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Castillo Named UNM Cancer Center DEI Associate Director

The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center has named Eliseo F. Castillo, PhD, as Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Castillo is an Associate Professor and Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, within the Department of Internal Medicine at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Castillo received his doctorate in immunology from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology and immunology at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in 2015. He received his bachelor of science in biology from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales and a master’s of science in chemistry from ENMU.

Castillo’s lab is currently examining the effects of environmental particulates such as microplastics (NIH/NIEHS R01 ES032037) and heavy metals (NIH/NIEHS P42 ES025589) on the mucosal immune system and gut microbiota.

The research seeks to understand these environmental problems from both an immunological and gut physiological perspective. Castillo’s work has also continued to examine mucosal immune responses – particularly how macrophages and intestinal epithelial cells function and interact in the gut.

He has received a number of honors, including the 2023 Faculty Research Excellence Award for Junior Faculty and was selected as a KL2 Scholar for UNM Health Sciences Center’s Clinical and Translational Science Center.

As associate director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Castillo will help create and foster programs that are designed to increase diversity and inclusion awareness within the cancer research community as well as at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

At UNM HSC, Castillo has sought to identify, prepare and mentor all trainees, including underserved, underrepresented, and vulnerable trainees, in academia and in a professional manner that leads to positive STEM educational outcomes.

Castillo also has been heavily involved in mentoring and outreach programs such as the UNM Cancer Center’s CURE for Cancer, UNM Undergraduate Pipeline Network, and the UNM MARC and PREP programs that serve underrepresented populations.

UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in a 500-mile radius.

Its more than 120 board-certified oncology specialty physicians include cancer surgeons in every specialty (abdominal, thoracic, bone and soft tissue, neurosurgery, genitourinary, gynecology, and head and neck cancers), adult and pediatric hematologists/medical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, and radiation oncologists. They, along with more than 600 other cancer healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, navigators, psychologists and social workers), provide treatment to 65% of New Mexico's cancer patients from all across the state and partner with community health systems statewide to provide cancer care closer to home. They treated approximately 14,000 patients in about 100,000 ambulatory clinic visits in addition to in-patient hospitalizations at UNM Hospital.

A total of nearly 400 patients participated in cancer clinical trials testing new cancer treatments that include tests of novel cancer prevention strategies and cancer genome sequencing.

The more than 100 cancer research scientists affiliated with the UNMCCC were awarded $35.7 million in federal and private grants and contracts for cancer research projects. Since 2015, they have published nearly 1000 manuscripts, and promoting economic development, they filed 136 new patents and launched 10 new biotechnology start-up companies.

Finally, the physicians, scientists and staff have provided education and training experiences to more than 500 high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellowship students in cancer research and cancer health care delivery.

Categories: Comprehensive Cancer Center