DirkNSF grant will support research on heart valve tissue engineering, inspire future scientists

7-14-14-Elizabeth L. Dirk, an assistant professor in the University of New Mexico Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been awarded a $400,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

This funding will support research on heart valve tissue engineering, as well as the development of programs to encourage students to pursue biomedical engineering.

The CAREER award is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the community. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

John RussellRussell receives Formula SAE’s highest honor

7-7-14-John Russell, director of the University of New Mexico’s Formula SAE program and Halliburton Professor of Mechanical Engineering, received the organization’s top award for his many years of work with students in the LOBOMotorSports program.

He was honored at the Formula SAE competition award ceremony in Lincoln, Neb., with the 2014 Carroll Smith Mentor's Cup by FSAE and the Sports Car Club of America. It is the highest award that can be earned by any Formula SAE advisor, and only one award is given per year.
The Carroll Smith Mentor's Cup recognizes extraordinary levels of personal time and expertise given to engineering education, and the ability to serve as an exceptional role model for students. 

FSAE teamUNM’s Formula SAE team places 11th in international competition

7-7-14-The University of New Mexico’s LOBOMotorSports team placed 11th overall out of 80 international entries at the Formula SAE competition June 18-21 in Lincoln, Neb.

 “The team did really well, and we had the second-highest placement ever at the event,” said John Russell, director of UNM’s Formula SAE program and Halliburton Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “Our goal is to score better than 7/10 of the available points in each of the competitions, and we met that goal.”

5K run to generate funds for School of Engineering scholarships

7-7-14-The University of New Mexico School of Engineering is holding its first-ever 5K run to raise funds for an endowment for student scholarships.

The “Run Nerds Run! 5K” will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 at the University of New Mexico. The route will begin and end at the Centennial Engineering Center. All are open to sign up for the event. Registration is $25 before Aug. 29 and can be done online. The race is also on the calendar of

The run will raise funds for the Visionaries of Infinite Potential (VIP) endowment. Once endowed, the scholarships will provide tuition assistance to a full-time School of Engineering student with high academic merit and financial need.

CHTM research in compressive sensing reported in ‘Nature Photonics’

7-2-14-In a collaborative effort, researchers at the University of New Mexico have broken new ground in Terahertz imaging through the development of a new metamaterial which allows manipulation of light in the Terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum and enables compressive sensing similar to what is possibly being undertaken in the human eye.

Metamaterials are engineered materials that have special properties that are not found in nature. It uses shapes and orientation to manipulate light waves. The metamaterial was grown and fabricated at the Center for High Technology Materials says director Sanjay Krishna.

cosmiacCOSMIAC builds satellites and the tools to make them fly

 7-2-14-The University of New Mexico’s latest tool for building and testing small satellites is under construction. Students will spend the rest of the summer completing work to test and calibrate power sources for a Helmholtz Cage they have built at the UNM School of Engineering's Configurable Space Microsystems and Appliciations Center (COSMIAC).

As COSMIAC charts a course through the evolving world of small satellite technology, researchers and students are preparing the infrastructure they need to build and test the sensors that make the satellites work properly. The Helmholtz Cage allows them to cancel the effects of the earth’s magnetic field when they want to test satellite sensors. Since satellites use the magnetic field as a way to orient themselves in space, it is important to build sensors to make the orientation as precise as possible, and to provide a geomagnetic environment similar to what the satellite would experience in space.


Two Engineering professors earn distinguished professor rank

6-23-14-Two professors from the University of New Mexico School of Engineering have been promoted to the title of distinguished professor.

Plamen Atanassov, professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and former director of the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies, and Edl Schamiloglu, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the School of Engineering’s COSMIAC center, have been selected for this honor.

sorrentinoHidden symmetries, cluster synchronization may be keys to better power grids, brain function

6-19-14-In most parts of the world, we take for granted that when we turn on a light switch, the light flicks on in an instant. Or when we have multiple large appliances running at the same time in our homes, the electricity flow remains plentiful and stable so that we don’t have to worry about turning on a television or vacuuming.

However, the minute something goes wrong — such as a blackout or a power surge — consumers are frustrated and baffled, and power experts are often left scratching their heads as to what went wrong. And in many parts of the world, electrical instability is a near daily concern.

But new research examining the connection between what is known as network symmetry and cluster synchronization could some day lead to a solution to make power grids more stable. It could also have implications for treating neural network disorders of the brain, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Conference teaches the science of the small

6-18-14-How do you interest students in building things so small they can’t be seen by the unaided human eye?  At UNM, faculty members know that is where the most sophisticated manufacturing capabilities – the jobs that will pay the best are likely to be. But teaching skills for jobs that are emerging and continuously changing is a challenge.

More than 80 educators from high school through university level spent the last few days learning about how micro and nano technologies can be taught effectively in the classroom. The teachers are here because they want their students involved in learning about the exploding micro/nano industry and the science in their future. This is the fourth year UNM has sponsored the conference.

STI kidsStudents get a glimpse at careers at Summer Transportation Institute

6-12-14-Summer may be quiet for a lot of the University of New Mexico campus, but for some budding engineers, it’s prime time to learn more about what an engineering career is like.

The School of Engineering is offering its annual Summer Transportation Institute (STI) at UNM through June 27. The program educates students about the array of job opportunities in the transportation industry and encourages students to pursue these careers.

MusicECE professor designs easy music creation software

6-10-14-Can you learn to make music if you’ve never had any musical training? Bandojo LLC, a startup using technology developed by UNM Research Assistant Professor Panaiotis Panaiotis in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is betting you won’t be able to resist the temptation. Bandojo has developed a software program you can download now on your iPhone or iPad.  You can play alone or with friends, no matter what age you are.

RET teachersTeachers learn solar skills at CHTM

6-11-14-K-12 teachers learned how to make a solar cell during the Center for High Technology Materials kickoff of the second year of the "Energizing Engineering Education" Research Experience for Teachers program funded by the National Science Foundation.  

CHTM graduate students Emma Renteria, Sadhvikas Addamane, and Orlando Romero took the teachers through the steps of growing, patterning and testing a solar cell.  


KhraishiDemand now driving engineering internship program

6-2-14-Mechanical Engineering Professor Tariq Khraishi is working hard these days to keep up with the fruit of his own success. Over the last year, he and his colleague Sue Buffington have arranged internships with local companies and agencies for more than 100 engineering students.

Khraishi says he didn’t imagine where his National Science Foundation grant would take him. In 2011, Khraishi and co-principal investigators received an NSF grant for $2 million to pay stipends for UNM freshmen and sophomore engineering students to serve summer internships with companies and agencies in New Mexico. Some interns serve in research positions with UNM School of Engineering (SOE) faculty members. 


HossanStudent awarded Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

5-28-14-Md. Mottaleb Hossain, a research assistant at the University of New Mexico’s Center for High Technology Materials, has been awarded a 2014 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship for $2,000 by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for his potential contributions to the field of optics and photonics.



senior designSenior design project showers experience on students

5-20-14-Would you be interested in a shower you could program to flow just the way you want it? That’s the project sponsors of the Innovation Design Clinic capstone design course suggested to students. The course covers two semesters and students must address real-world problems of a multidisciplinary nature.

“While universities excel at providing theoretical understanding to undergraduates, they are weak at providing real-world design experience and especially in a multidisciplinary setting,” Electrical and Computer Science Department Lecturer Rich Compeau said. “The Innovative Design Clinic brings together students from diverse disciplines to focus as a team on a design element, which could range from defining the infrastructure of an emerging community to a new product – and beyond. Graduates of the clinic are better prepared for employment where multidisciplinary teams are the norm.”

School of Engineering holds Spring 2014 Convocation

5-19-14-Several hundred family and friends gathered at the Kiva Auditorium in the Albuquerque Convention Center on Saturday, May 17 to congratulate University of New Mexico School of Engineering graduates at the Spring 2014 Convocation.

Keynote speakers were Kathryn Naassan, who received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1987, and Michael Emerson, who received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1986.

TahaTaha selected as chair of Civil Engineering

5-16-14- Mahmoud Reda Taha, a professor of civil engineering, has been selected as the new chair of the University of New Mexico School of Engineering’s Department of Civil Engineering, effective July 1, 2014.

Taha has contributed significantly and importantly to Civil Engineering, the school, and UNM as an outstanding teacher and as a very accomplished researcher with international visibility and distinction, said dean Joseph L. Cecchi.

Students in computer science, art collaborate on brainwave project

5-12-14-Some people are said to wear their emotions on their sleeves, but how about displayed on a projector?

Computer science students typically don’t deal with humans’ emotional states, focusing instead on numbers and code. But for students in lecturer Joel Castellanos’ Computer Science 351 course, emotions and numbers are combining into a unique final project.

Instead of taking a final on a piece of paper or on a computer, their programming prowess will be evaluated with the help of UNM’s ARTS Lab and EEG headsets that measure brainwaves.

Annual AwardsSchool of Engineering honors outstanding students, faculty and staff at annual awards ceremony

5-9-14-The University of New Mexico School of Engineering honored its outstanding students, faculty and staff and its annual award luncheon on May 9.

Dean Joseph L. Cecchi served as master of ceremonies at the event. Awards were given out in the auditorium of the Centennial Engineering Center, then lunch was served on the Centennial courtyard.


Anil PrinjaPrinja appointed interim chair of Nuclear Engineering

5-8-14-University of New Mexico School of Engineering Dean Joseph L. Cecchi announced May 8 that Anil Prinja will become the inaugural interim chair of the new Department of Nuclear Engineering. His appointment begins July 1, 2014.


School of Engineering students among winners in business plan contest

4-21-14-The UNM Business Plan Competition took place at the Anderson School of Management recently.

The 13 teams in the university-wide competition presented their plans to over 40 experienced venture capitalists and angel investors who selected three prize-winning business proposals for both the Technology Ventures and Entrepreneurial Ventures tracks.

The winning teams were announced at the Awards Reception and Banquet at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Postgrad App was the winner in the Technology Ventures track, while Entrepreneurial track winner was Star Track. Total prize funds awarded to $75,000 for the aspiring entrepreneurs for start-up funding.

The competition encourages student teams from all UNM schools to utilize the wealth of technological innovations developed in New Mexico federal laboratories and universities.

DatyeDatye appointed chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering

4-18-14-School of Engineering Dean Joseph Cecchi announced that Distinguished Professor Abhaya K. Datye will be the inaugural chair of the new Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE). His appointment begins July 1, 2014.

Datye elected as Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America

4-17-14-Abhaya Datye, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, founding director of the graduate program in nanoscience and microsystems, and director of the Center for Microengineered Materials, has been elected a fellow of the Microscopy Society of America.

The designation of fellow is intended to recognize distinguished members of the society who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the science and practice of microscopy imaging, analysis, and diffraction techniques.

Dayte will be honored at Microscopy & Microanalysis 2014, which will take place Aug. 3-7 in Hartford, Conn.

UNM professor is focused on fate of uranium in water

Jose Cerrato

4-15-14- José M. Cerrato, a new assistant professor in the UNM Department of Civil Engineering, has a smile that lights up a room when he talks about his work.

“I feel blessed to have this job because it is not merely technically teaching a subject,” he says. “It is impacting people’s lives."

Cerrato came to UNM from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. where he was working as a post-doctoral researcher. He was a member of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource Science Focus Area (SSRL SFA) Research Team, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, investigating the stability of uranium (IV) products resulting from in-situ bioremediation. Cerrato is originally from Honduras, where he received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Datye, graduate students search for ways to make catalytic converters more efficient

4-15-14-UNM Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Abhaya Datye, and his graduate students Eric Peterson and Andrew De La Riva, are focused on finding a way to make catalytic converters on diesel engines as efficient as possible by engineering them to work at lower temperatures. Catalytic converters in vehicles convert harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions.

Catalytic converters can be more efficient if they work at lower temperatures, so they quickly begin converting toxic air pollution to harmless compounds soon after the vehicle is started. When a diesel engine is started on a cold morning, the catalytic converter is cold and does not work efficiently. Until the engine warms sufficiently, the catalytic converter is unable to remove the clouds of partially burned fuel billowing into the air. 

Mechanical Engineering honors distinguished alumni, students

4-15-14-The University of New Mexico’s Department of Mechanical Engineering honored distinguished alumni and outstanding students at a ceremony April 10.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering, part of the School of Engineering, honored Robert L. Cardenas, Michael E. Dexter, Allen E. Fuhs, and William S. Saric as distinguished alumni. Scott Lovald was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Chemical and Nuclear Engineering to become two departments

4-3-14-This summer, two programs that have been combined in one department for decades within the University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering will become separate.

The University of New Mexico Faculty Senate has voted to approve the proposal to transition the Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering into two new departments: the Department of Nuclear Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

The transition is effective July 1, 2014. The Faculty Senate voted to approve the proposal at its meeting on March 25.

STC spring breakfast seminar series is April 9

4-2-14-STC.UNM, the University of New Mexico’s technology-transfer office, is hosting its spring breakfast seminar series on April 9. The seminars are free and open to the UNM community and the public, but registration is required. Breakfast will be provided.

“Equity Crowdfunding for Start-ups: What’s Wrong with This Picture?” will be presented by Perry E. Bendicksen III, Esq., Rodey Law Firm. It will be held 8-9 a.m. at the auditorium, Building 800, UNM Science & Technology Park, 800 University Blvd., SE. Free parking is available in the parking garage directly west of Building 800 at the corner of Basehart and Bradbury Drive.

School of Engineering to honor retiring faculty members

3-31-14-The University of New Mexico School of Engineering will honor three retiring faculty members during a ceremony April 23.

Steve Brueck, former director of the Center for High Technology Materials who holds distinguished professorships in both electrical and computer engineering, and physics and astronomy; Juan Heinrich, professor of mechanical engineering and former chair of the department; and Tim Ward, chair and professor of chemical and nuclear engineering, will be honored.

Formula SAE students inspiring fifth-graders to pursue engineering

3-28-14-The University of New Mexico’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) team members are serving as teachers this month for a three-week engineering class, part of a national program to introduce and interest youth in engineering.

The class, being held at Monte Vista Elementary School in Albuquerque, has around 15 FSAE team members leading 48 fifth-graders in the design of a miniature race car — about 6 inches long and made of balloons, sticks, nozzles and other assorted parts.

School of Engineering alumnus named director of Air Force research office

Brasure3-27-14-L. Wayne Brasure, a member of the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Air Force, has been named director of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Arlington, Va.

Brasure earned a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in nuclear engineering in 1991 and worked under professor Anil Prinja. While a doctoral student at UNM, he received the Outstanding Graduate Student in Nuclear Engineering Award in 1990 and the Top Graduate Student Presented Paper Award from the American Nuclear Society Regional Conference, Arizona State University, in 1990.

In his current role, Brasure manages the entire basic research investment portfolio for the Air Force, leading a staff of 200 scientists, engineers, and administrators in the United States, as well as in technology offices in London, Tokyo, and Santiago, Chile. The office manages a $510 million investment portfolio, and the office’s annual investment in basic research is distributed among more than 200 academic institutions, 150 businesses and 200 research efforts within the Air Force Research Laboratory.

LoboNet CONNECT links academia with tech community

3-21-14-What does an engineering student, an art student, a professor, a scientist and an entrepreneur all have in common?

Actually, a lot more than you’d think.

Members of these groups and others from the community have been attending a new event called LoboNet CONNECT, which is designed to bring academia and the technology business community together every month to talk about their similarities and where they might collaborate.

Atanassov to receive the 2014 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award


3-20-14-Plamen B. Atanassov has been chosen to receive the 2014 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award in recognition of his achievements as one of the University of New Mexico’s leading innovators.

Atanassov is a professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and director of the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies.

The award will be presented to Atanassov at STC’s 2014 Innovation Awards Dinner on April 3.

Kerry Howe

Center for Water and the Environment receives $5 million NSF CREST award

3-11-14-The Center for Water and the Environment, a research center based at the University of New Mexico, has received a 5-year, $5 million Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) award from the National Science Foundation.

The center, formed in summer 2013, is led by Kerry Howe, associate professor of civil engineering, who is the principal investigator on the grant. Co-principal investigators on the grant are Department of Civil Engineering faculty Bruce Thomson, Andrew Schuler, Mark Stone, and Vanessa Valentin.

UNM engineering programs make U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools list

3-11-14-The University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering overall graduate programs ranked No. 87 in the nation, according to the U.S. & World Report magazine’s 2015 Best Graduate Schools rankings, released March 11.

Rio Grande projectUNM graduate student works with local engineers to save a bridge

By Karen Wentworth — March 10, 2014

UNM Civil Engineering graduate student Adrienne Martinez is working to solve a potentially big problem in Albuquerque’s North Diversion Channel. Martinez is an engineering intern at the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority where engineers spend a lot of time worrying about how storm water runoff can travel safely through Albuquerque on its journey to the Rio Grande.

Storm water from Albuquerque’s northeast heights travels to the Rio Grande through a series of arroyos to the North Diversion Channel. The very large concrete channel that flows north along I-25 then turns west and enters the river near the Bernalillo county line. Storm water engineers are particularly concerned about the Rainrunner Bridge over the channel and its vulnerability to damage from summer thunderstorms.


Supercomputer racks

UNM gains supercomputer from the New Mexico Consortium

By Kim Delker
2-24-14-UNM will soon have much more computing power under its belt.  Enough to sequence the genomic data for thousands of people in New Mexico over the next several years.

Thanks to a gift from the New Mexico Consortium, the repurposed 120-node, 960-core, AMD/InfiniBand-based system will be housed at the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) and be made available for parallel research computing use by faculty and student researchers at UNM, New Mexico Tech and New Mexico State University.

CecchiJoseph Cecchi named dean of the School of Engineering

University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah has announced the appointment of Dean Emeritus and Professor Joseph L. Cecchi as dean of the School of Engineering.

“I am pleased to announce Dr. Joseph Cecchi as interim dean of the School of Engineering. His previous service as dean as well as his distinguished record in a variety of leadership roles makes him uniquely qualified to take on this position while we conduct a national search for a permanent dean. I am confident that he will do an excellent job,” said Provost Chaouki Abdallah.

Research scientists, engineers sought to judge projects at symposium

2-18-14-Those in the scientific and engineering fields are needed to serve as volunteer judges at the 2014 Southwest Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium on March 1 at UNM.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium recognizes students for original research achievements in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. Student participants will be judged mainly on their ability to demonstrate valid investigation and experimentation aimed at the discovery of knowledge.

RET teachers

Research Experience for Teachers educators learn about solar energy

2-17-14-Educators from around the state who are part of the Research Experience for Teachers initiative got an up-close look at the ASUNM Solar Decathlon house Saturday, Feb. 15 that is currently located at Mesa del Sol.

Teachers learned about the house, known as the SHADE (Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium) house, from Olga Lavrova, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and faculty advisor to Team ASUNM. In addition, teachers toured the PNM facility at the location. The PNM site is the first solar storage installation in the country to be fully integrated with a utility's smart grid. The teachers also visited the UNM Center for High Technology Materials, where they gave presentations on the status of their projects as part of the grant.

CS senior earns Finalist award from Computing Research Association

Alan Kuntz

2-10-14- Alan Kuntz, a senior in Computer Science at UNM, has been awarded a Finalist award (third place) in the 2014 Computing Research Association Undergraduate Researcher Award competition. In 2013, Kuntz received an Honorable Mention from the same competition. He is currently working on a senior honors thesis on molecular aggregation simulation and analysis with Professor Lydia Tapia. Last summer he participated in the Dynamics Summer School Program at Los Alamos National Laboratory. After graduating this spring, he plans on pursuing a Ph.D.

solar decathlon house

Open house planned Feb. 21 for ASUNM Solar Decathlon house

2-7-14-The public is invited to tour the ASUNM Solar Decathlon house, now located at Mesa del Sol, on Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.

The house, located at 5650 University Blvd. SE, will be dismantled at the end of the month, so this will be one of the last chances for the public to view and tour the home, said Olga Lavrova, UNM assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and faculty advisor on the project.

The project is a collaborative building effort between Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico.

UNM hosts statewide robotics competition

2-4-14-Governor Susanna Martinez was on hand as students from elementary, middle and high schools around the state gathered at the UNM School of Engineering Centennial Center on Feb. 1 for the UNM VEX Robotics Competition. About 70 students participated in the competition. Martinez announced that Hispanic students in New Mexico had improved Advanced Placement scores over the past year.

The students battled throughout the day with robots they created from the VEX Robotics Design System in games of “Toss Up” and “Add it Up.” The games were developed by VEX Robotics, Inc. and the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, leaders in educational and competitive robotics. The sponsor of the UNM event is 3D Proven Systems. 




Spring 2014 Convocation
May 17, 2014
Ceremony begins at 1 p.m.
Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque Convention Center downtown


Dr. Elizabeth Dirk explains how medicine is being reinvented through research into self-renewing stem cells that act as a repair system for the human body.


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