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Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism Center

The Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism (AIM) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence offers pilot awards in support of its mission to advance investigation into the role of autophagy in disease.

The center’s pilot program provides grants to investigators who will use the funds to generate data to apply for external funding (preferably through a variety of National Institutes of Health mechanisms, but also through other funding sources).

One goal is to increase the autophagy-based research community at The University of New Mexico and within New Mexico. Use of AIM’s scientific core facilities is strongly encouraged for AIM-supported pilot projects. AIM supports the scientific core facilities and capabilities.

Our team of UNM researchers conducts groundbreaking research into the role played by autophagy in inflammatory diseases and infections. This research is recognized by the National Institutes of Health, and has earned the university the honor of housing a national center of excellence. An article about the MGM AIM Center of Research Excellence is featured in the journal Autophagy.

Autophagy Research

The AIM Center is dedicated to the study of autophagy, a biological process that could hold the key to treating many diseases. It's funded by a five-year, $11 million federal grant to encourage collaboration among researchers in the field as well as provide mentoring opportunities for junior faculty.

The study of autophagy is necessary to advance the means of fighting diseases such as:

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Global emerging infections
  • Autoimmune diseases

The center supports both junior and senior investigators through multi-year projects and pilots, and aims to grow into an internationally known center through its scientific advances. The AIM Center will host national and international activities, promote collaborations and provide career opportunities. It's funded by NIH grant P20GM121176.


The AIM Center's core facilities are equipped with the following tools to help advance research:

  • The ImageStream®x Mark II Imaging Flow Cytometer combines the speed, sensitivity and phenotyping abilities of flow cytometry with the detailed imagery and functional insights of microscopy.
  • The Cellinsight CX7 is a high-content screening platform with flexible imaging options.
  • Seahorse will be implemented in some of the core facilities.