Vice Chancellor's Message

    Vice Chancellor Richard S. Larson's Message

    Dr. Richard S. Larson

    Welcome to the UNM Health Sciences Center Research Enterprise.

    At the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, our investigators remain committed to the mission of conducting basic and clinical research that will significantly impact the health of communities in New Mexico, as well as making significant contributions in healthcare worldwide.

    We continue to grow our research enterprise yearly, even at a time when funding dollars from the National Institutes of Health are declining and the competition for funding is challenging. In 2014, our innovated investigators were awarded a record amount of funds close to $156 million. This funding provides economic support for the public and private sectors in New Mexico.

    We conduct research that will impact New Mexicans and the diseases they face, such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, stroke, addiction and substance abuse, and heart disease. We are committed to expanding and amplifying our understanding of and ability to serve all New Mexicans. Our researchers have established clinics and projects in many underserved, rural areas of New Mexico, and have had success in developing significant ways of using state-of-the-art technology. For example, we conduct research in environment health, such as examining the effects of uranium on New Mexican populations or the effects of arsenic levels in drinking water. We reach out to expectant mothers who may lack access to healthcare in some parts of the state, or erect cutting-edge programs in telehealth, such as Project ECHO, which provides real-time video access for clinicians in remote areas of New Mexico, linking them with consulting University physicians, researchers and healthcare experts.

    We continue to secure extramural funding for research in our six signature programs-- child health, brain and behavioral illness, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, environmental health sciences and infectious diseases and immunity. An exciting initiative is our current focus on building a Brain and Behavioral Health Institute (BBHI). Our institutional vision includes the expansion of the BBHI to become the leading center in the Mountain West states region for research, clinical care, and training.

    The Biomedical Research Education Programs are one example of how research dollars directly affect students. The successful Undergraduate Pipeline program, for example, places students from rural New Mexico and across the Mountain West region in faculty laboratories or clinics for a taste of a future in biomedical research or healthcare. The Clinical Translational Certificate program allows scientists and clinicians to gain a valuable education in the changing landscape of how scientific research is conducted, furthering their understanding of how to get extramural funding for their projects. All the programs in Biomedical Research Education are designed to train the next generation of scientists with the goal of identifying, retaining and rewarding the best and brightest in New Mexico.

    Finally, our vision for research at the HSC is focused on drawing together researchers for collaborations. Our Clinical and Translational Science Center, established in 2010, continues to build consortiums and open doors for collaborations. We intend to continue to grow our partnerships within schools at the HSC, with departments across campuses, and with regional and national entities dedicated to conducting biomedical research.

    Richard S. Larson, MD, PhD
    Executive Vice Chancellor
    Vice Chancellor for Research