Signature Research Programs

In 2005, the UNM Health Sciences Center reorganized its research efforts into Signature Research Programs to enrich the environment for the advancement of clinical/translational research and to establish comprehensive research programs that have "bench to bedside" and community components. These Programs are focused around critical health problems affecting New Mexico residents and bridge the clinical and basic sciences to more rapidly deliver discoveries in molecular medicine to the clinical setting. In this manner, the Signature Research Programs lower the barriers between disciplines and provide the foundation for productive interdisciplinary research for the Clinical & Translational Science Award (CTSA).

BBHIBrain and Behavioral Health

Brain and behavioral illnesses are disorders that involve the brain and mind and can affect multiple areas of a person's life including their movements, thoughts, moods, body functions, and behaviors. Different disorders can strike at every stage of life. In early childhood, developmental disorders can include Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS), and dyslexia. Schizophrenia and depression are often diagnosed in early adulthood, and as we age we become increasingly susceptible to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and other neurodegenerative/neurological diseases. Traumatic brain injuries are common and can happen to anyone at any time. Substance use disorders also very common and affect people across the lifespan.

Brain and behavioral disorders strike New Mexicans of all ages and from every background. Indeed, it would be difficult to find a New Mexican family that hasn't been touched by at least one of the numerous brain/behavioral disorders. These disorders are devastating to families and are some of the most common and costly to society.

At the BBHI, we harness the efforts of our top UNM researchers, clinicians and educators along with our NM community of patients, families, advocates, and providers to deliver state of the art research initiatives and advocacy about brain and behavioral health.


The Cancer Center underwent a rigorous process to achieve its comprehensive designation last summer. The highly sought-after designation recognizes the center’s achievements in four areas: providing integrated cancer diagnosis and treatment, providing access to national clinical trials, conducting world-class cancer research and educating the next generation of cancer health care and scientific professionals.  UNM’s cancer research is supported by more than $72 million in annual extramural funding and takes advantage of regional scientific and engineering strengths. Cancer Center scientists collaborate with colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

UNM scientists also work with researchers at New Mexico State University. These collaborations have led to breakthroughs in targeted therapies and cancer diagnostics.

The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center also conducts clinical research. As part of the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, it is launching a program to offer patients an opportunity to have their cancer tumors sequenced to benefit not only cancer research but also themselves when newer, better treatments become available.

Cardiovascular Signature ProgramCardiovascular & Metabolic Disease

The mission of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease (CVMD) Signature program is to support and enhance the activities of investigators at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center who are pursuing important, clinically relevant research questions focusing on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease. This program aims to enhance the collaborative inter-disciplinary scientific interactions within the institution, to increase the level of junior faculty mentorship and support and to promote the development of new areas of research strength.

Child Health Signature ProgramChild Health Research

Our mission is to improve child health & well-being by: 1) Establishing a network of research collaborations in child health across Signature Programs, School of Medicine, & Colleges of Pharmacy & Nursing 2) Increasing the number of faculty proposing, applying for, & conducting research in child health 3) Establishing a series of structured events that showcase & support child health research 4) Supporting collaborative investigations in child health research by funding pilot projects 5) Increasing the utilization of evidence-based practices in child health programs 6) Establishing a programmatic structure that facilitates achievement of these objectives

Environmental HealthEnvironmental Health Sciences

The Environmental Health Signature Program (EHSP) at the UNM Health Sciences Center performs basic and translational research on regionally relevant environmental public health issues that address the overall health needs of unique Southwestern communities while contributing to our understanding of global environmental health issues.

CIDI Signature ProgramInfectious Diseases & Immunity

The goal in this Research Program is to develop and enhance collaborative programs among researchers, physicians and businesses in New Mexico to address the threat of infectious and immunologically-mediated inflammatory diseases in New Mexican populations and the world by characterizing epidemiologic issues, studying basic host-pathogen mechanisms, developing new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, and testing the preventive, therapeutic and diagnostic efficacy of these discoveries in clinical trials.