accessibility improvements for an event.

]]>Inside UNMCollege of Arts & SciencesStudent SuccessStudent Special EventsResearchThu, 10 May 2018 16:13:35 GMTStep out of the classroom this summer and experience STEM opportunities in a stimulating environment with students, professors, research, scientists and technology. The University of New Mexico’s STEM University provides undergrad students with a...https://news.unm.edu/news/get-out-of-the-classroom-and-into-a-stem-summerThu, 10 May 2018 15:57:00 GMT

Young future engineers explore STEM

The sound of shrill whistles and chattering students float out of the Monte Vista Elementary School gym, meaning only one thing: race day for the teams and their balloon-powered cars. Mechanical engineering students at The University of New Mexico are helping local elementary school kids explore the wonders of design, creation and engineering through a collaborative program.

“All the students are so excited and motivated,” said Marissa Martinez, a senior UNM mechanical engineering student and deputy project manager for the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers. “It’s a great opportunity to show them the difference between science and engineering, and what UNM has to offer.”

John Russell, SOE professor and director of the UNM Formula SAE Program, initiated ‘A World in Motion’ about 15 years ago. He says it started out small, when the national Society of Automotive Engineers offered kits to help kids the build plastic and wood cars to learn the concepts of friction and inertia. Russell recognized the move as an opportunity for the UNM School of Engineering to connect with young students in the metro area.

“Elementary school kids get science every year, but they don’t get any engineering,” lamented Russell. “This is an introduction to engineering and how it differs from science. And you attract a lot of students who don’t like science but find they like engineering and building and making things. So, it gives them an alternative to think about when considering their future.”

The program pairs mechanical engineering students with fifth grade students at Monte Vista Elementary. The young engineers receive a letter asking them to design and create a car that meets specifications and performance criteria regarding distance, endurance and speed.

“It’s just like in the real-world, when engineers are solicited by companies to make prototypes,” Russell explains.

The UNM students coach their young protégés, teaching them the importance of design, jet propulsion, friction and air resistance as core engineering concepts. The groups meet for several hours every week for about a month leading up to Race Day – when they show off their skills, racing their cars against each other to see which goes farthest.

“We went from 25 elementary students, to 50 – now up to 80, just depending on how big the class is at Monte Vista,” Russell said. “Our UNM engineering students have no idea what it’s like to work with little kids – and that’s the biggest takeaway for them. But they really enjoy it, they’ve really taken to the mentoring side of things and helping these kids.”

Russell says the program allows UNM students to think about how to mentor others and explain difficult concepts in a way non-engineers will understand. The Society of Automotive Engineers sets the bar for how many hours participating universities are expected to give to local school groups, but Russell says UNM students consistently contribute about 20 hours more than the requirement. This year, UNM’s event was one of the largest in the country – contributing 147 hours.

Russell paused to watch a speedy blue car zip by.

“That’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” he exclaimed.

Cheers from the closest race lane validate his observation, revealing the fact these students aren’t just learning engineering concepts, but the joy that comes with a job well done.

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringMechanical EngineeringResearchTue, 08 May 2018 15:40:11 GMTThe sound of shrill whistles and chattering students float out of the Monte Vista Elementary School gym, meaning only one thing: race day for the teams and their balloon-powered cars. Mechanical engineering students at The University of New Mexico are...Rachel Whitthttps://news.unm.edu/news/young-future-engineers-explore-stemTue, 08 May 2018 15:08:00 GMT

NM EPSCoR diversity coordinator honored with national STEM diversity award

The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) announced Chelsea Chee, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for New Mexico EPSCoR, as the 2018 recipient of their Rising Star Award. This prestigious award honors a person at the beginning of their career who has demonstrated exemplary leadership traits promoting access, equity, and diversity in education and/or the workforce.

Chee is from the small, remote community of Teesto, Ariz. Surrounded by high desert landscape and many generations of Navajo families, she grew up seeing the huge potential of human capacity with little access to opportunity. Chelsea has served in her role at NM EPSCoR as the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for just over four years, where she promotes access of under-represented undergraduate students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines.

“Chelsea truly has vision and seeks innovative ways to promote diversity and inclusion,” said Anne Jakle, associate director, New Mexico EPSCoR. “Chelsea excels in connecting people and institutions to further diversity and inclusion in STEM education and careers, and we have no doubt that she will continue to contribute to this community for years to come.”

Chee has led and created several major programs that have directly impacted nearly 400 NM EPSCoR participants from across the state and indirectly impacted thousands more. One of Chee’s major projects, Natives in STEM, brings visibility to Native STEM professionals, which in turn to inspires students of all backgrounds to pursue STEM careers. Now co-led with American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the project has distributed over 4,500 posters that feature five Native STEM professionals, including to 137 Bureau of Indian Education schools, 14 Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Libraries across the country.

Chee is also active in the larger equity community at the state and national levels. She is recognized in New Mexico as a diversity champion and has presented across the state, including providing a keynote at the 2017 NM Alliance for Minority Participation annual conference. For the past year, she served as the chair of the National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR Education Outreach and Diversity committee.

New Mexico EPSCoR is funded by the NSF to build the state’s capacity to conduct scientific research. The infrastructure and activities are designed to support shared-use equipment, engage new research and community college faculty, and support the STEM pipeline by training teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows.

Visit NM EPSCoR to learn more

]]>Front PageResearchWed, 02 May 2018 23:02:34 GMTThe National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) announced Chelsea Chee, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for New Mexico EPSCoR, as the 2018 recipient of their Rising Star Award. This prestigious award honors a person at the beginning of their...https://news.unm.edu/news/nm-epscor-diversity-coordinator-honored-with-national-stem-diversity-awardWed, 02 May 2018 22:44:00 GMT

UNM scientist Victor Polyak receives Karst Water Institute Outstanding Scientist Award

Victor Polyak, senior research scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science (E&PS) at The University of New Mexico, was recently awarded the Karst Water Institute Outstanding Scientist Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding member of the cave and karst field.

“The marriage of speleology (cave science) and isotope geochemistry has great potential to solve many important geological questions,” said Polyak.

Since 1999, Polyak has been a senior research scientist at UNM working in paleoclimate, sea level, and landscape evolution research using speleothems and sediment from caves around the world. Polyak has studied clays and associated minerals occurring in caves of the Guadalupe Mountains, work that has expanded knowledge of clay genesis in caves. His work has also provided the absolute timing of formation of Carlsbad Cavern, Lechuguilla and the other caves of that region.

Currently, along with longtime collaborator and UNM E&PS Professor Yemane Asmerom, Polyak’s interests are focused on paleo-climatology through the study of stalagmites and other speleothems. Annual banding, fossils, mineral assemblage and isotope geochemistry preserved in these speleothems from southeastern New Mexico caves allow the reconstruction of Holocene and Late Pleistocene climate of the southwestern United States.

Sr. Research Scientist Victor Polyak gathers samples from a cave.

Through continuing research and the need for ever more accurate and precise paleoclimate data, Asmerom and Polyak have improved the techniques for dating speleothems and increased the resolution of climate studies using speleothems. This has allowed near annual resolution of climate data using speleothems from caves around the world providing researchers and the public with valuable insight into past climate variability.

Polyak manages Asmerom’s Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory at t UNM where many of these techniques have been perfected. In the past 20 years, Polyak and Asmerom, through multiple collaborations, have continued their research using caves. Polyak has applied age-dating and other aspects of isotope geochemistry to studies on diverse topics such as paleoclimate, landscape evolution, sea level change and archaeology. He is the author and or co-author of more than 115 publications using this marriage of speleology and radiogenic isotope geochemistry.

Other research Polyak is involved in includes the study of Grand Canyon caves and particular speleothems within those cave, which yielded useful and new information related to the rate of canyon incision by the Colorado River and the age and origin of Grand Canyon. He is involved in sea level research as well, where unique speleothems from caves in Mallorca, Spain are yielding the most accurate and precise past highstand sea level records in the world.  Other interests include sulfur-related cave genesis, cave minerals, speleothems, and lava tube cave features.

To learn more of Polyak’s discoveries visit this article.

 

]]>Front PageFaculty NewsCollege of Arts & SciencesEarth & Planetary SciencesResearchWed, 02 May 2018 22:24:05 GMTVictor Polyak, senior research scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science (E&PS) at The University of New Mexico, was recently awarded the Karst Water Institute outstanding scientist award. The award is given annually to an outstanding...https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-scientist-victor-polyak-receives-karst-water-institute-outstanding-scientist-award-6690820Wed, 02 May 2018 21:33:00 GMT

UNM students receive DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research program award

Aidan Grummer and Neil McFadden, two graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of New Mexico, were among 60 students selected nationally to receive the prestigious Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program award.

The award provides support for inbound and outbound travel to a DOE laboratory and a monthly stipend of up to $3,000 for general living expenses while at the host DOE laboratory during the award period.

McFadden, who earlier this year won the N.M. Space Grant Scholarship, will be pursuing his Ph.D. this summer at Los Alamos National Lab with his proposal "Light Yield Studies on Active Veto Schemes for a Tonne Scale 76Ge Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay Experiment" that will search for neutrino-less double-beta decay with germanium detectors. The neutrino plays a central role in many puzzles in particle physics and cosmology. Future measurements of its properties in both laboratory and space-based experiments hope to resolve many of these puzzles and possibly point to new physics beyond the standard model.

Grummer is recognized for his outstanding academic accomplishments including the merit of his research proposal "Development of New Methods for Quality Control of ATLAS Upgrade Tracker Modules and Staves.” The research reflects his potential to make important contributions to the mission of the DOE Office of Science. Grummer will work with his primary graduate thesis advisor, UNM’s Sally Seidel, and collaborating DOE laboratory scientist, Charles Young at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

The goal of SCGSR is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission, by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at DOE laboratories. The SCGSR research projects are expected to advance the graduate awardee’s overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories and facilities. The program provides supplemental awards for graduate students to spend three to 12 consecutive months at a DOE national laboratory facility conducting graduate thesis research in a priority research area in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist.

For more information on the program and opportunities visit the website.

]]>Inside UNMCollege of Arts & SciencesPhysics & AstronomyInstitutional Support ServiceResearchWed, 25 Apr 2018 17:44:28 GMTAidan Grummer and Neil McFadden, two graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of New Mexico, were among 60 students selected nationally to receive the prestigious Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate...https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-students-receive-doe-office-of-science-graduate-student-research-program-awardWed, 25 Apr 2018 17:32:00 GMT

UNM researcher explores influence of ancient humans on mammal body size

Researchers have demonstrated that mammal biodiversity loss, a major conservation concern today, is part of a long-term trend lasting at least 125,000 years. As archaic humans, Neanderthals and other hominin species migrated out of Africa, what followed was a wave of size-biased extinction in mammals on all continents that intensified over time.

A new study titled Body size downgrading of mammals over the late Quaternary, released Friday in the prestigious journal Science, is the first to quantitatively show that human effects on mammal body size predates their migration out of Africa and that size selective extinction is a hallmark of human activities and not the norm in mammal evolution.

The research, funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, was led by Dr. Felisa Smith at The University of New Mexico, along with colleagues from University of California San Diego, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Stanford University. The researchers showed that body-size downgrading – the loss of the largest species on each continent over time – is a hallmark of human activity, both in the past and present. If this trend continues into the future researchers warn, the largest terrestrial mammal in 200 years will be the domestic cow.

“One of the most surprising finds was that 125,000 years ago, the average body size of mammals on Africa was already 50 percent smaller than on other continents,” said Smith, a professor in the UNM Department of Biology who has studied megafauna extinction for more than 15 years. “We suspect this means that archaic humans and other hominins had already influenced mammal diversity and body size in the late-Pleistocene.”

This find was particularly surprising because Africa is a larger continent and typically, larger land masses house and support larger mammals. But, it appears that by the late Pleistocene, hominins had already reduced the diversity of mammals there. Over time, as humans migrated around the globe, extinctions of the largest mammals followed. These giant mammals included the woolly rhinoceros, mammoths, llamas, camels and giant ground sloths as well as ferocious predators such as the short-faced bear, and the scimitar and saber-toothed cats.

In their research, Smith and her colleagues found that this decline follows the global expansion of hominins over the late-Quaternary, including the Pleistocene and Holocene Periods. A number of theories have been developed over the years to explain more recent extinctions such as those at the end of the last ice age, including human hunting, climate change, disease, and even a cosmic impact such as an asteroid or comet. However, earlier workers had not focused on extinctions this far back in time.

“Our study suggests that all of these mammal extinctions are part of a long-term trend. This was fascinating because it only occurred after the arrival of early humans,” said co-author Rosemary Elliott Smith.

By quantifying mammalian extinction selectivity, the researchers documented what happened to mammals as early humans left Africa through the compilation of extensive data including mammal body size, climate, extinction status and geographic location over the last 125,000 years. They also used the conservation status of modern mammals to model diversity and body size distributions for 200 years in the future. The researchers investigated and demonstrated the role of body size and diet on the likelihood of extinction. These data were evaluated in light of climate change and human migration patterns over the same time frame.

They demonstrated size-selective extinction was already underway in the oldest interval, occurred on all continents, within all trophic modes, and across all time intervals. Moreover, the degree of selectivity was unprecedented in 65 million years of mammalian evolution. The distinctive selectivity signature implicates hominin activity as a primary driver of taxonomic losses and ecosystem homogenization.

The researchers also examined the potential influence of climate on extinction risk and selectivity over time. They found that for 65 million years, changes in climate did not result in more extinctions, nor was there a greater tendency for large-bodied mammals to go extinct. “You just don’t see extreme size selectivity for mammals until the late-Pleistocene,” said Kate Lyons, a co-author on the study. “Past climate changes don’t result in size-selective extinction.”

‘We suspect that in the past, shifts in climate led to adaptation and movement of animals, not extinction” said co-author Payne, “Of course, today ongoing climate change may result in extinction since most megafauna are limited in how far they can move.” If the loss of large-bodied mammals continues into the future and all the currently threatened animals are lost, the largest mammal on earth in 200 years may be a domestic cow.

Because megafauna have a disproportionate influence on ecosystem structure and function, past and present body size downgrading is reshaping Earth’s biosphere. By comparing extinction events with the entire record of mammal turnover over the past 65 million years, the researchers demonstrated that body size and diet did not influence extinction risk for mammals for most of their evolutionary history. These results highlight a startling point. The role of ancient and modern humans on large mammals has been vastly underappreciated researchers say. 

“Megafauna play a really important role in ecosystems,” said Smith. “which we are just beginning to appreciate. For example, as they walk their massive size compacts the soil, which can lead to changes in gas exchange or water tables. They change the structure of vegetation through their browsing and help maintain open grasslands. They burp methane, a greenhouse gas and even influence the distribution of nitrogen and phospherous on the landscape. We are not entirely sure what the potential loss of these ‘ecosystem engineers’ could lead to. I hope we never find out.”

]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesBiologyResearchThu, 19 Apr 2018 18:40:34 GMTResearchers have demonstrated that mammal biodiversity loss, a major conservation concern today, is part of a long-term trend lasting at least 125,000 years. As archaic humans, Neanderthals and other hominin species migrated out of Africa, what followed...Steve Carrhttps://news.unm.edu/news/unm-researcher-explores-influence-of-ancient-humans-on-mammal-body-sizeThu, 19 Apr 2018 18:25:00 GMT

UNM Physics Day 2018 a huge student success

The Department of Physics and Astronomy recently held the UNM Physics Day 2018, an undergraduate research conference and open house event organized by students for students that included local area high schools as well as a large contingent of students from Northern Arizona University that also attended.

The annual event featured student talks and poster presentations, a plenary talk from alumnus Kate Brown, which was followed by a series of undergraduate research talks, tours of research labs, an awards ceremony and stargazing at the Campus Observatory.

Brown, who is now an assistant professor of Physics at Hamilton College in New York, began the day with her plenary talk titled, “Sage Advice and a Series of Vignettes from a UNM Physics Alum.” Two groups of oral presentations followed including subjects ranging from NonStandard Cosmological Histories to X-Ray Scattering and Reflectivity Studies to Engineering the Optical Properties of Aluminum Oxide.

The afternoon session featured tours of several research labs, including UNM's Center for Advanced Research Computing, and a poster session that featured topics such as Thermal Infrared Planetary Science Imager, Engineering the Optical Properties of Aluminum Oxide and Computer Modeling of Subsurface Density Structures.

Winners on the day included: Ryan Hamblin, Best Student Talk for "Characterization and Applications of the Nanoscale Structure of Amphiphilic Block Copolymers" and Lauren Zundel, Best Student Poster for "Spatially Resolved Optical Sensing Using Graphene Nanodisk Arrays." The awards presentation was followed by a visit to the Campus Observatory.

The conference, sponsored by the Rayburn Reaching Up Fund, was organized by students Christine Bennett, Ivey Davis, Matt DiMario, Prescott Farley, Ryan Gibson, Nik Huntoon, Ryan Johnson, Nic Litza, Eric Putney, Cayman Rogers, Dilys Ruan, Daniel Russel and Lauren Zundel. They were assisted by dedicated help of several faculty colleagues including Alexander Albrecht, Francisco Elohim Becerra-Chavez, Dave Dunlap, Keith Lidke, Yiva Pihlstrom, Richard Rand, with special kudos to Assistant Professor Alejandro Manjavacas, who helped make it all happen.

Additional sponsors included IEEE, Society of Physics Students and the UNM Department of Physics & Astronomy.

For more information about the department, visit UNM Physics and Astronomy.

]]>Inside UNMCollege of Arts & SciencesPhysics & AstronomyCARCResearchThu, 12 Apr 2018 23:15:30 GMTThe Department of Physics and Astronomy recently held the UNM Physics Day 2018, an undergraduate research conference and open house event organized by students for students that included local area high schools as well as a large contingent of students...https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-physics-day-2018-a-huge-student-successThu, 12 Apr 2018 21:34:00 GMT

STC.UNM to recognize inventors at 15th annual Innovation Awards Dinner

STC.UNM will recognize more than 60 inventors at its 15th annual Innovation Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 12 at The University of New Mexico Student Union Building (SUB) Ballrooms B & C. The event will honor faculty, staff and students who have received U. S. issued patents, trademarks and registered copyrights within the past year.

The university inventors run the gamut from first-time inventors to experienced inventors and include UNM professors, research professors, distinguished and Regents professors, professors emeriti, staff members, and postdoctoral students. The inventors represent departments and research/clinical centers across the main and health sciences campuses that reflect a strong level of collaboration. Several inventors are being honored for multiple issued patents.

As part of the awards dinner, the 2018 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award will also be presented to Dr. Sang M. Han, Regents Professor in the Departments of Chemical & Biological Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering, who will be recognized for his achievements as an outstanding UNM inventor. Also recognized will be UNM Distinguished Professors Cheryl L. Willman and Plamen Atanassov, who have been named 2017 Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). This national honor recognizes academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation. 

David S. Joseph, co-founder & CEO of Avisa Pharma, Inc., will be the keynote speaker. Joseph has 40 years of executive healthcare and life science management experience as the co-founder and CEO of five companies in medical technology, biomaterials and biopharmaceuticals. Avisa Pharma is a New Mexico-based startup created to commercialize breath test technology developed at UNM by Dr. Graham Timmins in the College of Pharmacy.

The following 63 UNM faculty, staff and students received issued U. S. patents within the past year (March 1, 2017 - Feb. 28, 2018). 

For a complete list, visit Inventor Honorees.

]]>Inside UNMSTC.UNMResearchTue, 10 Apr 2018 17:59:19 GMTSTC.UNM will recognize more than 60 inventors at its 15th annual Innovation Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 12 at The University of New Mexico Student Union Building (SUB) Ballrooms B & C. The event will honor faculty, staff and students who have...https://news.unm.edu/news/stc-unm-to-recognize-inventors-at-15th-annual-innovation-awards-dinnerTue, 10 Apr 2018 17:49:00 GMT

2018 STC.UNM Inventor Honorees

The following 63 UNM faculty, staff and students received issued U.S. issued patents within the past year (March 1, 2017 - Feb. 28, 2018).  

2018 STC.UNM Inventor Honorees

  • Nalin I. Andersen, Ph.D.
  • Ladan Arissian, Ph.D.
  • Dorian C. Arnold, Ph.D.
  • Kateryna D. Artyushkova, Ph.D.
  • Plamen B. Atanassov, Ph.D.
     
  • Ganesh Balakrishnan, Ph.D.
  • Denis E. Bragin, Ph.D.
  • C. Jeffrey Brinker, Ph.D.
  • Steven R.J. Brueck, Ph.D.
     
  • Joseph L. Cecchi, Ph.D.
  • Bryce C. Chackerian, Ph.D.
  • Christos G. Christodoulou, Ph.D.
  • Joseph Costantine, Ph.D.
     
  • Abhaya K. Datye, Ph.D.
  • Jean-Claude Diels, Ph.D.
     
  • Bruce S. Edwards, Ph.D.
  • Jeremy S. Edwards, Ph.D.
     
  • Rafael Fierro, Ph.D.
  • Brandi C. Fink, Ph.D.
  • Mikhail I. Fuks, Ph.D.

  • Sang M. Han, Ph.D.
  • Mark Hauswald, Ph.D.
  • Majeed M. Hayat, Ph.D.
  • Mark K. Haynes, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth L. Hedberg-Dirk, Ph.D.
  • Stephen D. Hersee, Ph.D.
  • Mani Hossein-Zadeh, Ph.D.
  • Laurie G. Hudson, Ph.D.
     
  • Ravinder K. Jain, Ph.D.
  • Ying-Bing Jiang, Ph.D.
     
  • Christopher C. Lamb, Ph.D.
  • Olga A. Lavrova, Ph.D.
  • Seung-Chang Lee, Ph.D.
  • Ke Jian (Jim) Liu, Ph.D.
  • Shuang (Sean) Luan, Ph.D.
     
  • Andrea A. Mammoli, Ph.D.
  • Erin D. Milligan, Ph.D.
     
  • Edwin M. Nemoto, Ph.D.
  • Alexander Neumann, Ph.D.
  • Jeffrey P. Norenberg, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
     
  • Tudor I. Oprea, Ph.D.
  • Marek A. Osinski, Ph.D.
     
  • Rong Pan, Ph.D.
  • David S. Peabody, Ph.D.
  • John B. Plumley, Ph.D.
  • Sudhakar Prasad, Ph.D.
     
  • Paul A. Rodriguez-Valderrama, Ph.D.
  • Wolfgang Rudolph, Ph.D.
     
  • Edl Schamiloglu, Ph.D.
  • Larry A. Sklar, Ph.D.
  • Gennady A. Smolyakov, Ph.D.
  • Randall Starling, Ph.D.
  • Zurab Surviladze, Ph.D.
     
  • Lydia E. Tapia, Ph.D.
  • Youssef A. Tawk, Ph.D.
  • Graham S. Timmins, Ph.D.
  • Alan E. Tomkinson, Ph.D.
     
  • Angela Wandinger-Ness, Ph.D.
  • Timothy L. Ward, Ph.D.
  • David G. Whitten, Ph.D.
  • Nathan J. Withers, Ph.D.
     
  • Haifeng Xiong, Ph.D.
     
  • Payman Zarkesh-Ha, Ph.D.
]]>Inside UNMSTC.UNMResearchTue, 10 Apr 2018 17:48:42 GMT The following 63 UNM faculty, staff and students received issued U.S. issued patents within the past year (March 1, 2017 - Feb. 28, 2018).   2018 STC.UNM Inventor Honorees Nalin I. Andersen, Ph.D. Ladan Arissian, Ph.D. Dorian C. Arnold,...https://news.unm.edu/backgrounders/2018-stc-unm-inventor-honoreesTue, 10 Apr 2018 17:40:00 GMT

Nine UNM students selected for National Science Foundation graduate student awards

Nine students from The University of New Mexico have been selected to receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2018.

The UNM students, along with their graduate institution, are:

  • Sarah Blair – Chemical Engineering – Stanford University
  • Jessica Carrasco – Psychology – San Diego State/University of San Diego
  • Tybur Quinton Casuse – Civil Engineering (environmental engineering)– UNM
  • Danielle Harrier – Chemical Engineering – University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Jaylene Reyanne Martinez – Mechanical Engineering – UNM
  • Adam David Quintana – Chemical and Biological Engineering (biomaterials research) – UNM
  • Orion Staples – Chemistry – University of Pennsylvania
  • Emigdio Turner – Chemistry – UNM
  • Brittney A. White – Life Sciences – UNM

Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend, including a cost-of-education allowance, which gives them the chance to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution. The program also provides an opportunity for international research, as well as professional development.

"My heartiest congratulations to our new NSF Graduate Research Fellows," said UNM Vice President Gabriel Lopez. "Members of this excellent cohort of fine scientists and engineers have each achieved prestigious and highly competitive recognition for excellence in research and scholarship. The impressive group highlights the very high caliber of undergraduate research experiences available at UNM. I look forward to following their carrier advancement and learning of their future discoveries and innovations."

The new awardees were selected from more than 12,000 applicants and come from all 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Honorable mention recognition went to 1,459 individuals, including several from UNM:

  • Chris Torres – Chemical Engineering – UNM
  • Jessie L. Williamson – Life Sciences – UNM
  • Lauren Michele Bansbach – Life Sciences – UNM
  • Tyler Arthur Grambling – Geosciences – University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Rosario Andrea Marroquin-Flores – Life Sciences – Illinois State University
  • Shannon O'Brien – Life Sciences – University of California, Berkeley
  • Katherine Marisa Peck – Social Sciences – UNM
  • Adam Zabzdyr Reynolds – Social Sciences – UNM
]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesBiologyChemistryPsychologySchool of EngineeringResearchTue, 10 Apr 2018 16:00:07 GMTNine students from The University of New Mexico have been selected to receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2018. The UNM students, along with their graduate institution, are: Sarah Blair – Chemical Engineering –...Kim Delkerhttps://news.unm.edu/news/nine-unm-students-selected-for-national-science-foundation-graduate-student-awardsTue, 10 Apr 2018 16:00:00 GMT

UROC features undergraduate research and creative works

The first-ever Undergraduate Research Opportunity Conference (UROC), featuring research and creative works by UNM undergraduate students, is set for Thursday, April 19 in the UNM Student Union Building (SUB). The event, sponsored by various programs, departments and colleges, is designed to promote and showcase the UNM undergraduate research activities.

The goal of UROC is to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research projects in and outside of classroom/lab; create the opportunities for undergraduate students to network with faculty, graduate students, and greater UNM community; and to showcase the undergraduate research to UNM communities including donors, policymakers, local business and industries.

Three categories comprise the UROC including oral presentations, poster presentations and UROC 180, which feature undergraduate student research presentations from a wide variety of disciplines in a 180-second elevator pitch style competition. All majors and phases of projects are celebrated from proposals to completed work. Participant abstracts are published in the Conference Program, and students can include their presentation on resumes, CVs and graduate school applications.

For a list of schedules and times for each category, visit UROC schedule.

Additionally, conference organizers are seeking volunteers to manage the event. It’s easy to volunteer. Simply fill out the Online Volunteer Form and a UROC team member will contact you. For more information, visit Volunteer/Evaluator.

UROC sponsors include Honors College, Student Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Research, College of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering and Satellite Coffee.

For more information, visit Undergraduate Research Opportunity Conference.

]]>Inside UNMStudent SuccessStudent Special EventsResearchMon, 09 Apr 2018 21:41:36 GMTThe first-ever Undergraduate Research Opportunity Conference (UROC), featuring research and creative works by UNM undergraduate students, is set for Thursday, April 19 in the UNM Student Union Building (SUB). The event, sponsored by various programs,...https://news.unm.edu/news/uroc-features-undergraduate-research-and-creative-worksMon, 09 Apr 2018 21:33:00 GMT

UNM faculty inventor Sang M. Han to receive the 2018 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award

Dr. Sang M. Han, Regents’ Professor in the Departments of Chemical & Biological Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering has been chosen to receive the 2018 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award in recognition of his achievements as a leading innovator at The University of New Mexico. 

The STC.UNM (STC) Board of Directors presents this special award each year to a university faculty inventor(s) whose body of technologies have made a significant social and economic impact on society and the marketplace. The award will be presented to Han at STC’s 2018 Innovation Awards Dinner on April 12. 

The annual event also recognizes UNM faculty, staff and students who have received issued U. S. patents, trademarks and registered copyrights within the past year. In addition to receiving the Innovation Fellow Award, Han will receive an Innovation Award for three issued patents this year. 

“We couldn’t be more pleased to recognize this talented and dedicated innovator with the 2018 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award,” said STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila on behalf of the STC.UNM Board of Directors. “Dr. Han excels in developing unique technologies over a wide range of electronic materials and fabrication that have real beneficial and cost-effective applications for the public. His metal matrix composite thin films are going to make solar cells and panels more durable and last far longer than they do today.  His radiative cooling technologies that provide a passive cooling solution for cooling without electricity have far-reaching applications and global benefit. 

“These are just a few examples of Dr. Han’s inventive and entrepreneurial mind. He is a collaborative inventor who generously shares his expertise with colleagues and students alike. He is especially committed to mentoring underrepresented students in research and the pursuit of innovation for real-world applications.” 

UNM Vice President for Research Gabriel López added, “My felicitations to Professor Sang M. Han on a well-deserved recognition by STC and UNM for his substantial innovative achievements. Sang’s contributions to the areas of microelectronics processing, nanofluidics, and solar energy substantiate his wide impact in chemical engineering and materials science. Over the course of his career at UNM, Sang has demonstrated enthusiastic leadership and a genuine entrepreneurial spirit, not only with regard to his research, but also as an academic.

“His innovative contributions to the curriculum and student success mirror his achievements in technology innovation and translation, providing an excellent role model as a well-rounded academic entrepreneur.”

Han received his B.S. in chemical engineering, with honors, from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  After postdoctoral work with Dr. Roya Maboudian at UC Berkeley and with Dr. Neil Benjamin at the Lam Research Corporation, Han joined UNM’s Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering (CBE) (formerly the Department of Chemical & Nuclear Engineering) in 2000 as an assistant professor. 

He is currently a professor in both the CBE and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) and associate chair of the CBE.  In 2015, he received the honorary title of Regents Professor for his research and teaching excellence.  His teaching and research awards include the UNM School of Engineering Teaching Award in 2012, the UNM School of Engineering Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award in 2005, and an NSF CAREER Award in 2001. In 2014, Han became director of the NanoScience & MicroSystems Engineering Program, a joint, interdisciplinary graduate degree program in nanoscience and nanotechnology offered by the School of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences.

During his time at UNM, Han has excelled as an inventor as well. He has disclosed 26 technologies and received 17 UNM-affiliated issued patents, and is the recipient of consecutive STC innovation awards since 2009 for a valuable and varied portfolio of discoveries. His metal matrix composite and radiative cooling technologies are optioned to two local startups—Osazda Energy, LLC and Osazda Materials, Inc.  Han is also the Chief Technology Officer for both companies.  

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringElectrical & Computer EngineeringChemical & Biological EngineeringResearchThu, 05 Apr 2018 21:54:00 GMTDr. Sang M. Han, Regents’ Professor in the Departments of Chemical & Biological Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering has been chosen to receive the 2018 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award in recognition of his achievements as a leading...https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-faculty-inventor-sang-m-han-to-receive-the-2018-stc-unm-innovation-fellow-awardThu, 05 Apr 2018 21:50:00 GMT

Focusing on advanced solar could bring jobs for New Mexico

A new report shows solar technologies in New Mexico could lead to economic growth and about 6,800 more jobs per year.

The New Mexico Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Advanced Solar Technology was created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). It looks at which targeted investments and policies are necessary to drive economic growth in our state.

“Fluctuating oil and gas revenues and resulting uncertainty in public finances, an overreliance on government jobs and limited success in capitalizing on local talent to develop a vibrant technology sector have contributed to a slow post-recession recovery,” said Jeff Mitchell, director of the UNM Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “New Mexico has a unique opportunity to expand its small manufacturing sector and diversify its economy through advanced solar, putting thousands of people to work and stimulating local economies.”

These new jobs are needed because, since the onset of the last recession, New Mexico has lost one-quarter of its manufacturing jobs. The state ranks No. 49 nationally in manufacturing as a share of total employment, at 3.2 percent. New Mexico faces a growing need for good-paying jobs to address unemployment and a large population of underemployed and low-wage workers.

“New Mexico has already made significant investments to tap into the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy industry through natural gas and wind projects,” said Kate Ringness, director of the American Jobs Project and co-author of the report. “Our research shows that the state can continue to capitalize on this opportunity by becoming a hub for advanced solar technologies.”

“Advanced solar technologies” are solar products that go beyond run-of-the-mill solar panels. For example, flexible perovskite solar cells can be used in glazing to enable colorful, electricity-producing glass buildings. Micro-scale solar cells, or “solar glitter,” can be embedded into flexible, lightweight materials such as fabrics and used for applications from aerospace to emergency response. Thin film solar shingles can replace traditional roofing, offering building owners easier solar installation options.

“This report offers a practical roadmap for expanding advanced solar manufacturing in New Mexico to create good-paying manufacturing jobs in a sector that’s growing worldwide,” Ringness said.

The report provides state-specific strategies designed to take advantage of this economic opportunity and fortify critical assets for industry growth, including the innovation ecosystem, access to capital, workforce development, value chain build-out and local market growth. Recommendations include:

  • Building a comprehensive cluster development strategy that encourages knowledge sharing, asset growth, and high-impact marketing.
  • Establishing an advanced solar center of excellence to catalyze innovation and support entrepreneurship.
  • Creating a technology maturation loan fund to increase the number of innovations that reach commercial development in the state.
  • Appointing a foundation liaison to leverage philanthropic support for essential programs.
  • Increasing opportunities to develop job readiness and industry-related skills to improve youth engagement in education and employment.

 “With demand for advanced solar solutions increasing around the world, thousands of jobs are up for grabs for those who choose to lead,” said Athena Christodoulou, President of the New Mexico Solar Energy Association. “The New Mexico Jobs Project demonstrates how our state can seize this opportunity and offers a pathway for industry growth and collaboration across industry, government and university partners.”

Visit the American Jobs Project website read the report.

]]>Front PageEconomicsLatest NewsBBERResearchTue, 03 Apr 2018 19:14:55 GMTA new report shows solar technologies in New Mexico could lead to economic growth and about 6,800 more jobs per year. The New Mexico Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Advanced Solar Technology was created by the American Jobs Project in...https://news.unm.edu/news/focusing-on-advanced-solar-could-bring-jobs-for-new-mexicoTue, 03 Apr 2018 16:48:00 GMT

Winners of inaugural undergraduate research award announced

As the leading research institute in New Mexico, UNM strives to recognize its student and faculty research initiatives. Now, thanks to a generous donation, University Libraries is awarding six undergraduate students with the inaugural Jim and Mary Lois Hulsman Undergraduate Research Award.

The six award winners will be honored at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 11 at 3 p.m. in the Willard Reading Room of Zimmerman Library.

Jesse Yelvington, Ashley Koger, Patrick Latimer, Ellerie Ann Freisinger, Anastasiya Andriyash and Luisa Pennington are the first students to receive the honor, implemented specifically to recognize undergraduate research.

“It is exciting to see the range of work with which UNM undergraduates are involved as well as the ways these projects were informed and strengthened by resources students found through the University Libraries,” said Cindy Pierard, director of access services and undergraduate engagement for University Libraries. “By sharing student work in this way, we aim to show what UNM students can do and inspire other students to reach the same high standards.”

The new award celebrates outstanding undergraduate research that incorporates the skilled use of University Libraries resources and that demonstrates information literacy skills. It gives University Libraries the opportunity to celebrate the scholars, but also to learn about what resources are most helpful to undergraduate students conducting research.

“This was our first year for the award,” Pierard said.  “We were delighted by both the interest from students as well as the caliber of work we received.”

The award was made possible by generous contributions from long-time library supporters Jim and Mary Lois Hulsman.


Advanced Researcher Category

First place:
Jesse Yelvington, senior, Sociology, Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts
Naming the Nameless: An Exploration of Queer Poetry and Empowerment



 

Second place:
Ashley R. Koger, junior, Nutrition & Dietetics
The Fight for Historical Representation and Accuracy: Statues of the Confederacy


 

Third place:
Patrick R. Latimer, junior, Astrophysics
’Water Fountain’ Masers in Proto-Planetary Nebulae

 

 


Emerging Researcher Category

First Place:
Ellerie Ann Freisinger, Sophomore, English
Racial Condition of America Through ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’

 

 

Second Place:
Anastasiya A. Andriyash, Sophomore, Biochemistry
John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address: An Analysis of its Context, Legacy, and Implications



 

Third Place:
Luisa Pennington, Sophomore, Communications and Journalism
Existence, Emotion, and Expression: Tragic Elements Within Shakespearean Sonnets

]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesPhysics & AstronomySociologyHealth, Exercise & Sports SciencesUniversity LibrariesResearchSat, 31 Mar 2018 15:00:07 GMTAs the leading research institute in New Mexico, UNM strives to recognize its student and faculty research initiatives. Now, thanks to a generous donation, University Libraries is awarding six undergraduate students with the inaugural Jim and Mary Lois...Rachel Whitthttps://news.unm.edu/news/winners-of-inaugural-undergraduate-research-award-announcedSat, 31 Mar 2018 15:00:00 GMT

UNM's STEM University hosts 'Pathways to Leadership and Innovation: An Evening with Women in STEM'

Join The University of New Mexico's STEM University for “Pathways to Leadership and Innovation: An Evening with Women in STEM,” on March 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the SUB Ballroom C.

This event is open for those curious about science, engineering, technology and or research. Learn more about different career option that pay you to do the work you love. At the event, STEM professionals and students share insight about how they pursued their diverse positions of influence in STEM, strategies for overcoming academic and professional challenges, finding mentors and pathways to becoming leaders.

After the event, enjoy a free screening of National Geographic’s new documentary JANE. This film features previously lost footage of Goodall's early days studying wild chimpanzees. Stick around afterward for an ‘ask me anything’ with Melissa Emery Thompson, UNM’s own chimpanzee expert!

Registration is not required, but is appreciated to order enough food. Deadline to register is Thursday, March 29. Admission is free and walk-ins welcome, but cash is required for snacks and merchandise.

The full schedule and speaker information can be found at the website.

For questions, contact Tara Hackel at tshackel@unm.edu.

 

]]>Lobo HubCollege of Arts & SciencesResearchWed, 28 Mar 2018 18:38:46 GMTJoin The University of New Mexico's STEM University for “Pathways to Leadership and Innovation: An Evening with Women in STEM,” on March 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the SUB Ballroom C. This event is open for those curious about science, engineering,...https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-s-stem-university-hosts-pathways-to-leadership-and-innovation-an-evening-with-women-in-stemWed, 28 Mar 2018 18:26:00 GMT

UNM's Earth and Planetary Sciences hosts 2nd annual Stuart A. Northrop Distinguished Lecturer

The department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at The University of New Mexico presents the 2nd annual Stuart A. Northrop Distinguished Lecturer: Susannah Porter, who will give a lecture titled “Tiny Vampires and Living Fossils: The Record of Early Life in The Grand Canyon” at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 6 at Northrop Hall room 122. Reception to follow in Silver Family Geology Museum.

Porter became a professor and vice chair in the Department of Earth Science at the University of California at Santa Barbara after completing a one-year NASA astrobiology post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA. She received her bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Yale University in 1995 and her Ph.D. in biology at Harvard University in 2002.

In this talk, Porter will discuss evidence from her work on microfossils from the ~770–730 Ma Chuar Group of the Grand Canyon. For most of its >3.5 billion year history on Earth, life has been microbial, dominated by Bacteria and Archaea (i.e. the “prokaryotes”, cells that lack nuclei). Human ancestors, the first eukaryotes (cells characterized by a nucleus and organelles such as mitochondria), appeared only ca. 1600 million years ago (Ma), and large, multicellular forms, including animals and seaweed, diversified only very recently, beginning around 600 Ma.


Porter’s research focuses on the early diversification and ecological expansion of eukaryotes during the Mesoproterozoic (1600–1000 Ma) and Neoproterozoic eras (1000–541 Ma), when evidence is seen increased in protistan diversity, the first appearance of mineralized skeletons, an increase in the relative contribution of eukaryotic algae to primary productivity, and the first few ‘experiments’ in eukaryotic multicellularity.

Porter currently studies the early fossil record of animals and their protistan relatives and has worked on problems relating to the evolution of skeletal biomineralization, the influence of snowball Earth glaciations on the biosphere, the early evolution of eukaryotes, and the Cambrian diversification of animals.

Lovejoy is professor emeritus of biology at Georgia Southern University, who influenced generations of students with his own teaching and research. Lovejoy was born in a small Ohio town coming from four generations of coal miners and became a first generation college graduate. After serving in the Navy, he attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he majored in geology. A month later he boarded a bus for Albuquerque and UNM where he earned a master’s degree in geology.

Lovejoy worked as a geologist for Shell Oil Company in Midland Texas, then after six years enrolled at OSU to pursue a Ph.D. in zoology. Lovejoy has had three interesting and satisfying careers:  geologist, biologist and teacher.

The Stuart A. Northrop Distinguished Lecture Series, launched in 2016 through a generous donation by Bill Lovejoy (UNM Alumnus and former student of Northrop), honors former EPS professor and chair Stuart ‘Stu’ Alvord Northrop. Northrop’s contributions to the UNM Department of Geology during his long tenure as chairman (1929-1961) were profound.

Northrop laid the foundation of the present department, including the creation of the MS and Ph.D. programs and the construction of the department's building, which now bears his name. He was a kind and generous scholar and teacher, always ready to share his vast knowledge of New Mexico geology. The legacy he Ieft his students, colleagues and the State of New Mexico is a large one.

]]>Inside UNMCollege of Arts & SciencesEarth & Planetary SciencesResearchMon, 26 Mar 2018 23:15:36 GMTThe department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at The University of New Mexico presents the 2nd annual Stuart A. Northrop Distinguished Lecturer: Susannah Porter, who will give a lecture titled “Tiny Vampires and Living Fossils: The Record of Early Life...https://news.unm.edu/news/unm-s-earth-and-planetary-sciences-hosts-2nd-annual-stuart-a-northrop-distinguished-lecturerMon, 26 Mar 2018 22:00:00 GMT

UNM’s McCrady makes social impact through research

The 1960s were a time of social activism, with the idea of “changing the world” a prevalent way of thinking. It was a decade of revolution that shaped many – including Dr. Barbara McCrady, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and the director of The University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions.

As an undergraduate biology major at Purdue University, McCrady was looking for her calling. She became a lab technician in a developmental neurobiology lab, thinking that the results of the research would one day make a difference in the lives of others. However, after taking an abnormal psychology course McCrady began to see that psychology provided a different avenue to foster individual health and improve the lives of others. “I really wanted to do something with immediate social impact,” she said.

Now, more than 45 years later, McCrady is being recognized as UNM’s 63rd Annual Research Lecture recipient, one of the highest honors the University bestows on its faculty. This selection is made by the UNM Research Policy Committee and through nominations from peers across the United States and abroad.

“My first reaction when I see people getting their lives back is that it is like a gift to contribute to these positive changes. In our clinical trials we are gaining scientific knowledge that can be used more broadly in the treatment of AUDs. We’re making that knowledge more widely-available. It’s an amazing experience.” — Dr. Barbara McCrady

As part of the ARL honor, McCrady presents a lecture, “Til Death Do Us Part: A Lifetime of Research to Better Understand and Treat Alcohol Disorders in the Family,” on Wednesday, April 4 in the Centennial Engineering Center. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. A reception follows afterward.

McCrady specializes in research on the treatment of alcohol and drug problems, with a particular emphasis on families and support systems in general. Much of her career has been devoted to examining Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy (ABCT), which she developed. It is now the standard treatment for couples when one of the individuals has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). McCrady conducted several controlled clinical trials of ABCT, beginning in the 1970s, which was a time when the spouses of persons with alcohol problems only had one choice for themselves: Al-Anon.

“Alcohol problems develop, exist and are resolved within families,” said McCrady. “My research has focused on understanding how alcohol problems affect families and how families can work together to facilitate recovery.”

As a graduate student, McCrady studied families and family theories as a social context in which people solve problems. Her research in the alcohol field started when a former colleague who received a grant to develop a family involved alcohol treatment for people, and asked her to design a research evaluation of the treatment.

“I got into the field by accident, but it was a good accident,” McCrady recalled. “These issues grabbed me emotionally and were very meaningful. The destruction caused by alcohol problems and the potential for recovery both affected me. I got hooked through the interviews with individual patients and family members. I’ve learned a lot, both about the devastation that alcohol can cause in families and about the transformations that can occur when people recover.”

Since then, McCrady’s research has led her to understand a lot about alcohol and physiology, social issues, the brain, and mental health problems. She has dedicated her career to improving treatments for persons affected by AUD and other drug problems through the development of empirically supported treatments. In addition to her work on conjoint therapy, she has tested other approaches that involve the social network, cognitive behavioral therapy, mutual help groups as well as therapies for women. Her research has focused on both outcomes research and mechanisms of change in therapy.

“Our therapy is data-driven,” said McCrady. “We’ve found that it’s best to engage families and couples from the beginning. We see better outcomes, which flies in the face of other treatment and recovery approaches. We’ve also found that when couples work together on drinking issues they learn to cope with other life problems as well.

Predominant models have seen family members as disturbed in their own right, but the research tends to contradict this idea McCrady says. “Families are in a chronically stressful that they don’t know how to cope with, and often experience a lot of depression and anxiety,” McCrady said.

Her recent projects involve examining the active ingredients of ABCT, the importance of addressing the couple’s relationship as part of treatment and its mechanisms of change. McCrady is also developing an abbreviated version of ABCT to improve dissemination of the treatment and is collaborating with colleagues at the University of Massachusetts on NIH-funded grants adapting ABCT for work with heavy drinking military personnel. She is also assisting with the development of a smartphone app for the family members of individuals with DWI arrests.

“My first reaction when I see people getting their lives back is that it is like a gift to contribute to these positive changes,” McCrady said. “In our clinical trials, we are gaining scientific knowledge that can be used more broadly in the treatment of AUDs. We’re making that knowledge more widely-available. It’s an amazing experience.”

]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesPsychologyResearchThu, 22 Mar 2018 22:05:59 GMTThe 1960s were a time of social activism, with the idea of “changing the world” a prevalent way of thinking. It was a decade of revolution that shaped many – including Dr. Barbara McCrady, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and the director of The...https://news.unm.edu/news/unms-mccrady-makes-social-impact-through-researchThu, 22 Mar 2018 22:00:00 GMT

Pages