NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

New Mexico universities receive $17.5 million for biomedical research

A program based at New Mexico State University has received $17.5 million to continue developing biomedical research programs in New Mexico.

The five-year grant will enable universities throughout New Mexico to continue work that was started in 2001 with the creation of the New Mexico Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (NM-BRIN). This program, renamed the New Mexico IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NM-INBRE), is funded by the National Institutes of Health to strengthen biomedical research at New Mexico's institutions of higher education and prepare faculty and students to participate in NIH research programs.

The program is headquartered at NMSU and directed by Jeffrey Arterburn, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

"There are still so many unanswered questions about how human diseases can be recognized and treated," Arterburn said, "and the funding provided by the National Institutes of Health through this program allows us to bring together the best and brightest minds in New Mexico with new ideas and new ways to find answers that will ultimately lead to improved health care."

Other institutions participating in the program include the University of New Mexico, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico Highlands University, and the non-profit National Center for Genome Resources in Santa Fe. The new grant includes research projects at San Juan College and the Zuni Health Initiative that involves Dialysis Clinic, Inc., based in Albuquerque.

Since 2001, the grant has funded the mentoring and research of 28 young faculty members from participating universities. Funding these faculty members in turn exposed approximately 100 college students annually to biomedical research.

"Biomedical science is a highly demanding and competitive field, where experimental results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals serve as the foundation for successful grant applications," Arterburn said. "The faculty and student investigators have published nearly 200 important papers and over 700 scientific presentations based on the research supported by this program, and this outstanding productivity was a critical factor in obtaining continuing funding."

The new grant will fund the mentoring and research of 16 new faculty members at the participating universities. Research projects will focus on three areas: understanding the molecular structure and function of proteins that mediate critical cellular processes; learning more about complex processes such cell division that can cause disease if they go awry; and understanding viral and bacterial pathogens that cause diseases.

Researchers from New Mexico State University who will be funded by the new grant are Brad Shuster, whose mentor is Eric Prossnitz of UNM; Jing He, whose mentor is Chien-An Andy Hu of UNM; Jennifer Curtiss, whose mentors are Margaret Werner-Washburne and Richard Cripps of UNM; Kathryn Hanley, whose mentor is Scott Weaver of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; and Shelly Lusetti, whose mentor is Tudor Oprea of UNM.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico who will be funded by the new grant are Chanjian Feng, whose mentor is Martin Kirk of UNM; Karlette Parra, whose mentors are Patricia Kane of State University of New York, Upstate Medical University and Jeffrey Griffith of UNM; Marco Bisoffi, whose mentor is Jeffrey Griffith of UNM; Yubin Miao, whose mentor is Eric Prossnitz of UNM; and Vallabh Sha, whose mentor is Phillip Zager of UNM. Researchers from New Mexico Highlands University who will be funded by the new grant are Jennifer Hernandez-Gifford, whose mentor is John Nilson of Washington State University; and Carol Linder, whose mentor is Helen Hathaway of UNM.

Researchers from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology who will be funded by the new grant are Peng Zhang, whose mentor is Laurel Sillerud of UNM, and Jay Naik, whose mentor is Benjimen (cq) Walker of UNM.

Manuel Varela, Eastern New Mexico University, whose mentor is Jeffrey Griffith of UNM and Eric Miller, San Juan College, whose mentor is Gabriel Lopez of UNM also will be funded by the new grant.

Arterburn said the purpose of the program is to develop young researchers to the point that they can successfully compete for federal research funding. The continuing program will build upon the scientific achievements, increased interactions between investigators, institutional cooperation, faculty and student developmental activities, as well as major strides in bioinformatics analysis and genome sequencing capacity that have been established.

"I see exciting opportunities ahead where scientists and students from across the state are able to work together to make important discoveries and solve important health problems, while also enhancing our educational institutions and creating new industries that contribute towards economic development," Arterburn said.

Accompanying biomedical research, the grant funds a yearly conference and regular videoconferences, and supports a lecture series at institutions across the state, including three tribal colleges.

For more information visit http://www.nminbre.org/.