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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Four researchers honored for exceptional achievements

Four researchers whose work has applications in medicine, water policy and management of ecosystems will receive University Research Council Awards for Exceptional Achievements in Creative Scholarly Activities at New Mexico State University's Fall Convocation on Aug. 22.

Distinguished Career Awards will be presented to Jeffrey Arterburn of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and Kirk McDaniel of the Department of Animal and Range Sciences.

Early Career Awards will go to Christopher Brown of the Geography Department and Igor Sevostianov of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The $2,000 awards will be among the honors presented at a convocation to open the university's fall semester. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Corbett Center Ballrooms.

Arterburn's research program involves the design and synthesis of antiviral drugs and compounds targeted at receptors that play a role in some types of cancer. He and his colleagues at NMSU and the University of New Mexico have discovered a previously unknown estrogen receptor - a protein molecule that binds with the hormone estrogen in normal cells and also in certain cancer tumors. The discovery has significant implications for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as breast cancer. Arterburn is focusing now on the role this receptor plays in tumor growth, and on the design of new compounds that bind with the receptor - a step toward new, more effective therapies.

A member of the NMSU faculty since 1992, Arterburn heads the New Mexico IDeA Network for Biomedical Research, a statewide network that focuses on investigations of biomolecule structure and activity, cell signaling pathways and pathogens. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Arizona.

McDaniel is recognized internationally as a leader in the development of vegetation management practices in natural ecosystems. He has pioneered innovative approaches for managing important shrub and weed species on New Mexico's rangelands and reviving plant communities along the state's major river ways. Ecologically based restoration strategies developed by McDaniel and his colleagues are widely recognized and employed in large-scale commercial and governmental vegetation management programs throughout the western United States.

McDaniel's work has always emphasized collaboration with others, including ranchers, land agency conservationists, private industry, students and other university scientists. His research provides one of the few long-term databases documenting the benefits of managing plants for land restoration purposes. He received his Ph.D. in range science from Texas A&M University and joined the NMSU faculty as a member of the Range Improvement Task Force in 1978.

Brown has been studying binational water resource issues on the U.S.-Mexico border for the past 13 years. In addition to policy issues, his areas of interest include the use of applied computer mapping tools to examine water quality and supply in twin city regions along the border. To advance this work, he was named director of the Spatial Applications Research Center, an applied projects laboratory at NMSU that supports the use of computer mapping and remote-sensing tools in a range of research efforts.

Brown is president of the Association for Borderland Studies and a member of the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, an independent advisory committee supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to advise the president and Congress on environmental issues along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is a work group coordinator for the board's next report, which will focus on balancing national security and environmental concerns.

Brown received his Ph.D. in geography through a joint program of San Diego State University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. He joined NMSU in 2000.

Sevostianov's research has important implications for the development of improved materials for surgical bone implants, as well as new metals for the aerospace and automotive industries and other fields. His research and teaching interests are in the area of theoretical solid mechanics, especially the micromechanics of inhomogeneous materials and material design.

Bone, with its porous structure, is an inhomogeneous material. Sevostianov and his students are designing materials that are chemically similar to bone for use in surgical implants. He also is working on developing metal composites with special properties - automotive materials that are lightweight but capable of absorbing impact energy in a collision, for instance, and materials that can provide a heat barrier for the blades in turbine engines.

Sevostianov, who received his Ph.D. in solid mechanics from St. Petersburg University in Russia, joined the NMSU faculty in mechanical engineering in 2001.