Cross Campus Initiatives

    Cross-Campus Initiatives

    Injecting liquid into a petri dish

    The University of New Mexico’s Main Campus and Health Sciences Center extensively collaborate to fulfill the University’s research and education missions. The HSC has 14 core facilities that it shares with Main Campus in order to support faculty research throughout the UNM system. Researchers from both campuses work together in extramurally funded research centers that support faculty members in both HSC and Main Campus departments. In 2016, 39 Main Campus faculty members were part of 23 HSC grants that totaled $18.6 million.

    Dr. Iwamoto looking at some research

    Research cores provide shared equipment and expertise that all in the campus community can utilize. UNM Health Sciences Center has developed 14 shared core facilities to support faculty research. These cores, which are widely accessible to all UNM faculty, are described on the HSC Office of Research website. They include:

    These cores have developed business plans and billing operations that allow them to operate on a pay-for-service basis, which requires minimal or no institutional support. Faculty are required to pay for the cores’ services. Internal pilot funds or extramural grants may be used as the source for those funds. The contact for each core is identified on the website.

    These cores have been instrumental in building the UNM HSC research mission and have assisted Main Campus as well. In 2016, these cores were utilized by more than two dozen faculty members from Main Campus, including the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering.

    Woman at computer

    Joint UNM HSC-Main Campus Research Centers

    There are currently three extramurally funded centers that involve both UNM HSC and Main Campus faculty and students. These large, multi-faculty and interdisciplinary grant-funded centers provide many University-wide opportunities:

    Center for Brain Recovery and Repair

    This NIGMS-funded P20 center (CoBRE) award under Bill Shuttleworth, PhD, supports two faculty members and one student in the Department of Psychology as well as departments within the HSC. The center provided salary support and support for a graduate research assistant for the recruitment of a new faculty member in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The previous CoBRE under Jim Liu, PhD, provided significant pilot funds for Department of Psychology investigators using resources available at the HSC and offered service and consultation to Department of Biology faculty wishing to make use of the animal MRI.

    New Mexico Alcohol Research Center

    Funded by NIAAA, this P50 center helmed by Daniel Savage, PhD, involves faculty and students from UNM’s Main Campus. The Department of Psychology is represented on the executive committee, and two additional faculty members have received pilot awards from the center.

    Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research

    Johnnye Lewis, PhD, leads this P50 center addressing environmental health disparities affecting Native Americans. The program supports a faculty member and postdoctoral research fellow in Civil Engineering, and it benefits from the analytical chemistry facility on UNM’s Main Campus.

    Additional Centers

    Furthermore, there are several service-oriented centers that also contribute to the education and research missions and are joint endeavors of UNM HSC and Main Campus. These include the Institute for Resilience, Health and Justice; the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions; and the New Mexico Center for Health Care Workforce Analysis.

    Closeup of a microscope

    New Research Initiatives

    Recently, UNM HSC and Main Campus initiated planning for a new joint center: the Center for Gerontology. This center will bring together faculty from the clinical service, Department of Neurosciences, and the Occupational and Physical Therapy Programs at UNM HSC and the Departments of Speech and Hearing Sciences and Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences on Main Campus to work together toward better health for New Mexico’s aging population.

    Initiatives in other areas are also being planned or are in the process of obtaining funding. Some of these are:

    • A pending P42 superfund research center will work with Native American communities to understand the environmental and health effects of abandoned uranium mine waste sites. More than 10 Main Campus faculty and students in the Departments of Civil Engineering, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Mathematics and Statistics, as well as an analytical chemist will work alongside UNM HSC researchers in this effort.
    • A pending application for the PARAD-IGM study of resilience – youths’ ability to recover from adverse experiences in order to reach their full potential – includes co-investigators from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the Department of Psychology.
    • A pending application, “SNAP-25 in Network Mechanisms of Adult Neurogenesis,” will support a Department of Psychology investigator as co-investigator.

    Education

    UNM HSC and Main Campus faculty collaborate often to train the next generation of researchers.

    Graduate and undergraduate students from Main Campus departments find PhD committee members, mentors and financial support as paid research assistants at UNM HSC.

    UNM HSC faculty in the Institute for Resilience, Health and Justice have participated in multiple cross-campus panels and symposia on the topic of adverse childhood experiences and the justice system.

    Numerous UNM HSC faculty are proud to provide mentoring and/or stipend support to undergraduate researchers through programs such as UPN and PREP. In addition, UNM HSC contributes to the Main Campus STEM-H program to encourage medical sciences and research careers.

    Collaborative Committees

    Finally, UNM HSC and Main Campus faculty work together on many cross-campus committees whose work furthers the university’s mission as one campus. These have included faculty search committees, oversight committees, and more.

    Adding a test tube to a centrifuge

    Joint Planning Activities

    The UNM HSC Signature Programs have provided a productive platform for joint planning on scientific collaborations. Each of the six signature programs – Brain and Behavioral Illness, Cancer, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease, Child Health, Environmental Health Sciences, and Infectious Diseases and Immunity – hold annual retreats that include faculty from Main Campus, including more than 100 that participated in these activities in the last year.

    In addition, the UNM HSC Vice Chancellor for Research, Dean of the School of Engineering and their research faculty hold monthly collaboration meetings. These meetings have led to the creation and funding of an appreciable number of joint education and research initiatives, typically numbering five to ten active collaborative projects in any calendar year.

    One of the most productive of these joint initiatives between the School of Engineering and the Health Sciences Center has been the Biodesign Program. Through this program, School of Engineering and HSC faculty work together with students from both Main Campus and North Campus in a one-semester biodesign course. Offered every Fall semester, the course engages students to create technological solutions to problems in healthcare delivery and ultimately presenting their ideas for funding through the Clinical and Translational Science Center's pilot grant program. The winning team or teams continue to develop their devices using these funds during the Spring semester and beyond.

    Coordination of Limited Competition Extramural Awards

    The UNM HSC and Main Campus Offices of Research coordinate their selection process for extramural grants in which only one can be submitted from the university as a whole, termed limited competition awards. This activity leads to the selection of dozens of extramural grant submissions per year that jointly include Main Campus and HSC faculty.

    Sonlee West, MD, a trauma surgeon and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, and Jon Femling, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine

    Joint Extramural Funding Initiatives

    UNM HSC has invited and robustly collaborated with Main Campus faculty in order to help build the research mission campus-wide. In 2016 there were 23 grants led by UNM HSC faculty that include 39 faculty members from Main Campus. These grant awards totaled $18.6 million.

    In addition, there are Main Campus-led initiatives in which UNM HSC faculty members are involved; when we obtain this data, we will post it here.

    Some examples of this type of collaboration are as follows:

    • A Department of Neurosciences T32 grant supports multiple students in the Department of Psychology.
    • A subaward from a collaborative UH2 grant supports a UNM HSC and a Main Campus faculty member, as well as a Main Campus graduate research assistant.
    • In collaboration with the New Mexico Sentencing Commission (Institute for Social Research, Department of Sociology), UNM Main Campus and HSC researchers produced an informative report, “Adverse Childhood Experiences in the New Mexico Juvenile Justice Population."[PDF]

    In all, UNM HSC faculty describe with pleasure their many current and past collaborative efforts with Main Campus faculty. These cooperative efforts have, and continue to, link UNM HSC investigators with faculty in the Departments of Physics, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Psychology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Earth and Planetary Sciences, as well as the Center for Stable Isotopes.