UNM Research News

UNM partners with NSF, Purdue on new engineering research center

The University of New Mexico is part of a new National Science Foundation-funded engineering research center that will develop new technologies to produce fuels from U.S. shale gas deposits that could inject $20 billion annually into the economy.

UNM researchers will partner with lead institution Purdue University in the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources, or CISTAR, which will be based at Purdue.

Abhaya Datye

Abhaya Datye, Distinguished and Regents’ Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is the UNM lead on the project. He is internationally known for his research in catalysis and nanomaterials. Also involved from UNM are Jeffrey Brinker, Distinguished and Regents’ Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and an expert in membrane separation; Fernando Garzon, a professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Steven Peralta, diversity program director for the Engineering Student Success Center, and Stefi Weisburd, education and outreach manager for the School of Engineering. Both Brinker and Garzon hold joint appointments with Sandia National Laboratories. 

The center also includes researchers from Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas at Austin, as well as partners from industry, national laboratories and national and international research organizations.

NSF will provide $19.75 million over five years for the center. Industrial and university partners will contribute additional funding and critical resources.

The new approach proposes to convert light hydrocarbons from shale gas into chemicals and transportation fuels using a network of portable, modular processing plants. It is estimated that there is enough energy in shale to provide all of the nation’s transportation fuels for a hundred years.

The team has proposed a new process concept that, with innovations in catalysts, separation processes and reactor designs, is projected to be profitable at today’s energy prices.

Datye said that UNM brings an important piece of expertise to the team.

“UNM research is important to the overall center,” he said. “They sought out institutions who had specific kinds of expertise that UNM has.”

These new technologies will help the United States maintain its manufacturing competitiveness while reducing the cost and potential environmental risks associated with gas and natural gas liquids transportation by pipeline, trucks and rail. The CISTAR process also will result in lower carbon emissions by reducing the cost of extracting natural gas and improving energy efficiency in converting light hydrocarbons to fuels and chemicals.

On the UNM side, Datye said there will be a significant student involvement, with this project spawning internships where our students can study at some of the other partner institutions. He also said it will be an important recruiting tool to attract new students into the School of Engineering, especially those from diverse backgrounds. Peralta will lead the effort to translate what is being worked on in the project and introduce the concepts into local and area K-12 classrooms.

“This project will significantly benefit students and train them for the jobs of the future in key areas that are vital for creating fuels of the future,” Datye said.

The project will also lead to the hiring of a new faculty member in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Information about the center is available at http://cistar.us. A video about CISTAR is available at https://youtu.be/lEZEPE9rdR0.

The CISTAR research will be linked with educational, mentoring and outreach initiatives for students at all levels. Graduate students will have opportunities to engage in multi-institution collaborative research, to mentor undergraduate and K-12 students in research, and to plan and participate in K-12 outreach events. Undergraduate students will learn about the research through coursework and educational training such as an entrepreneurship boot camp. 

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringChemical & Biological EngineeringResearchSat, 16 Sep 2017 12:00:11 GMTThe University of New Mexico is part of a new National Science Foundation-funded engineering research center that will develop new technologies to produce fuels from U.S. shale gas deposits that could inject $20 billion annually into the economy. UNM...Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/unm-partners-with-nsf-purdue-on-new-engineering-research-centerSat, 16 Sep 2017 12:00:00 GMT

NSF projects to take a holistic look at water quality

A researcher in The University of New Mexico School of Engineering has received $1.4 million from the National Science Foundation in two separate grants to study issues of water quality using holistic approaches that have never been attempted before.

Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, said the two projects, though separate, both will examine issues surrounding three key elements in water: carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.

“These are elements that are essential for life,” he said. “All living organisms depend on them, so it’s important to look at how their availability in water from different sources and at different locations control water quality along river networks.”

Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon, shown here by a river in Colorado, is undertaking two large studies on water quality that will examine several bodies of water in different states.

The first project, titled “How do interactions of transport and stoichiometry maximize stream nutrient retention?,” is a collaboration with the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University. The three-year project, which began July 15, will seek to understand how the availability of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in four different stream compartments (i.e., main channel, and surface, shallow and deep transient storage zones) controls microbial metabolism and the cycling and export of such nutrients. The team will look at water sources in three different sites: Boulder Creek, in a Rocky Mountain setting in Colorado; Catalina-Jemez, a low-nutrient and meandering stream in New Mexico, and a high-nutrient agricultural stream in Iowa.

Gonzalez-Pinzon says that there have been many previous studies that have looked at one (mainly nitrogen) or two of the three nutrients in a specific stream compartment (mostly in the main channel), but there are not field studies where the simultaneous cycling of these three macronutrients have been studied in stream compartments known to control water quality in river networks.

“Despite that we know that carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous are elemental nutrients that are essential for life, we do not understand how their spatial and temporal variability (due to geological, hydrological and anthropogenic factors) affect the abundance of aquatic microbial communities and the rates at which these microorganisms (the main players) take up nutrients, which ultimately controls nutrient export and downstream water quality,” he said. “Everything affects everything else. Nutrients in rivers affect and are affected by microorganisms, which are eaten by aquatic insects, which are eaten by fish in the stream, which humans then eat, so there’s a huge food chain implication. Also, nutrients in waters also affect water supply to crops, animals and humans.”

The researchers expect to find differences in nutrient cycling patterns in the three streams they will study because such streams have very different topographies, geologic templates and levels of human intervention.

“We can compare steep vs. flat streams, pristine vs. altered streams, and confined vs. highly-meandering streams, which will help us contrast our results and identify overall patterns,” Gonzalez-Pinzon said.

He said this is a huge project that will utilize skillsets from researchers in different areas, such as environmental science, earth science, and water resources engineering. The team will spend one year at each study site and the graduate students involved in the project will take classes during extended research visits at the other universities where the principal investigators work. At the conclusion of the study, the team will organize a workshop to promote and stimulate interaction and exchange of ideas and knowledge among the principal players in the stream restoration field, particularly young scientists and practitioners, stream restoration companies, and local environmental agencies.

The second project, titled “Nutrient Dynamics Along a River Continuum: Combining Sensor Data, Experiments, and Time Series Analyses to Identify Local to Watershed Scale Drivers of Nutrient Cycling,” which began Aug. 15, will also look at carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous, but this time examining nutrient cycling along an entire river corridor formed along the Jemez River and the Rio Grande. Particularly, this project seeks to enhance data collection in traditionally understudied bodies of water like large rivers.

“Obtaining accurate data on the levels of elements in larger rivers and bodies of water is difficult due to logistical constraints such as access, unpredictable water, and sediment fluxes and data interpretation, Gonzalez-Pinzon said.

Also involved in the study is David Van Horn, a research assistant professor in the UNM Department of Biology, who has ample experience in river instrumentation, long-term data collection, and analysis and aquatic ecology.

Gonzalez-Pinzon said that previous studies have measured levels of one or two nutrients (mainly nitrogen), but primarily in small headwater streams, which aren’t nearby to large population centers. Examining nutrient dynamics in larger rivers will provide data that can be compared to previous data on headwater streams to see how we can better understand nutrient cycling at the watershed scale, and also how food and energy resources are impacted by and impact water resources.

“Most cities are adjacent to large rivers, and we don’t have data on how they work” he said.

This project will make use of novel sensing equipment that can examine nutrient levels almost continuously. The broader impacts of this study will be communicated in a workshop to train academics and professionals on long-term data collection and interpretation.

 “Our hope is that both projects will improve understanding of nutrient cycling in rivers. These projects will provide actionable science to improve stream restoration and nutrient mitigation,” he said.

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringCivil EngineeringResearchThu, 14 Sep 2017 21:52:25 GMTA researcher in The University of New Mexico School of Engineering has received $1.4 million from the National Science Foundation in two separate grants to study issues of water quality using holistic approaches that have never been attempted...Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/nsf-projects-to-take-a-holistic-look-at-water-qualityThu, 14 Sep 2017 19:12:00 GMT

Shared Knowledge Conference accepting nominations & applications

UNM Graduate Studies is now accepting proposals for the Fall 2017 Shared Knowledge Conference.

Students go head-to-head presenting their research at the conference. The Fall Conference will be formatted similar to the spring event, with two separate showcases demonstrating the excellence of UNM students.

Entries for both showcases must be submitted by Oct. 9.

The Shared Knowledge Conference will take place on Nov. 8 in Hodgin Hall.

One event, “LoboBITES”, is a competition where graduate students will present their thesis in just three minutes.  Prizes include up to $1000 in scholarships and a chance to represent UNM at a regional competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

The second event will be a series of poster presentations by graduate students from all graduate programs and undergraduates from selected programs; presenters are nominated by their academic departments.

LoboBITES Competition
LoboBITES are three minute presentations on a thesis, dissertation or other substantial research project. Students must present their research in a compelling and easily digestible way, using language and terms appropriate for a general, non-academic audience. Presentations will be judged by a panel consisting of UNM and Albuquerque community members and top contestants can win up to $1000.

To read the rules of the competition or submit your abstract, click here.

Poster Presentations
Each graduate program should nominate one poster for every 25 students in their program (programs with less than 25 students can still nominate one poster). Students who are selected to present will benefit from the experience by adding the presentation to their CV, interacting professionally with conference attendees, gaining valuable conference experience and having their work promoted online on the conference website. Nominations must come from the department or program, students cannot nominate themselves.

To read poster requirements or nominate a student, click here.

The SKC Conference is sponsored by Graduate Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Honors College. It’s free to attend and open to the UNM community and beyond; but presenters must be UNM students.

]]>Lobo HubResearchWed, 13 Sep 2017 11:00:08 GMTUNM Graduate Studies is now accepting proposals for the Fall 2017 Shared Knowledge Conference. Students go head-to-head presenting their research at the conference. The Fall Conference will be formatted similar to the spring event, with two separate...http://news.unm.edu/news/shared-knowledge-conference-accepting-nominations-applicationsWed, 13 Sep 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Invisible borders in science & technology

A University of New Mexico professor is looking at why engineering and scientific minds are choosing to take their careers overseas.

Roli Varma, a professor at the UNM School of Public Administration, in collaboration with the University of Texas Dallas, was recently awarded a $217,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study why industrial engineers and scientists from India return to their home country.

“This research will show how the notions of space and location are changing with transnational migration,” she said. “And how the social construction of nationality is being transformed as more people cross borders.”

The research is a continuation of earlier NSF funding Varma received to study return migration of academic scientists and engineers. She says the work will also help bridge the work economy between developed nations.

“It will show that international connections are being institutionalized in a way that allows engineers and scientists in India and the U.S. to participate in a global economy,” she said.

The project will serve to complement existing models of return migration, which overwhelmingly focus on the economic impacts. To do so, researchers will look at the social, professional and political elements that migration decisions are based on. Varma says the impacts of the study could be wide-spread, and potentially lead to more research on human capital, science and technology development. It could also unveil more information on transnational migration and immigration patterns.

“I am very happy and feel extremely fortunate to get another grant on a topic that is of interest to any developed nation,” she said.  

Varma, who's been at UNM since 2006, received her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science, before attaining her M.S. in Science, Technology and Values and Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Her research has garnered more than $1.1 million over the course of her career, not including this most recent award. 

]]>Front PageFaculty NewsSchool of Public AdministrationResearchTue, 12 Sep 2017 21:00:08 GMTA University of New Mexico professor is looking at why engineering and scientific minds are choosing to take their careers overseas. Roli Varma, a professor at the UNM School of Public Administration, in collaboration with the University of Texas...Rachel Whitthttp://news.unm.edu/news/invisible-borders-in-science-technologyTue, 12 Sep 2017 21:00:00 GMT

Study finds legal cannabis may reduce use of dangerous prescription drugs

The United States is in the midst of a major drug epidemic. Stories continue to roll in daily about the lives claimed by prescription and non-prescription drug overdoses. The numbers are staggering. Opioids alone (including prescription pain killers and street heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, 90+ Americans every single day, and more than any year on record according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). From 2000 to 2015, half a million people died from prescription drug overdoses.

The opioid epidemic is the leading preventable form of death in the United States.

“The potential for addiction and health risks associated with using multiple scheduled drugs places additional direct monetary and health costs on patients and healthcare systems due to an increased number of side effects, risky drug interactions, dependency, and overdose” stated University of New Mexico researchers Jacob Miguel Vigil and Sarah See Stith, of a new study titled, Effects of Legal Access to Cannabis on Scheduled II-V Drug Prescriptions, which will be soon released in an upcoming issue of the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.

The study resulted from insights provided by co-investigator Dr. Anthony Reeve, a pain specialist from the Industrial Rehabilitation Pain Clinics, Albuquerque, NM and also one of the first physicians to authorize the use of cannabis for patients with chronic pain in the state of New Mexico.

Reeve observed a number of his patients coming back to see him, not only less frequently after enrolling in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP), but anecdotally, they would often claim that they were not only reducing their pain medications, but other types of prescription medications as well.

In their historical cohort study the researchers compared individuals that enrolled in the medical cannabis program to individuals with a similar diagnosis that chose not to enroll in the medical cannabis program but were offered the same authorization, to measure the effect of enrollment in a state-authorized United States’ MCP on Scheduled II-V drug prescription patterns.

UNM Economics Assistant Professor Sarah See Stith and Psychology Associate Professor Jacob Vigil.

They compared 83 chronic pain patients, who enrolled in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program during a five+ year period from April 2010 to October 2015, to 42 non-enrolled patients over a 24 month period (starting 6 months prior to enrollment for the MCP patients) using the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Using outcome variables including baseline levels and pre- and post-enrollment monthly trends in the numbers of drug prescriptions, distinct drug classes, dates prescription drugs were filled, and prescribing providers, the researchers found that 28 cannabis program enrollees (34 percent) and one comparison group patient (2 percent) ceased the use of all scheduled prescription medications by the last six months of the observation period.

Age and gender-adjusted regressions show that, although no statistically significant differences existed in pre-enrollment levels and trends, the post-enrollment trend among MCP patients is statistically significantly negative for all four measures of scheduled drug medication usage, while the post-enrollment trend is zero among the comparison group. The cannabis program enrollees showed statistically significantly lower levels across all four measures in comparison to the non-enrollees by 10 months post-enrollment. The researchers hypothesize that legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations.

“Our current opioid epidemic is the leading preventable form of death in the United States, killing more people than car accidents and gun violence,” said Vigil, the senior author and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. “No one has ever died from smoking too much cannabis. Therefore, the relative safety and efficacy of using cannabis in comparison to that of the other scheduled medications should be taken by the health providers and legislators, and may very well to have been considered by the patients in our study.”

The authors state that increased patient access to MCPs could impact prescription drug activity in numerous ways. “Potentially, MCPs might drive increased prescribing of medications as a result of side effects of cannabis use, including agitation or somnolence. Alternatively, access to cannabis could lead to a reduction in scheduled prescription drug use, if it treats patients’ underlying condition(s) more effectively than scheduled drugs requiring a prescription.”

The researchers are currently employing naturalistic studies to identify how older patients use and are affected by opioids, benzodiazepines, and medical cannabis for treating significant and societally expensive health conditions.

To support this and related research on the safety and effectiveness of Cannabis sativa as a pharmacological agent, you can do so by donating to The University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research Fund.

]]>Front PagePsychologyResearchFri, 08 Sep 2017 11:50:47 GMTThe United States is in the midst of a major drug epidemic. Stories continue to roll in daily about the lives claimed by prescription and non-prescription drug overdoses. The numbers are staggering. Opioids alone (including prescription pain killers and...Steve Carrhttp://news.unm.edu/news/study-finds-legal-cannabis-may-reduce-use-of-dangerous-prescription-drugsFri, 08 Sep 2017 11:27:00 GMT

Geologists seek answers with largest deployment of seismometers along Alaskan Peninsula

Using a fleet of airplanes, ships and intrepid scientists, Cornell is leading the largest single deployment of seismometers along the Alaskan Peninsula – a $4.5 million endeavor that geologists from across the country hope will solve long-standing mysteries about the region and the planet.

“This is something I’ve wanted to see done for a long, long time” said Geoff Abers, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and lead investigator for the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment. “I’ve been working off the Alaskan Peninsula since 1990 and it became obvious that the only way to get something of this scale to work is in this kind of collaborative mode.”

The effort is being funded by the National Science Foundation and includes eight other research institutions including The University of New Mexico’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences Assistant Professor Lindsay Lowe Worthington, who has been involved with research involving the tectonics of Alaska for 12 years. Worthington joined the PI team after an open call for collaborators.

Scientists have been attracted to the region because of the subduction zone located at the bottom of the ocean where the Pacific and North American tectonic plates collide. Ninety percent of all U.S. earthquakes occur here and it’s the only location in North America where magnitude 8 and 9 earthquakes have been recorded. Most of the continent’s known volcanic eruptions have occurred along this subduction zone as well. Despite being such a geologically active area, the remote region hasn’t been monitored very well, especially at the ocean bottom, according to Abers. But recent improvements to seismometer technology and reliability are providing an opportunity to do so.

The seismic experiment will scatter 105 high-end seismometers off a 435-mile-long stretch of the peninsula’s coast that includes the communities of Kodiak, King Salmon and Sand Point. Broadband seismic equipment will be buried on various islands and ocean-bottom seismometers deployed as far off shore as 300 miles. The array will cross the Aleutian Trench where the tectonic plates converge.

“We’ll be using signals from earthquakes we record to try and learn more about what the stuff down there is made out of,” said Abers. “Where do the magmas that show up in volcanoes come from? Somewhere below the crust they form and there’s a lot of debate about what that process is. And how does that actually trigger the volcanos and why are they where they are?”

Another mystery geologists will examine is why one particular stretch of the subduction zone hasn’t recorded a major earthquake in the last several decades while every other stretch has. “Is there something different about the character of the sea floor here that might help us understand why? Is it a much smoother sea floor or do the faults go deeper?” asked Abers.

The instrument deployment will be carried out next year in May/July. Worthington will be a co-chief scientist on one of the deployment cruises.

Abers worked with his colleagues to map the best drop location for each seismometer and is currently coordinating a deployment schedule with a fleet of research ships. He also worked with Alaskan land owners, educators and pilots to negotiate land-based locations. The seismometers are scheduled to be deployed in the spring of 2018, with the goal of beginning recovery efforts in the summer of 2019. It won’t be until then that the data can be collected and provided openly to the entire science community.

“The OBSs will record data for ~15 months, after which it will be made available to the scientific community and the public for analysis by anyone who has the interested,” said Worthington. “Post instrument recovery, I will be involved with community outreach, which includes letting people know the data are available and analysis to determine subduction zone structure.”

“There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation for the data,” added Abers.

In addition to Cornell and UNM, other institutions involved with the project are Colgate University, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington, the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of Colorado, Columbia University and Washington University, St. Louis. Ocean-bottom seismometers are provided by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

]]>Front PageEarth & Planetary SciencesResearchThu, 07 Sep 2017 17:31:28 GMTUsing a fleet of airplanes, ships and intrepid scientists, Cornell is leading the largest single deployment of seismometers along the Alaskan Peninsula – a $4.5 million endeavor that geologists from across the country hope will solve long-standing...Syl Kacapyrhttp://news.unm.edu/news/geologists-seek-answers-with-largest-deployment-of-seismometers-along-alaskan-peninsulaThu, 07 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMT

Nuclear Engineering receives $2 million in grants from Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Faculty members in The University of New Mexico Department of Nuclear Engineering have received more than $2 million in separate grants from the Nuclear Energy University Program, a part of the Department of Energy, as well as a faculty development award from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Dr. Youho Lee

Youho Lee, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering, is the principal investigator for “An Experimental and Analytical Investigation into Critical Heat Flux,” which will examine the issue of improving fuel materials and performance after the Fukushima nuclear accident to advance the design, safety and operation of next-generation power plants. The project will be conducted in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, Oregon State University, Imperial College in London, Idaho National Laboratory, Areva and General Electric Global Research. UNM’s share of the three-year grant is $320,000.

Lee is also leading a project, along with MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Kairos Power, that will study design and operational challenges faced by the Molten Salt Reactor, a promising next-generation nuclear reactor that can run at higher temperatures than conventional light water reactors for a higher thermodynamic efficiency, while staying at a low operating pressure with enhanced safety. UNM’s share of this three-year grant is $390,000.

Dr. Osman Anderoglu

Osman Anderoglu, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering, will lead a project titled “Nanostructured Composite Alloys for Extreme Environments,” along with Nathan A. Mara from Los Alamos National Laboratory. This project will seek to develop new materials and concepts that can withstand the very high irradiation doses, elevated temperatures and corrosive environments of next-generation nuclear reactors. UNM’s share of this project is $640,000.

Anderoglu is also a collaborator, along with Eda Aydogan from Los Alamos National Laboratory and project leader Kester Clarke of the Colorado School of Mines, on a project that seeks to develop materials for advanced reactor concepts that can transform impurities into assets that help the material become more irradiation-resistant and can also increase the temperature range that the alloy can be used. UNM’s share of this three-year project is $250,000.

Dr. Anil Prinja

In addition to these projects, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has awarded the UNM Department of Nuclear Engineering $450,000 for three years through its Faculty Development Program. Leading that project will be Anil K. Prinja, department chair for nuclear engineering and a UNM Distinguished Professor, who will be working with Anderoglu.

This program supports the promotion and retention of a new junior faculty member in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Working with Prinja, Anderoglu will seek to develop a novel, nationally-recognized research program in nuclear structural and fuels materials with associated educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The main focus of the research will be to establish a mechanical property-testing laboratory capable of handling radioactive specimens within the existing hot cell in the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory. This facility will provide unique hands-on experience for students and support industry and various federal programs in nuclear materials. The ultimate goal is to integrate the UNM capability into the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science User Facility to allow access to universities, national labs and industrial partners and promote long-term collaborations. 

]]>Front PageFaculty NewsSchool of EngineeringNuclear EngineeringResearchWed, 30 Aug 2017 12:00:23 GMTFaculty members in The University of New Mexico Department of Nuclear Engineering have received more than $2 million in separate grants from the Nuclear Energy University Program, a part of the Department of Energy, as well as a faculty development award...Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/nuclear-engineering-receives-2-million-in-grants-from-department-of-energy-nuclear-regulatory-commissionWed, 30 Aug 2017 12:00:00 GMT

UNM developed imaging system nets prestigious award

University of New Mexico Physics & Astronomy assistant professor Victor Acosta is the recipient of one of only eight Beckman “Young Investigator Awards” issued in 2017 by The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The award is designed to fund projects that aim to revolutionize their scientific fields. Acosta was recognized for his research project, “Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy on a Diamond Chip.”

The award is in the amount of $750,000, to begin Sept. 1, 2017, and will be distributed over four years. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation funds innovative ideas in scientific research, with support for education. The Beckman Young Investigator Program was established in 1991 and is intended to provide research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of their academic careers to foster the inventions that will open up new avenues of research in science. Acosta presented a poster on the research and accepted the award in person at the 2017 Beckman Symposium, held in Irvine, CA.

Acosta’s research group, the Quantum Nanophotonics and Biosensing Team, specializes in using color centers in diamonds to study nanoscale phenomena in biological systems. For the Beckman project, the group is developing a new type of magnetic resonance sensor. The sensor is based on laser interrogation of diamond nanostructure, to detect the type and behavior of complex molecules in their natural environment.

This can be applied to the rapid analysis of proteins and metabolites in cell systems biology, as well as for diagnosis and fundamental studies of malaria through its magnetic signatures.

While a microscope takes optical images, diamond nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can produce images of individual cells that reveal their underlying molecular composition without altering the cells in any way.

Detection of biomolecules at 100 times greater sensitivity than current device
The sensor is structured to increase the total contact area with the sample, causing a boost in the diamond NMR signal and reduction in acquisition time. This allows for sensitive detection of sub-nanoliter volumes of trace samples under a wide variety of environmental conditions. In addition, this technique is capable of being employed in low magnetic fields to detect nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR), making it possible to detect extremely small trace quantities of analytes (e.g. nanograms of powder).

The diamond NMR spectroscopy platform is capable of detecting minute quantities of biomolecules. The specific detection of biomolecules plays a central role in modern life science including cell systems biology, high throughput drug screening and clinical oncology.

An example of an application for the use of non-invasive molecular detection may be found in the analysis of samples for clinical trials in the development of new drugs or treatments. In the testing phase of development, scientists typically administer a dose to a trial population — humans for clinical trials or small animals for pre-clinical trials. Then, blood or urine samples are drawn at timed intervals. These samples are currently examined using NMR, as well as other techniques like mass spectrometry, to determine their molecular composition. The analysis is used to determine whether the treatment was effective or if it had side effects.

In general, conventional NMR machines in use today lack the sensitivity to image the individual samples in the trials. The bodily fluid samples are typically small, especially in the small animal trials.

The diamond NMR platform in development by Acosta’s team improves by a factor of about 100 upon the sensitivity of currently available NMR platforms. (See Acosta’s recent publication in Nature Communications.) With further improvements, sensitivity could possibly be increased to up to 10,000 times upon current devices. The technology could be a game-changer in drug development by enabling non-invasive molecular analysis of tiny (picoliter) fluid samples.

The laboratory work will be performed at UNM’s Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM), an internationally recognized center of excellence in photonics with a reputation for inventing disruptive nanoscale technologies. Acosta introduced the first diamond NMR Spectroscopy setup at CHTM, and there are now three in operation at the Center.

Learn more about the research:
Nanoscale physics research team performs magnetic resonance spectroscopy on a diamond chip

]]>Front PagePhysics & AstronomyCHTMResearchThu, 24 Aug 2017 21:30:10 GMTUniversity of New Mexico Physics & Astronomy assistant professor Victor Acosta is the recipient of one of only eight Beckman “Young Investigator Awards” issued in 2017 by The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Sharon Steelyhttp://news.unm.edu/news/unm-developed-imaging-system-nets-prestigious-awardThu, 24 Aug 2017 21:30:00 GMT

UNM Alumnus returns with new education study

A new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is allowing researchers at The University of New Mexico to study native Spanish speaking elementary students struggling with math problem solving in New Mexico and California.

Earlier this year, the NSF awarded UNM Education Psychology Research Professor H. Lee Swanson a four-year, $2.5 million grant to research “Math Problem Solving and Working Memory Growth in English Language Learners (ELL) with Math Disabilities (MD)” (NSF Award 1660828).

Swanson, who received his Ph.D. from UNM, said, “My education and training in the UNM Education Psychology department was excellent and set a solid foundation for my career and my research. I look forward to giving back to the University and New Mexico.”

One of the biggest challenges the U.S. public education system faces is addressing low academic performance among ELL students – a growing population. The Condition of Education (2017) reported the average percentage of ELL students in U.S. public schools was higher in 2014 (9.4 percent) than in 2004 (9.1 percent), with Spanish as the primary language for 77.1 percent of all ELL students.

“Mathematics is critical and many native Spanish speaking students, with and without MD, are not performing well on math tests and problem solving,” Swanson said. “Research has not addressed this issue and the information gained from this study is designed to contribute to the development of effective instruction.”

Swanson, along with UNM Education Psychology Professor M. Lee Van Horn, who is the co-principal investigator on the award, and their team are working with elementary schools in New Mexico and California to follow cohorts of native Spanish speaking students for three years. This research is the first of its kind to comprehensively study different cognitive models, within and across the English and Spanish language systems, that potentially mediate the relationship between growth in working memory and growth in math problem solving. The purpose of this work is to identify where difficulties in learning mathematics lie and what processes may be identified to develop effective interventions.

“This research is so important for the students of New Mexico who struggle with math problem solving, particularly those with MD,” said Jay Parkes, UNM Individual, Family, & Community Education Department Chair. “We are very excited to have a scholar of Dr. Swanson’s skill and reputation among us, and New Mexicans will benefit.”

Swanson leaves the University of California at Riverside as a Distinguished Professor and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Learning Disabilities. His research interests continue to involve intelligence, memory, mathematics, reading and dynamic assessment as they apply to children with learning disabilities.

]]>Front PageCollege of EducationEducational SpecialtiesResearchThu, 10 Aug 2017 21:30:43 GMTA new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is allowing researchers at The University of New Mexico to study native Spanish speaking elementary students struggling with math problem solving in New Mexico and California. Earlier this year, the NSF...Vanessa Tanhttp://news.unm.edu/news/unm-alumnus-returns-with-new-education-studyThu, 10 Aug 2017 21:24:00 GMT

SCCORE program provides research opportunity for STEM students

The University of New Mexico’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, AMP, is designed to increase the enrollment and graduation rate of historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

During the summer, the SCCORE program provides research engagement for approximately 10 STEM students in the process of transferring from New Mexico community colleges to New Mexico institutes of higher learning. The New Mexico AMP undergraduate research scholarship provides $2,000 to each student during each semester of research involvement.

“The SCCORE program is really fantastic for any students engaged in transferring, it helps them immediately get in a research project programs that they are headed toward at the university,” said Professor Laura Crossey, who is the institutional coordinator for AMP.   

Holly Olivarez spent part of her summer working in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory with Professor Yemane Asmerom.

In addition to the academic support that is provided to the students, the research experience is meant to help the students engage with the resources that are available to them. This makes it easier for those who are underrepresented minorities in STEM to make their way to higher education or a path in the field.

“This program is very important to STEM students because our research laboratories, our research staff and our graduate students are all terrific assets beyond the classroom that AMP and SCCORE are taking advantage of right from the beginning, helping ease the transition from a two-year to a four-year experience.” said Crossey.

SCOORE prepares students to be participants in STEM activities in the future, whether they go on to the work force or onto graduate school, by helping them maneuver through the mysterious world of research, which Crossey believes is a great partner of education.

"This program is very important to STEM students because our research laboratories, our research staff and our graduate students are all terrific assets beyond the classroom that AMP and SCCORE are taking advantage of right from the beginning." – Professor Laura Crossey

“We train the students so that they can create a stand-alone project on their own, and then we teach them how to use the equipment in the lab and to collect data,” said John Roesgen, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology who has been involved in the SCOORE program for two years. “They come in with a general idea of what they are interested in, by the end of the program they have information that they can present in front of any biology conference in the country.”  

Holly Olivarez, a SCOORE participant, will be a junior at UNM this fall once she transfers from CNM. She’s the first in her family to go to school, and has found a passion for science. She was majoring in math at CNM, but changed her mind after being in the program. “I’ve decided to change my major because I have enjoyed my experience here so much. It has been such a welcoming environment, and I feel that I am going to find my place here,” said Olivarez.

Laura Mayaneli-Brown works with an algae commonly known as spirulina. She's trying to get that particular culture in an alginate bead to become a viable food for long term space missions.

Olivarez is working in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Radiogenic Isotope Laboratory with Professor Yemane Asmerom. She’s using data samples collected from a stalagmite in a cave in the Carlsbad Caverns to correlate time frames and climate patterns by using wavelet analysis and Redfit technology.

“My portion of it, is to look at the long-term climate modulators, like solar cycles, ocean patterns, volcanic activity, that all come together and put together the climate for our part of the country,” said Olivarez. “It’s data that hasn’t been examined before, so that’s very exciting.”

Olivarez is also excited about the academic support that she has been receiving as a first-generation college student, “we were given strategies to start working towards getting a graduate degree. A lot of us, me included, are first-time college graduates. It’s a valuable resource that none of us would have had otherwise,” she said.

Laura Mayaneli-Brown, is also a transfer student from CNM who will be attending UNM in the fall. She has a culinary background, and found an interest for molecular gastronomy when attending culinary school. While attending SCOORE, Mayaneli-Brown was able to bring her love for food into the lab.

“I’m working with an algae called Arthrospira Platensis, commonly known as spirulina, by trying to get that particular culture in an alginate bead to become a viable food for long term space missions. If the culture can grow and thrive inside the beads, then they can grow in the beads in space,” said Mayaneli-Brown.

Mayaneli-Brown made beads every day, that look much like caviar, and took measurements to track its growth and compared it to those of a liquid culture. “It’s getting me excited about getting into the research field because it’s something that I didn’t even realize could be a possibility,” she said.

The program is working to ease the enrollment process for students by making resources more accessible in partnership with other UNM support programs, and by guiding them through any path that their curiosity takes them to with the guidance of long-standing mentors.

For more information, visit statewide AMP program.

 

]]>Front PageBiologyEarth & Planetary SciencesStudent SuccessResearchThu, 03 Aug 2017 21:00:11 GMTThe University of New Mexico’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, AMP, is designed to increase the enrollment and graduation rate of historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  During the...Noor-un-nisa Touchonhttp://news.unm.edu/news/sccore-program-provides-research-opportunity-for-stem-studentsThu, 03 Aug 2017 21:00:00 GMT

UNM Campus Observatory hosting viewing party for Aug. 21 solar eclipse

For the first time in nearly 40 years, sky gazers across the United States will have the chance to step outside their front doors and see what many experts are saying will be the most spectacular solar eclipse in American history.

UNM Eclipse Viewing Party

Come view the solar eclipse through a professional telescope and learn from UNM experts.

Where: UNM Campus Observatory
901 Yale Blvd. NE

When: Monday, Aug. 21, 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

The Aug. 21 eclipse will be visible in every corner of the nation, with millions of people living in and traveling to the ‘path of totality’, a 70-mile-wide path stretching coast to coast where a total solar eclipse will be visible. Unfortunately, spectators in Albuquerque will only see partial coverage of the sun, however, University of New Mexico Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy Ylva Pihlström hopes locals will still take advantage of this rare sight.

“It is really amazing to see,” said Pihlström, who is also the director of UNM’s Campus Observatory. “Even though we’re not in the path of totality, it’s still really cool to see the moon covering our sun when we’re used to just seeing it up there.”

REMEMBER: Do not look directly at the eclipse without taking the proper precautions. Doing so can cause injury and even blindness.

To make the most of the upcoming eclipse, Pihlström, with help from UNM students, is hosting a viewing party at the UNM Campus Observatory – 901 Yale Blvd. NE – from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. The event will give the campus community and the general public the opportunity to safely view the solar eclipse through UNM’s 14” professional telescope and talk to astronomers about its significance.

“It’s always nice when you can relate science to something that people can view and experience,” she said. “We’re excited to share our equipment and knowledge with the public and reach out to the community.”

Pihlström says the eclipse will begin around 10:20 a.m. and peak in Albuquerque at 11:45 a.m. At the height of the event, the moon will cover approximately 73 percent of the sun, making it appear as if it’s a bright, crescent moon. According to calculations, the eclipse will finish by 1:13 p.m.

The UNM watch party is free and open to the public. Nearby parking lots will require an ‘M’ permit. Lobos interested in attending can walk from campus to the observatory, located on Yale Blvd. just north of Lomas Blvd on UNM’s North Campus. They can also take the UNM shuttle bus from the Duck Pond toward G/Q Lot, exit at the ‘top of the hill’ stop and make the short walk to the observatory.

Due to parking restrictions around the facility, the general public is asked to park in one of UNM’s paid parking structures. From there, attendees can walk to the observatory or take the appropriate shuttle bus.

For those who want to view the eclipse from home or around campus, UNM’s Dept. of Physics & Astronomy is selling solar viewing glasses for $1 each. The glasses are made using solar filter paper and will protect your eyes from dangerous solar radiation. They’re available in the department’s office located at 1919 Lomas Blvd. NE. All of the proceeds will go to the upkeep of the Campus Observatory. NASA has also put together a video with directions on how to build a pinhole projector from a cereal box as another way to safely view the eclipse.

Click here for a map of UNM’s North Campus. The observatory is marked as building #208. 

]]>Front PageCollege of Arts & SciencesPhysics & AstronomyResearchLobo HubWed, 02 Aug 2017 14:00:10 GMTFor the first time in nearly 40 years, sky gazers across the United States will have the chance to step outside their front doors and see what many experts are saying will be the most spectacular solar eclipse in American history. UNM Eclipse Viewing...Aaron Hilfhttp://news.unm.edu/news/unm-campus-observatory-hosting-viewing-party-for-aug-21-solar-eclipseWed, 02 Aug 2017 14:00:00 GMT

UNM promotes six to rank of Distinguished Professor

University of New Mexico Interim Provost Craig White and Health Sciences Center Chancellor Paul Roth announced the promotion of six faculty to the rank of Distinguished Professor. They include: Mark Burge, Ke Jian “Jim” Liu, Kurt Nolte, Anil Prinja, Jim Stone and Adrian Brearley.

The rank of Distinguished Professor is the highest faculty title that UNM bestows. It is awarded to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements, and are nationally and internationally renowned as scholars.

2017 Distinguished Professors

Dr. Mark Burge

Mark Burge, Regents Professor of Medicine, Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism
Dr. Mark Burge has dedicated his career to improving the health of the people of New Mexico and persons with diabetes, through his research on improving the clinical management of diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2. His expertise in the field is recognized nationally, and has been published in all of the major peer reviewed general and subspecialty journals in his field. In addition, he has served on several prestigious editorial boards such as Journal of Investigative Medicine and Editorial Board, Diabetes Care.  

Dr. Burge continues to demonstrate his commitment to community service by serving on the medical staff of New Mexico’s “Camp 180,” a residential summer camp for children with type 1 diabetes. His passion for research and development of trainees and junior faculty continues to support and enhance the research infrastructure here at the University of New Mexico through clinical excellence and a track record of continuous research funding.

  Dr. Ke Jian “Jim” Liu

Ke Jian “Jim” Liu, associate dean for Research, College of Pharmacy, and professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Neurology
Dr. Ke Jian Liu is an internationally recognized expert for his research in the molecular mechanisms of brain injury and neuroprotection in stroke. He has published over 190 peer-reviewed papers and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1997, with funding exceeding $20M as principal investigator.

In addition, Dr. Liu’s demonstrative commitment to excellence in research and scholarship, teaching, mentoring and service to the scientific community have played a key role in establishing a successful research career in the field of  metal toxicity and carcinogenesis as well as in the field of stroke research.

Dr. Kurt Nolte

Kurt Nolte, professor, Pathology & Radiology, and chief medical investigator
Dr. Kurt Nolte is a scientific investigator with considerable experience in generating scholarly activity.  His contributions include one of the largest research portfolios amongst forensic pathologists in the United States. In 1993 the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) asked Dr. Nolte to lead the OMI response to a mysterious infectious disease outbreak that later became known as the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. He later co-authored a report in the New England Journal of Medicine about the newly recognized disease.

Dr. Nolte’s scholarly work is extensive in publications and he is considered a national and international expert in the use of radiological methodology in medical investigations and investigations of deaths related to substance abuse and infectious disease. Recently he has been a member of the National Commission on Forensic Science Medicolegal Death Investigation subcommittee, as well as the Scientific Inquiry and Research subcommittee.

Anil Prinja

Anil Prinja, professor and inaugural chair, Department of Nuclear Engineering
Professor Anil Prinja is an internationally recognized researcher and leader in the area of nuclear reactor physics, specifically focused on the development of theoretical and computational method to determine the transport of high-energy charged particles. 

Prinja has worked extensively with Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Idaho National Laboratory. He has served as the Chair of the Mathematics and Computations Division of the American Nuclear Society and was elected Fellow of the American Nuclear Society in 2003. He has also served as chair of the Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization.

Jim Stone

Jim Stone, professor of Photography, Art and Art History Department
Professor Stone has published numerous photography books including A Short Course in Photography: Digital, which is currently used as the principle text in over 600 colleges and universities globally. His book, Photography is currently in is twelfth edition and is used as the principle text in over 250 colleges and universities.

Stone’s extensive creative research is evidenced by the number of national and international exhibitions over the last four decades. His work was highlighted in China at the 14th International Photographic Art Exhibition in 2011. His work is also included in many museums including the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard and the Los Angeles County Museum. In 2009 he was awarded the prestigious James D. Phelan Art Award by the San Francisco Foundation. In 2016 he was awarded the Honored Educator by the Society of Photographic Education, where he also served on the National Board of Directors from 2007-2011.

Adrian Brearley

Adrian Brearley, professor and Regent’s Lecturer, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and director, Transmitting Electron Microscope Facility
Professor Adrian Brearley is a world-renowned expert in the field of meteoritics with numerous national and international recognitions for his research. Brearley has pioneered the use of sophisticated ion beam techniques applied to primitive meteorites and has redefined our understanding of the formation of our solar system.

Brearley is a Fellow of four national/international societies, including the Mineralogical Society of America, the Meteoritical Society, the Geological Society of Great Britain, and the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain. He has consistently published in top geoscience and meteoritical science journals. His level of research funding over his career is $7.9 million as a PI or co-PI and an additional $5.1 million in equipment funding. 

]]>Inside UNMProvost’s OfficeResearchAdministrationThu, 27 Jul 2017 23:09:59 GMTUniversity of New Mexico Interim Provost Craig White and Health Sciences Center Chancellor Paul Roth announced the promotion of six faculty to the rank of Distinguished Professor. They include: Mark Burge, Ke Jian “Jim” Liu, Kurt Nolte, Anil Prinja, Jim...http://news.unm.edu/news/unm-promotes-six-to-rank-of-distinguished-professor-6622357Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:45:00 GMT

UNM scientist pursues ultrafast laser technology to increase network speeds tenfold

A project to develop new ultrafast laser transmitter technology at The University of New Mexico is expected to have a revolutionary impact on the physics of semiconductor lasers, with potential applications that could result in ten times the speed of current fiber optic networks.

UNM Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Marek Osiński leads a multidisciplinary research team that includes Gennady Smolyakov, ECE Research Associate Professor, a senior collaborator on the project.

For the past two and half years, the laser transmitter project has been centered on numerical simulations of proposed devices, funded by a $400,000 grant which will conclude in September. Now, the Office of Naval Research has awarded UNM a $1.3 million grant, funded for three and a half years, to continue with a proof of concept demonstration, moving from theory to the laboratory.

"Ultra-high-speed on-chip modulation of integrated lasers is an important 'holy grail' for the ever-increasing demand for ultrafast communication." – Marek Osiński, professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

The project addresses the need for faster data transfer by increasing the speed at which signals are first generated to send through a fiber optic network. Its goal is to demonstrate that semiconductor laser devices can send data at a bandwidth speed of over 100 gigabits per second (Gbps), or 100 million kilobits per second.

To put this in perspective, current 4G networks may transfer data at a speed of 10 Gbps. While standards have not yet been established, the planned 5G revolution is expected to push data transfer speeds to at least 40 Gbps. 5G’s speed and capacity is designed to facilitate the more rapid arrival of the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

Much of the fiber optic infrastructure is in place and continues to be built out as an investment in the connected future. With light as the data medium, the theoretical speed limit for fiber optics is the speed of light. The effective speed limitations for fiber optic networks are the way in which the data signals are sent, encoded, modulated and received.

“How we are sending the data is what is going to make the big difference,” said Osiński.

The laboratory work will be performed at UNM’s Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM), an internationally recognized resource for research in optoelectronics. 

While future applications for this technology could have a huge impact on data transmission and connectivity around the world, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is funding the UNM research for their specific applications. ONR generates enormous amounts of data in supercomputers operating in cryogenic environments (around 4 degrees Kelvin), with the data produced then needing to be processed through computers at room temperature. ONR is looking for a way to quickly transfer these huge quantities of data.

The Office of Naval Research may be interested in applications aboard a ship, which has limited energy and room for maintaining a cryogenic environment. Removing extra heat from the cryostat (an apparatus for maintaining a very low temperature) takes lots of power.

Since it is very expensive energetically to maintain the 4K temperature, normal electronic connections with copper wire are not feasible, as the copper conducts heat. Instead, high-speed optical communication methods such as those being developed at UNM are preferred, because glass does not conduct heat.

Osiński’s project explores the use of semiconductor ring lasers to provide energy-efficient high-speed optical data egress (exit) from a cryogenic environment to room temperature for further processing.

Semiconductor lasers are a common source of data in the form of light for input into optical communications.

“Most people do not know — your cellphone has semiconductor lasers, so do CD and DVD players, laser printers, and scanners. They are everywhere already,” said Osiński.

The project is expected to have a revolutionary impact on the field of fundamental and applied physics of semiconductor lasers, pioneering a new class of ring-laser-based, integrated, ultrafast sources.

“Development of inexpensive ultrafast chips operating at speeds exceeding 100 Gbps will have a huge societal impact by increasing the transmission capacity of fiber-based networks,” says Osiński. “We are conducting basic scientific research with the potential for many and much broader possible applications.”

“Society is supremely concerned with more data, more options,” he says. “Imagine a doctor able to perform robotic surgery remotely — the doctor would need very high quality images at very high resolution. Besides surgery, patients in remote communities without local medical resources may need to consult with a specialist online, perhaps with the doctor reading live data from on-site sensors. This is a concern even in New Mexico, with our vast rural areas.”

“A lot of things that were thought impossible before are going from a dream to an expectation,” Osiński continued. “People are anticipating real time communication around the world, not delayed communication. And not only are the files larger, the user base gets larger and larger. The more capacity we provide by technological development, the more inventive are the inventors.”

“Ultra-high-speed (>100 GHz) on-chip modulation of integrated lasers is an important 'holy grail' for the ever-increasing demand for ultrafast communication,” Osiński concluded.

Ultrafast laser transmitter prototype fabrication and testing is an excellent example of UNM’s role as a research institution at the forefront of high-speed semiconductor research.

]]>CHTMSchool of EngineeringElectrical & Computer EngineeringResearchFront PageWed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:09 GMTA project to develop new ultrafast laser transmitter technology at The University of New Mexico is expected to have a revolutionary impact on the physics of semiconductor lasers, with potential applications that could result in ten times the speed of current fiber optic networks.Sharon Steelyhttp://news.unm.edu/news/unm-scientist-pursues-ultrafast-laser-technology-to-increase-network-speeds-tenfoldWed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT

Grant funds political activism study at UNM

A new, National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is allowing researchers at The University of New Mexico to study how people are responding to the current political environment in the United States.

Earlier this spring, the NSF awarded UNM Political Science Professor Lonna Rae Atkeson a one year, $30,000 grant to research, “RAPID: Emotion Regulation, Attitudes, and the Consequences for Political Behavior in a Polarized Political Environment.” (NSF Award 1743846).

“Rarely do higher education faculty get awarded a timely grant,” Atkeson said. “But this funding comes at a time when it is particularly interesting to see how emotions are contributing to the political conversation.”

Recent events have fueled the public’s political activism, as evidenced from heated debates on social media, broad-scale marches and protests across the nation.

Atkeson’s current study builds on her previous work, further examining emotion and how emotion regulation influences political activism, particularly in response to emotionally provocative moments in society.

“We’re surveying respondents who were already interviewed during the 2016 U.S. election three times over the next year to capture how citizens respond to political change," she said. "Our first survey will capture attitudes toward the first months of the Trump presidency along with recent political events surrounding former FBI Director Comey, Russia, and withdrawal from the Paris Accords."

The survey-based study is the first in political science to look at how emotion regulation habits differ between individuals in society; and considers whether, over time, these habits foster agreement or polarization.

This kind of information contributes to a growing body of research that explores the importance of socio-political emotions in fueling public attitudes and behavior. Atkeson is conducting this research in conjunction with Professor Cherie D. Maestas, Marshall A. Rauch Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and Professor Sara Levins, assistant professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Together, they hope to develop a new theory to explain how individual-level emotion regulation habits contribute to the information processing; and how they influence expressive and social political behavior.

“Professor Atkeson has been at the forefront of research on elections, voting, attitudes, and survey research methodology in the American context for more than 20 years,” said Timothy Krebs, chair, UNM Political Science Department. “This award further solidifies her position as a leading light in political science; and is a credit to our department, the College of Arts and Sciences and UNM. We are very excited about this award, and her continued success.”

Atkeson, the principal investigator of the award, is also a Regents' Lecturer and director of the both Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy and the Institute for Social Research at UNM.

]]>Front PageFaculty NewsPolitical ScienceInstitute for Social ResearchResearchWed, 19 Jul 2017 19:00:09 GMTA new, National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is allowing researchers at The University of New Mexico to study how people are responding to the current political environment in the United States. Earlier this spring, the NSF awarded UNM Political...http://news.unm.edu/news/grant-funds-political-activism-study-at-unmWed, 19 Jul 2017 19:00:00 GMT

Biology professor receives funding to fight pervasive African parasite

In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 90 percent of village children are infected with a debilitating and potentially fatal neglected tropical disease called schistosomiasis. Around the world, more than 220 million cases persist, mostly in Africa, despite considerable efforts over the years to control the effects. It’s a disease researchers at The University of New Mexico are working hard to combat.

UNM Distinguished Professor of Biology Eric S. Loker began studying the parasite that causes this disease more than three decades ago and is widely considered one of the world’s foremost experts in this field. Loker was recently awarded a five-year, $1.9-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his work in Africa.

“We’re looking at a particular parasite, Schistosoma mansoni, in and around Lake Victoria, in Kenya,” said Loker. “Lake Victoria is one of the world’s great endemic foci of schistosomiasis. So, we’re looking at why this parasite is so pervasive there and what can be done about it?”

Schistosoma mansoni is a parasitic fluke, or flatworm, that is one of three major species responsible for causing human schistosomiasis. The parasite is dependent on particular species of freshwater snails (Biomphalaria) that serve as vectors. The parasite multiplies extensively in the snail and produces many swimming larvae that leave the host and penetrate the skin of people as they bathe, wash clothes and play in freshwater. Once contracted, schistosomiasis, or snail fever as it’s commonly known, can cause abdominal pain, liver and intestinal damage, stunted mental and physical development and, in severe cases, death. The transmission cycle is completed when parasite eggs passed in human feces enter water, and hatch to release a stage that infects snails.

“Anybody who works in this field has this dream that somehow they can identify a mechanism whereby they could lessen the burden of this infection." – Eric S. Loker, UNM Department of Biology

Currently, the drug Praziquantel is used worldwide as the primary treatment for schistosomiasis. But the parasite is so prevalent, the most at-risk populations are extremely likely to be re-infected over and over again, making it very important for other control methods to be explored.

“Anybody who works in this field has this dream that somehow they can identify a mechanism whereby they could lessen the burden of this infection,” said Loker. “We hope to be able to do that as well.”

A Complex Biotic Environment: Helpful or Harmful?
To find new avenues for control, Loker and his UNM colleagues are working alongside long-standing collaborator Dr. Gerald Mkoji and his team from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). With help from this new grant, the team will be working to better understand how and why this parasite is so common in and around Lake Victoria and what, if anything, can be done to leverage the diverse natural setting in which it occurs to the detriment of the parasite.

One aspect they are exploring is the diversity and abundance of the Biomphalaria vector snails in the Lake Victoria region. Unlike many other ‘hotspots’ for schistosomiasis, Lake Victoria is home to three different species of Biomphalaria, each of which has the capacity to develop and spread the parasite. In this case, Loker says the region’s diverse environment supports multiple modes of transmission, which has amplified the impact of the disease. Gaining a better understanding of the biology of each of the snail species, including their differing degrees of susceptibility to infection and vulnerabilities to environmental change, may help researchers determine how to limit their role as vectors.

The second aim of this project is to devise new ways to engage the region’s incredible biodiversity to potentially fight the S. mansoni parasite. Loker and his team have found several other parasites that also depend on these same snails for their development. In some cases, the non-schistosome parasites can compete with and even consume the S. mansoni parasites within the snail, before it’s able to fully develop. The benefit here is that these competitor parasites don’t pose a threat to humans.

“We’re trying to basically domesticate these particular competitor parasites and try to document if there’s any way that we can increase their abundance in places where people might be inclined to go in the water,” said Loker.

If researchers are able to develop a mechanism to accomplish this task without posing other environmental concerns, they may be able to use the environment’s natural diversity to make real gains in the fight to stop the spread of schistosomiasis.

Loker says current control methods for snail vectors are fairly crude and typically involve introducing large quantities of chemicals into freshwater habitats to kill off the snails, something biologists would prefer not to do. It is also prohibitively expensive for large habitats. Also, the chemicals can kill other aquatic wildlife and are not popular with local populations that depend on water from such habitats for drinking and every day survival.

Another approach to be taken by the proposal and a possible solution to this problem is the development of CRISPR/Cas technology for the Biomphalaria snail. The cutting-edge genome editing tool would essentially give researchers the ability to take out a gene in the snail’s DNA – making it no longer able to support the development of the parasite. Without the snail acting as a vector host, the parasite could no longer develop to infect humans.

Recently released research from UNM Professor Coen Adema, which analyzed the genome of a Biomphalaria species, will assist Loker’s project and could give other scientists the ability to develop this CRISPR/Cas technology in the future.

“The beauty of having this new funding is that it gives us the opportunity to keep our eyes open and look for other control opportunities,” said Loker. “In addition to the particular aims that we’re exploring, we’re always on the hunt for something that might be really interesting and useful.”

Loker and his team of graduate students will travel to Kenya later this year to continue their research. He says the NIH grant will give the opportunity to make several trips per year, something he hopes will lead to more progress in the fight against this parasite.

“We are very excited for the future of this research,” he said. “But, this project also gives us the opportunity to train more U.S. and Kenyan graduate students who will be able to continue to tackle this problem in the future.” 

]]>Front PageFaculty NewsCollege of Arts & SciencesBiologyResearchFri, 14 Jul 2017 22:19:49 GMTIn parts of sub-Saharan Africa, as many as 90 percent of village children are infected with a debilitating and potentially fatal neglected tropical disease called schistosomiasis. Around the world, more than 220 million cases persist, mostly in Africa,...Aaron Hilfhttp://news.unm.edu/news/biology-professor-receives-funding-to-fight-pervasive-african-parasiteFri, 14 Jul 2017 17:28:00 GMT

Groundbreaking discovery confirms existence of orbiting supermassive black holes

For the first time ever, astronomers at The University of New Mexico say they’ve been able to observe and measure the orbital motion between two supermassive black holes hundreds of millions of light years from Earth – a discovery more than a decade in the making.

UNM Department of Physics & Astronomy graduate student Karishma Bansal is the first-author on the paper, Constraining the Orbit of the Supermassive Black Hole Binary 0402+379’, recently published in The Astrophysical Journal. She, along with UNM Professor Greg Taylor and colleagues at Stanford, the U.S. Naval Observatory and the Gemini Observatory, have been studying the interaction between these black holes for 12 years.

“For a long time, we’ve been looking into space to try and find a pair of these supermassive black holes orbiting as a result of two galaxies merging,” said Taylor. “Even though we’ve theorized that this should be happening, nobody had ever seen it until now.”

In early 2016, an international team of researchers, including a UNM alumnus, working on the LIGO project detected the existence of gravitational waves, confirming Albert Einstein’s 100-year-old prediction and astonishing the scientific community. These gravitational waves were the result two stellar mass black holes (~30 solar mass) colliding in space within the Hubble time. Now, thanks to this latest research, scientists will be able to start to understand what leads up to the merger of supermassive black holes that creates ripples in the fabric of space-time and begin to learn more about the evolution of galaxies and the role these black holes play in it.

“Even though we’ve theorized that this should be happening, nobody had ever seen it until now.” – Professor Greg Taylor, UNM Department of Physics & Astronomy

Using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a system made up of 10 radio telescopes across the U.S. and operated in Socorro, N.M., researchers have been able to observe several frequencies of radio signals emitted by these supermassive black holes (SMBH). Over time, astronomers have essentially been able to plot their trajectory and confirm them as a visual binary system. In other words, they’ve observed these black holes in orbit with one another.

“When Dr. Taylor gave me this data I was at the very beginning of learning how to image and understand it,” said Bansal. “And, as I learned there was data going back to 2003, we plotted it and determined they are orbiting one another. It’s very exciting.”

For Taylor, the discovery is the result of more than 20 years of work and an incredible feat given the precision required to pull off these measurements. At roughly 750 million light years from Earth, the galaxy named 0402+379 and the supermassive black holes within it, are incredibly far away; but are also at the perfect distance from Earth and each other to be observed.

Bansal says these supermassive black holes have a combined mass of 15 billion times that of our sun, or 15 billion solar masses. The unbelievable size of these black holes means their orbital period is around 24,000 years, so while the team has been observing them for over a decade, they’ve yet to see even the slightest curvature in their orbit.

“If you imagine a snail on the recently-discovered Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri – 4.243 light years away – moving at 1 cm a second, that's the angular motion we're resolving here,” said Roger W. Romani, professor of physics at Stanford University and member of the research team.

“What we’ve been able to do is a true technical achievement over this 12-year period using the VLBA to achieve sufficient resolution and precision in the astrometry to actually see the orbit happening,” said Taylor. “It’s a bit of triumph in technology to have been able to do this.”

While the technical accomplishment of this discovery is truly amazing, Bansal and Taylor say the research could also teach us a lot about the universe, where galaxies come from and where they’re going.

"The orbits of binary stars provided tremendous insights about stars,” said Bob Zavala, an astronomer with the U.S. Naval Observatory. “Now we'll be able to use similar techniques to understand super-massive black holes and the galaxies they reside within."

Continuing to observe the orbit and interaction of these two supermassive black holes could also help us gain a better understanding of what the future of our own galaxy might look like. Right now, the Andromeda galaxy, which also has a SMBH at its center, is on a path to collide with our Milky Way, meaning the event Bansal and Taylor are currently observing, might occur in our galaxy in a few billion years.

“Supermassive black holes have a lot of influence on the stars around them and the growth and evolution of the galaxy,” explained Taylor. “So, understanding more about them and what happens when they merge with one another could be important for our understanding for the universe.”

Bansal says the research team will take another observation of this system in three or four years to confirm the motion and obtain a precise orbit. In the meantime, the team hopes that this discovery will encourage related work from astronomers around the world.

]]>College of Arts & SciencesFaculty NewsPhysics & AstronomyResearchFront PageTue, 27 Jun 2017 15:13:11 GMTFor the first time ever, astronomers at The University of New Mexico say they’ve been able to observe and measure the orbital motion between two supermassive black holes hundreds of millions of light years from Earth – a discovery more than a decade in the making.Aaron Hilfhttp://news.unm.edu/news/groundbreaking-discovery-confirms-existence-of-orbiting-supermassive-black-holesTue, 27 Jun 2017 15:00:00 GMT

Lee receives ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

Sang Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of New Meixco, has been awarded one of the Oak Ridge Associate Universities (ORAU) 2017 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards.

Assistant Professor Sang Lee.

His selection is especially significant because there were 125 applicants from which 37 awardees were chosen. Recipients of this award are faculty who are within the first two years of their tenure-track position.

This is a national award that recognizes the quality and promise of young faculty researchers. UNM's Office of the Vice President for Research matched this award, making the total award amount worth $10,000 for one year (June 1 to May 31).

“This is a great achievement for Dr. Lee and UNM is proud of his commitment to research excellence,” said Vice President for Research Gabriel López. 

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringMechanical EngineeringResearchMon, 26 Jun 2017 19:44:58 GMTSang Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of New Meixco, has been awarded one of the Oak Ridge Associate Universities (ORAU) 2017 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards. Vanessa Tanhttp://news.unm.edu/news/lee-receives-orau-ralph-e-powe-junior-faculty-enhancement-awardMon, 26 Jun 2017 19:36:00 GMT

High-schoolers build sensors, test them at Sandia crest

About 30 local high school students visited The University of New Mexico School of Engineering on a recent Saturday to work with faculty and graduate students to learn how to build low-cost sensors, then put them to the test measuring the natural frequency, or sway, of a car on the Sandia Peak Tramway.

The students met at Centennial Engineering Center, Room 1028, to assemble fairly simple low-cost sensors, then traveled across town to the Sandia Peak Tramway, where the students took a tram ride with their devices, collecting data along the way. The effort is being led by Fernando Moreu, assistant professor of civil engineering, whose research specialty is low-cost sensors.

The students built 15 smart sensors that collect accelerations and tilt of structures and used them in the field to collect data. Each sensor consisted of an Arduino microcontroller, a tilt meter, an accelerometer and other electronic components that can be put together for about $40.

The data was collected in real time and will be able to be analyzed by the students.

This activity is a part of UNM’s annual Summer Transportation Institute, organized by the School of Engineering.

Moreu said collecting such data, such as on bridges or railroads, can give valuable information about how much these structures move. Although isolated data may not be of much use, he said the ability to track data over a period of time to measure changes could be of value.

“We’re really domesticating sensors,” he said. “If a person tracks the daily movement of a bridge over time and sees that it changes significantly over time, the ability to quantify that information could be helpful in calling attention structures that may potentially be unsafe or at risk.”

Moreu is passionate about the issue of low-cost sensors because he said that sensors can be valuable on a widespread basis, from professional civil engineers to laypeople, and the cost does not have to be prohibitive.

“Young people are very open to the idea of the use of sensors for a lot of uses because it’s become more and more common, but it’s not as accepted in industry,” he said. “The hope is to use this training as a pilot for future trainings with practitioners to show them that they, too, can use these devices and the cost should not be a barrier."

He cites the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, issue by the American Society of Civil Engineers, as why sensors would be useful on a widespread basis. It shows that the condition of many of our nation’s roads, bridges, dams and railways is in poor condition.

One of the goals with this effort is to get students interested in engineering by creating a fairly simple, fun and productive activity, said Moreu.

“Not all of the students will be interested in pursuing engineering, but maybe a handful will, and maybe they also will be able to begin working with a UNM mentor or professor to engage in research, even in high school,” he said.

Although Moreu is a civil engineer, this activity encompasses a broad range of engineering skills, from civil engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering to mechanical engineering.

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringCivil EngineeringResearchWed, 21 Jun 2017 12:00:08 GMTAbout 30 local high school students visited The University of New Mexico School of Engineering on a recent Saturday to work with faculty and graduate students to learn how to build low-cost sensors, then put them to the test measuring the natural...Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/high-schoolers-build-sensors-test-them-at-sandia-crestWed, 21 Jun 2017 12:00:00 GMT

UNM triumphs over adversity to win Outstanding Solar System Design Award at Solar Splash

Engineers are known for being organized, analytical and prepared with a plan well in advance.

But sometimes, despite research, testing and complex calculations, the best-laid plans throw a curveball, forcing engineers to act more like ER doctors in crisis mode than calm and in-control logical thinkers.

That’s what happened to The University of New Mexico’s Solar Splash team just a few days before the team was set to drive to Springfield, Ohio, for the June 7-11 competition.

On the Friday evening before the Monday that the team was set to take the boat to Ohio, they literally experienced a meltdown. Even though it was supposed to be sun-proof, the deck material melted after just a few minutes in the Albuquerque sun, shattering multiple photovoltaic cells.

“It was literally sagging,” said Steven Maurice, a master’s student in electrical engineering. “About 20 of the cells were visibly damaged.”

Clearly, it was time for Plan B.

Luckily, Peter Vorobieff, the mechanical engineering professor advising the team, was at the hardware store when he received the crisis call. Being an engineer, he came up with a quick solution.

“I purchased some California oak, and we built a new deck for the cells,” said Vorobieff, who picked up woodworking skills in high school.

Then, the next 48 hours were filled with a lot of teamwork, as Maurice and Joshua Stewart, another electrical engineering master’s student, worked feverishly to rebuild the array, testing each cell, and replacing about 50 cells. They even called in a reinforcement — electrical engineering undergraduate teammate Naveed Jafari — to help out. Even after doing this, the team was still soldering the silicon bypass diodes in place after they arrived in Ohio.

“The students learned a lot, and while it is competitive, it’s a friendly competition where teams share their knowledge and help each other out."    – Professor Peter Vorobieff, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

This year, the team opted to purchase highly-efficient solar cells (which have an efficiency of more than 30 percent vs. around 18 percent efficiency of conventional cells) from SolAero Technologies of Albuquerque. Although the SolAero cells, normally used in space applications, required a learning curve to work with, the team was able to design an array of panels with the cells. After the meltdown of the backing material, the team didn’t have time to reconstruct the entire array with the needed power with the SolAero cells, so they decided to supplement the SolAero array with cells they used on last year’s boat. It wasn’t Plan A, but it did get the job done, keeping the boat powered throughout the entire competition.

Despite this glitch with the deck, the UNM team was awarded the Outstanding Solar System Design Award at the competition, largely due to using such advanced, unique cells, some creative craftsmanship, and also because — for the second year in a row — they were the only team to build their own array.

“We were the only team there with space-grade cells,” Vorobieff said.

Although the team’s seventh-place overall finish (out of 13 teams to finish and 16 to compete) was lower than last year’s fourth-place finish, this year’s team actually performed better than last year.

“We improved our boat and performance, but our competitors improved too,” Vorobieff said.

The team also placed second in qualifying and second in visual display.

The meltdown days before the competition wasn’t the first adversity the team faced, though. About a week before, after Maurice and electrical engineering master’s student Joshua Stewart spent countless hours preparing the SolAero cells for their designed configuration, they were preparing to finalize connections and realized that 80 percent of the cell pairs had faulty connections, making them inoperable. Catching that near-fatal issue was thanks to the wisdom of Jane Lehr, the professor leading the electrical engineering side, who kept emphasizing to test every step of the way. Jafari, who would also be called in to assist after the later meltdown, was called in to help out. With a week of long hours, they were able to assemble what they believed at the time was their complete array.

Vorobieff said he is already thinking about next year’s design. He plans to keep the Gheenoe hull purchased this year and would like to use the SolAero cells, but redesign how they are mounted. He also would like the student team to redesign and replace the drivetrain, which was largely unchanged from last year’s boat.

“We had two problems, the first being our competition had more horsepower, and the second is that our drivetrain was underpowered and programmed to cut power to the motor when the battery voltage drops,” he said. “This is good to preserve the battery, but not good during a race.”

A project of this magnitude cannot be done in a vacuum. Twelve electrical and computer engineering students and nine mechanical engineering students participated in the Solar Splash team, led by mechanical engineering students Michael Anselmi and Daniel Taylor and Joshua Stewart on the electrical engineering side. Vorobieff said invaluable technical assistance was provided by individuals at two local companies — Steve Taylor from Taylor Marine and Alex Stavrides at SolAero. In addition, he said Diana Sargent, senior fiscal services technician in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, made sure the equipment purchasing went smoothly on the UNM end.

Also, Vorobieff said both the mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering departments at UNM provided generous support to the effort, especially Lehr, who led the electrical engineering side of the project, including the solar array design and construction of the maximum power point tracker to charge the batteries.

Even though winning is always a goal, “The students learned a lot, and while it is competitive, it’s a friendly competition where teams share their knowledge and help each other out,” said Vorobieff. “The competition score is important, but it can’t quantify what the students get out of something like this.”

To donate to the 2018 Solar Splash team, go to https://www.unmfund.org/fund/solar-splash/.

]]>Front PageSchool of EngineeringElectrical & Computer EngineeringMechanical EngineeringResearchTue, 20 Jun 2017 12:00:09 GMTEngineers are known for being organized, analytical and prepared with a plan well in advance.Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/unm-triumphs-over-adversity-to-win-outstanding-solar-system-design-award-at-solar-splashTue, 20 Jun 2017 12:00:00 GMT

FSAE adds star power to this year’s program

The University of New Mexico Formula SAE team has nearly two decades of design, build and racing experience under its belt. Under the direction of John Russell, professor of mechanical engineering, the team has grown and evolved, and also has had some great results, including being ranked as high as fifth best out of 125 in the United States and 18th best out of 500 in the world.

However, the last couple of years, results at the annual international race competition in Lincoln, Neb., have not been as stellar because of some mostly- preventable failures. Russell says that although the team has done well with the resources it has, better-financed teams with newer equipment, facilities, and more specialized expertise have stolen the spotlight.

Enter this year’s addition of Mike Arnold, a veteran of the Indy Car circuit, as lab manager. Arnold, who came in at the beginning of 2017, has experience in the building, design, and fabrication of racecars. He has been working with the program to provide expertise on the build of the car and organization of the shop.

Russell said even small changes implemented by Arnold, like being there to answer questions, have greatly helped the team.

The UNM FSAE team will compete in Lincoln this year June 21-24 with a revamped car that Arnold had a hand in, along with Alan Mertens, a veteran award-winning Indy Car designer and builder who for years partnered with Al Unser Jr., a two-time Indianapolis 500-winning driver.

In addition, Unser, an Albuquerque native, worked some with the FSAE team during practices to give the team driving tips.

Russell said with the extra expertise on board this year — Arnold focusing on the build of the car, Mertens giving advice on the design, and Unser helping with driving — he has been able to focus on his primary expertise of vehicle dynamics.

“It’s been truly enjoyable having Mike run the shop,” Russell said. “It’s made a huge difference and has brought a lot of discipline to the program so that it is run more like a professional racing team with greater attention to the details of the build.”

Team lead and mechanical engineering senior Jonathon Abeyta said he feels that this attention to detail early in the design and build process makes them feel ready for competition.

“Things can always go wrong that you don’t expect, but I think we feel prepared and should be really ready at the competition,” he said.

In terms of changes on the car this year, the team has made strides to improve the engine system, which has given them issues the last couple of years. This year’s turbo-charged engine should help control boost pressure for different events in the competition, as a single-cylinder fuel injector will help the engine run cooler with greater fuel efficiency, Russell said.

Abeyta said that in addition to the larger engine changes, they’ve installed a new centrifugal clutch that will help prevent the engine from stalling, and have installed improved instrumentation on the dash that will help them detect problems when they still can be remedied instead of waiting until they become a major issue and threaten to sideline the car as in the past.

Abeyta said it’s been an educational process working with Arnold.

“He’s helped us catch a lot of issues early and helped us think of things that should be fixed that we might not have thought of,” he said.

Russell said hiring Arnold to manage the shop is the first step in a new five-year plan called the Venture for Racing Excellence to raise funds to revamp the FSAE program — which includes acquiring all-new equipment and a larger design and build space — in an effort to not just improve competition results, but also to enhance the learning experience for students and raise the profile of the program, the School of Engineering, and UNM.

The LOBO Motorsports FSAE program is a problem-based, hands-on senior design program where over the course of three semesters, students design, build, and race a small Formula-type racecar for international competition. The project includes every aspect of systems engineering, project management, and teamwork seen in a government or industrial engineering development program. In a little over a year, the team takes a system from conception to operation. The program is interdisciplinary and has about 45 students on each year’s team. It is one of the few programs in the country that doesn’t operate as a club. Instead, FSAE is a for-credit alternative to a senior design project.

To donate to the Venture for Racing Excellence, contact Courtney Holmes at (505) 277-0664 or courtg@unm.edu.

]]>School of EngineeringElectrical & Computer EngineeringMechanical EngineeringResearchFront PageThu, 15 Jun 2017 17:39:07 GMTThe University of New Mexico Formula SAE team has nearly two decades of design, build and racing experience under its belt. Under the direction of John Russell, professor of mechanical engineering, the team has grown and evolved, and also has had some great results, including being ranked as high as fifth best out of 125 in the United States and 18th best out of 500 in the world.Kim Delkerhttp://news.unm.edu/news/fsae-adds-star-power-to-this-years-programThu, 15 Jun 2017 15:45:00 GMT

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