Faculty Mentors

ASERT-IRCADA Faculty Research Mentors cover diverse disciplines including Biomedical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering and Biology.

While Education mentors serve institutions throughout the state with many different populations.


* Denotes mentors who are mentoring a current ASERT fellow and are not available to accept another trainee until the indicated year.

Sarah F. Adams, MD Gynecologic Oncology
Translational research focused on tumor immunology and the development of novel strategies for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Elaine Bearer, M.D., Ph.D. (* until 2020) Pathology
Research in neuropathology using computational, imaging, and molecular-genetic approaches.

Kiran Bhaskar, Ph.D. Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Neurodegenerative disease, specifically Alzheimer’s disease and related taupathies

Tione Buranda, Ph.D. Pathology
Pathogen-host cell interactions: attachment and entry, effects on signal transduction, identification of new molecular targets relevant to viral and bacterial pathogenesis.

Matthew Campen, Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mechanisms underlying the systemic, particularly neurovascular and placental vascular effects, stemming from inhaled toxicants.

Judy Cannon, PhD Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Discovering mechanisms whereby signaling molecules can drive both normal and leukemic T cell migration leading to effective immune responses or metastasis of leukemic cells.

Bryce Chackerian, Ph.D.  Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Interactions between virus particles and the immune system; vaccine development using nanoparticle-based platforms.

Eva Chi, Ph.D. (* until 2021) Biomedical Engineering
Analyses of the structure, dynamics, and stability of proteins with applications relevant to neurodegenerative diseases, proteins at membrane and other interfaces, and stabilization for bioengineering applications.

Vojo Deretic, Ph.D. Chair Molecular Genetics and Microbiology & Director Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism Center of Biomedical Research Excellence
Autophagy, a cell homeostatic process that maintains the cellular interior (organelles and cytosolic components) in a functional state, but sometimes can go awry and cause cell death.

Jeremy Edwards, Ph.D. Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Interfacing biology, bioinformatics, and engineering to advance Next Generation Sequencing technology and bioinformatics tools.

Kevin English, Dr.P.H. (*research co-mentor until 2019) Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center (AASTEC) Director
Enhancing Prevention Pathways Toward Tribal Colorectal Health.

Changjian Feng, Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Sciences
Structure/function and reaction mechanism of nitric oxide synthase and role of metal ions in structure and function of biological molecules.

Kathryn Frietze, Ph.D. (* until 2021) Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Vaccine development and roles of antibody responses in protective or harmful responses and translation to therapeutic interventions for infections and chronic diseases

Jennifer M. Gillette, PhD(* until 2020) Pathology
Stem cell and tumor cell signaling within the bone marrow microenvironment. Quantitative fluorescence microscopy and super resolution imaging.

Laura Gonzalez Bosc, Ph.D. Cell Biology and Physiology
Inflammation and transcriptional regulation in pulmonary hypertension.

Steven Graves, Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering
Development of extreme throughput and high information content cellular/particle analysis systems to enable revolutionary biomedical tools that make new measurements possible and make significant impact on medical research

Yan Guo, Ph.D. Internal Medicine, Director Bioinformatics
Development of bioinformatics methodology and analyses tools for genomic studies.

Helen J. Hathaway, Ph.D. Cell Biology and Physiology
Mammary gland development and tumor microenvironment in breast cancer.

Laurie Hudson, Ph.D.  (* until 2020) Pharmaceutical Sciences
Regulation of epithelial plasticity in metastasis and wound repair; novel therapeutics for ovarian cancer; mechanisms of arsenic carcinogenesis

Nikki Jernigan, Ph.D. Cell Biology and Physiology
Alterations of vascular smooth muscle Ca2+ handling and signal transduction that occur with pulmonary hypertension

Nancy Kanagy, Ph.D. Cell Biology and Physiology
Elucidation of the altered signaling mechanisms responsible for elevated vascular contractility in hypertension and the development of pharmacological tools to reverse this hypersensitivity

Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D.  Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research; and Navjao Birth Cohort Study
Community health; ethical, legal, and social issues.

Diane Lidke, Ph.D. (* until 2019)
Biophysical and live cell imaging approaches to study protein dynamics and interactions during signal transduction.

K.J. (Jim) Liu, Ph.D.   Pharmaceutical Sciences
Free radical and oxidative stress in disease development, including carcinogenesis and brain injury.

Meilian Liu, Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Roles of white and brown adipose tissue in inflammation, obesity and cancer and identifying therapeutic targets for disease treatment.

Debra MacKenzie, Ph.D. Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mechanisms of immune regulation and suppression; including immunotoxicology of metals and metal exposures in populations

Michael Mandell, Ph.D. Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Intersections of autophagy and inflammation, with a particular interest in proteins that have roles in both processes.

Erin Milligan, Ph.D. Neurosciences
Role of glial cells and infiltrating immune cells in the spinal cord in generating neuropathic pain

Shiraz Mishra, PhD Pediatrics, Family and Community Medicine
Characterization of individual, inter-personal, organizational/community, and societal risk factors leading to disparities in health and in access to and utilization of preventive services, including cancer prevention.

Scott A. Ness, Ph.D. (* until 2021) Molecular Medicine
Biology, activities, functions and regulation of Myb transcription factors in the control of gene expression, stem cell differentiation, and oncogenesis leading to leukemias and salivary gland tumors.

Aaron K. Neumann, PhD Pathology
Biophysics of host-pathogen interaction in the context of innate immune recognition of pathogenic fungi.

Seth Newsome, Ph.D. Biology, Director Center for Stable Isotopes
Effects of habitat, anthropogenic disturbances, and diet variation (measured via controlled feeding experiments and novel isotopic methods) on individuals, populations, and species.

Mary Ann Osley, Ph.D.  Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Histone modifications in the regulation of gene expression in aging, DNA replication, and the repair of DNA double-strand breaks.

Michelle A. Ozbun, Ph.D. Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Elucidating the cellular and viral mechanisms that regulate the life cycle of papillomaviruses, and to determine how virus-cell interactions can become unbalanced, leading to malignancy.

Stefan Posse, Ph.D. Neurology
Functional and metabolic MRI in neuroscience, cancer and clinical research

Eric R. Prossnitz, Ph.D. (* until 2019) Division Chief Molecular Medicine
Cellular signaling mechanisms initiated by G protein-coupled receptors and targeted therapies in cancer

Thomas Resta, Ph.D. Cell Biology and Physiology
Regulation of vascular smooth muscle; chronic hypoxia and pulmonary hypertension.

Vallabh (Raj) Shah, Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medicine
Translational clinical research program focused on the molecular epidemiology of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease through patient engaged research with American Indian communities.

Andrew Shreve, Ph.D. Chemical and Biological Engineering
Development of: 1) optically active nanomaterials to probe local environments in biological systems, 2) new technologies and optical instrumentation for biological sensing and imaging, and 3) knowledge of biological systems and synthetic materials interfaces.

William Shuttleworth, Ph.D. Chair, Neurosciences and Director Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Brain Recovery and Repair
Mechanisms underlying degenerative calcium signaling in central neurons.

Julia Stephen, Ph.D. (* research co-mentor until 2020) The Mind Research Network
Applications of MEG/EEG to studies of healthy aging, Alzheimer’s disease, neurodevelopmental disorders and normal development.

Melissa Emery Thompson, Ph.D. (* until 2021) Anthropology, Director Kibale Chimpanzee Project
Determining the roles of social support, status, and stress on health and aging.

Alan Tomkinson, Ph.D. Molecular Medicine
Delineating the molecular roles of DNA ligases and interacting proteins in maintaining genome stability and and as therapeutic targets in cancer.

C. Fernando Valenzuela, M.D., Ph.D. Neurosciences
Investigation of the odulation of developing and mature neuronal circuits by alcohol (ethanol), with the long-term goal of contributing to a better understanding of the neurobiology of alcoholism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Angela Wandinger-Ness, Ph.D.  Pathology
Ovarian cancer and targeted therapeutics for Ras-related GTPases.

Jason P. Weick, PhD Neurosciences
Delineating the basic mechanisms of neural differentiation and plasticity and the mechanisms of disorders that result in intellectual disability

Charles L. Wiggins, Ph.D. (*until 2019) Internal Medicine, Div. Epidemiology, Director New Mexico Tumor Registry
Issues that impact cancer surveillance, incidence and mortality rates for American Indian populations in the United States. 

Xiang Xue, Ph.D. (*until 2019) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dissecting the molecular mechanisms causal in inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

CNM: http://www.cnm.edu/

Karen Bentz, M.S.
Courses: Non-majors, Intro Biology, Microbiology
2016-2017: Tess Shideler
2017-2018: Christine Woods
(505)224-4000 ext. 50094

John Cornish
Dean, Math, Science, and Engineering

Phil Carman
Assistant Dean, Math, Science and Engineering

Ivy Crockett, M.S.
Courses: Lecture and Lab, Introductory Chemistry, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry
2018-2019: Crystal Vanderzanden
505-224-4000 x 53541; (cell) 662-297-0110

Melissa Franklin, Ph.D.
Courses: Intro Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathophysiology, Evolutionary Medicine
2016-2017: Katie Zychowski
(505) 224-4000 ext:50862

Leah Freeman, Ph.D.
Courses: Non-majors, Intro Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Biotechnology
XX-XX Russ Morton
2016-2017: Alfreda Nelson

Susan Johnson, M.S.
Courses: Online only!  Anatomy and Physiology, Pathophysiology
(505) 224-4000 ext. 50102

Terri Koontz, M.S.
Courses: Non-majors, Intro Bio, Anatomy and Physiology, Ecology/Evolution, Pathophysiology
2016-2017: Laura Weise Cross
2018-2019: Neil
(505) 224-4000 ext:50929

Philip Lister, Ph.D.
Courses: Microbiology
Former ASERT Fellow: Brian Gray
(505) 224-4000 ext. 50325

Mary Martinez, M.S.
Courses: Nutrition
(505) 224-4000 ext. 50170

Karen Strunk Riley, Ph.D.
Courses: Non-majors, Intro Biology, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pathophysiology
2015-2016: Danielle (Protas) Taylor
2017-2018: Stephanie Jerman
(505)224-4000 ext. 50928

Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh, M.S.
Courses: Chemistry/Biochemistry
Former ASERT Fellows: Jayne M. Christen and Robert Taylor
(505) 224-4000 (ext. 50078)
csorensen@cnm.edu; csoren1@unm.edu

Patricia Wilber, Ph.D.
Courses: Non-majors, Intro Biology, Microbiology
(505) 224-4000 ext. 50156

Shawn Wright, M.S.
Math, Science and Engineering (Biology) 
ASERT Fellows: Lindsey Long and Erica Dashner

NMSU: http://www.nmsu.edu/

Amanda Ashley
Biochemistry (grad and undergrad), Toxicology, Molecular Genetics (grad)

Bill Boecklen
Ecology, Biometry

Jen Curtiss
Developmental Biology, Cell biology (undergrad and grad), CURE authentic research course

Avis James
Introductory Biology (majors and non-majors), Evolution, Zoology

Boris Kiefer
Introductory Physics (majors and non-majors), Mechanics, Computational Physics, The Search for Water in the Solar System

Michele Nishiguchi
Symbiosis, Microbiology. Microbial Genetics, Zoology, Invertebrate Zoology, Climate Change

Elba Serrano
Neuroscience, Ethics

Michele Shuster
Cancer Biology, Introductory Biology (majors and non-majors), CREATE Scientific Thinking

Brad Shuster
Cell Biology (grad and undergrad), Developmental Biology, Introductory Biology (majors), CURE Research course

SIPI: https://www.sipi.edu/

Todd Nims, M.S.
Courses: General Biology, General Zoology, General Ecology, Wildlife Management, and Wildlife Management techniques
2017-2018: Tracy Dohn
505-346-7729 office

Alfonso Heras Llanos, PhD
Courses: Advanced College Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus I & II
2018-2019: Sheldwin Yazzie