November 2023


Thank You for Your Contributions to NMSU’s Research Enterprise


By Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Economic Development


As November brings chilly mornings and Thanksgiving approaches, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have played a pivotal role in NMSU's thriving research enterprise. Last fiscal year, your collective efforts led to nearly $130 million in research and development expenditures. This year, within the first third of the fiscal period, you have submitted 231 proposals, requested $175 million, and been awarded $44 million, marking a significant milestone in NMSU’s research endeavors over the past decade.

I extend my sincere appreciation to the dedicated faculty, research scientists, and students who tirelessly submitted grants and contracts, authored journal articles, presented conference proceedings, published books, represented NMSU at local, regional, and national meetings, showcased artistic creations, and promoted our research initiatives on social media platforms.

A special acknowledgment goes out to our invaluable graduate and undergraduate students, who are the heart of our academic research enterprise. Your contributions are indispensable, and I am deeply grateful for your presence at NMSU during your academic journeys.

I want to express my gratitude to the Graduate School for their unwavering support of our graduate students and to the Honors College for encouraging undergraduate research experiences through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.

I commend the University Research Council for their insightful advice, guiding us in research affairs, identifying faculty and researchers' needs, and analyzing services, policies, and procedures that impact our research community. I appreciate the service of faculty senators on the Standing Committee on Research and Creative Activity who investigate and advise on new paths to faculty research and creative activity success. 

I am privileged to work alongside a remarkable team of associate deans for research, whose dedication has played a pivotal role in the growth and maturation of our research, scholarship, and creative activities across all colleges.

Additionally, I want to acknowledge the exceptional directors in programs like the Molecular Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Program, New Mexico IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, and Physical Science Laboratory. Your efforts contribute significantly to our research successes.

Within our colleges, departments, centers, and institutes, there are numerous staff members who are indispensable to our principal investigators in the research enterprise. I extend my appreciation to each one of you. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the immense contribution of the Office of Institutional Analysis to the research and development enterprise. Without the data they provide our proposal efforts would be impossible.

A special thank you goes to our diligent laboratory and field technicians and staff, who work tirelessly to facilitate the research endeavors of our faculty, research scientists, and students, often putting in long hours in remote locations.

I express my gratitude to the dedicated staff in Finance and Administration, who provide essential support for the research enterprise's hiring, purchasing, and post-award needs.

Our research enterprise benefits greatly from the productive partnership with the Office of Information and Communication Technology. Their leadership and staff have facilitated the transition from ARGIS and Maestro to Streamlyne and continue to support our high-performance computing needs.

Throughout our campus, the Facilities and Services staff play a crucial role in maintaining instrumentation and laboratory facilities, meeting spaces, offices, and our beautiful campus environment.

I am deeply thankful for the unwavering support and encouragement we have received from NMSU's leadership, including the regents, president, provost, chancellors, vice presidents, deans, and department heads. Your steadfast backing of our Carnegie R1 goal and support for our faculty, research scientists, scholars, and students have been instrumental to our success. Personally, I am grateful for the invaluable advice and counsel you have provided me over the past five years.

Lastly, I want to recognize the exceptional staff of the Office of Research, Creativity, and Economic Development. The teams in research administration, infrastructure and partnerships, workforce and strategic engagement, service operations, Arrowhead Center, and RCED administrative support are truly unparalleled. Your passion and dedication to our research enterprise are unmatched, and I am deeply appreciative of your efforts.














News from Research Administration


By Ms. Alisha Giron, Associate Vice President for Research

If all goes as planned later this month, NMSU Research Administration will be fully staffed in all areas (i.e., research development, pre-award administration, compliance) for the first time in many years when a new Grants & Contracts Administrator begins working for us. Initially, we eliminated vacant positions due to budget constraints and later, we had difficulty recruiting qualified candidates. All of this led to doing more with less at a time when we experienced an increase in volume, the implementation of a new electronic research administration system, ever-growing obligations from the federal government and beyond, and a research leadership team with many big ideas (Ha!). While we pride ourselves in maintaining a lean operation, vacancies undoubtedly impacted my team. This month and every month, I am thankful for the staff in Research Administration Services and Research Integrity & Compliance that relentlessly persevere in support of NMSU’s incredible research enterprise.


Ms. Alisha Giron, NMSU

News from the Research Integrity and Compliance


By Dr. JoAnne Dupre, Director, Compliance Administration, RIC

Greetings NMSU researchers,

As NMSU’s point of contact for export control topics, I am reaching out to you with this message for your awareness of recent foreign talent program recruiting efforts.

Background: On October 4, Stanford University published a list of the top 100,000 research scientists in the world (access the list here:

NMSU is well represented, with at least two dozen current and former faculty names on the list. Congratulations are due to all as one of the top cited researchers on this year’s list; their success is recognized and well deserved. 

Because of this recognition, many researchers may be a focus of attention for recruitment to foreign talent programs. This message is a conversation starter, and please feel free to share it if it is helpful. Export control offices at many U.S. universities have reported that faculty have received emails with subject lines such as 2024 Invitation for overseas talents to apply for the Global Excellent Scientists Fund in China. You and your research team members may be approached (or may have been contacted already) through your university email and other formats such as research networks or even personal interactions.

This message is a reminder to look carefully at any offer of recruitment into foreign talent programs, and to connect with Research Administration Services for guidance before agreeing to research-related activities with foreign sponsors.

Participation in any foreign talent recruitment program ("FTRP") must be disclosed to federal sponsors, and while this is not a change from existing U.S. government expectations for bio sketches and the current & pending support sections of proposals, this topic is receiving increased focus and emphasis.

  • Many U.S. Government grants, awards, and contracts for research funding contain terms that prohibit investigators from participating in malign foreign talent programs (MFTRPs).
  • The CHIPS and Science Act (the C&S Act) directs federal research sponsors to maintain policies that–
    • require covered individuals to disclose all participation in FTRPs, and
    • prohibit recipients of federal support from participating in any malign FTRPs.
  • The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and other agencies are rolling these policies out in 2023 and 2024. (A notable exception is the Department of Energy, which has tightly restricted talent program participation since 2019 with DoE Order 486.1A (updated 2020)).
  • The “DOD Policy on Countering Unwanted Foreign Influence” makes clear that after 9 Aug 2024, indications of participation in a Malign Foreign Talent Program by a covered individual would be a prohibiting factor for award. 
  • NSF's Draft PAPPG 24-1 (which will go into effect in 2024), includes a similar prohibition and annual certification that senior personnel on NSF awards are not participating in Malign Foreign Talent Programs.  

While not all talent recruitment programs meet the definition of malign, this might not be apparent upon a casual reading of the contract terms or appointment letter.

The White House Office for Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) defines a FTRP in the National Security Presidential Memorandum-33 implementation guidance as:

Foreign Talent Recruitment Program: an effort organized, managed, or funded by a foreign government, or a foreign government instrumentality or entity, to recruit science and technology professionals or students (regardless of citizenship or national origin, or whether having a part-time or full-time position).

Some activities that might constitute an FTRP include an agreement to assist with the establishment or management of a new laboratory abroad without violating U.S. law or policy, being invited to apply for a bona fide part-time appointment appropriately disclosed to University and federal officials, or a research arrangement that encourages publication in a specific foreign country’s academic journals.

The C&S Act provides a definition of MFTRP–essentially a talent program requiring one or more problematic actions and having problematic sponsorship.

  • Problematic Obligations/Activities:
    • Engaging in the unauthorized transfer of intellectual property, materials, data products, or other nonpublic information owned by a U.S. entity or developed with a Federal award
    • Participating in employment or an appointment in a foreign country or with an entity funded by a foreign country if such activities are in violation of the standard terms and conditions of a U.S. federal research and development award;
    • Being unable to terminate the foreign talent recruitment program contract or agreement except in extraordinary circumstances
    • Required to engage in work that would result in substantial overlap or duplication with a U.S. Federal research and development award
    • Required to apply for and successfully receive funding from the sponsoring foreign government’s funding agencies with the sponsoring foreign organization as the recipient
    • Being required to omit acknowledgement of the individual’s U.S. institution, or the U.S. funding agency
    • Being required to not disclose the individual’s participation in the talent program, position, or activities to the U.S. employing institution or U.S. Federal research agency
    • Having a conflict of interest or conflict of commitment contrary to the standard terms and conditions of U.S. Federal awards.
  • Problematic Sponsorship:
    • A foreign country of concern (FCOC), currently defined as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia; or
    • An entity based in a FCOC, whether or not the program is directly sponsored by the government of the FCOC; or
    • An academic institution or a FTRP identified by the U.S. Department of Defense (List of Institutions of the People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, and other Countries with Specified Characteristics, in DOD Policy on Countering Unwanted Foreign Influence)
The NSF's Research Security website also provides considerable information about the risks. 
I, and others in Research Administration, have resources that can help evaluate questions about sensitive technologies and collaborations with international institutions. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to assist with assessments of technologies for export control implications. I can also provide screening of foreign entities to reduce the possibility of collaborating with a person or entity associated with “red flags” or U.S. government prohibitions.

Thank you for your attention to this long message. I expect to hear more in 2024 about resources that will be available to researchers, such as training modules, to assist with new Research Security requirements. Please feel free to reach out to me any time for more information.






News from Infrastructure and Partnerships


By Dr. Tanner Schaub, Assistant Vice President for Research

Our office has been working to improve the mechanics of research partnerships with the local national laboratories. This activity includes recent discussions with the university liaison teams from Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the New Mexico Consortium, to identify and work towards formalizing new opportunities for collaboration. This process also involves a comprehensive understanding of existing one-on-one research interactions between NMSU faculty and the labs. Similarly, Dr. Robert Young of the Research Cores Program will represent NMSU Research at the upcoming NIST Professional Research and Experience Program (PREP) meeting in Boulder, Colorado next week. PREP offers laboratory experience and financial support to a diverse group of participants, from community college students to faculty members. Dr. Young's mission at the event is to explore how NMSU faculty researchers can collaborate with PREP and showcase NMSU's potential contributions. Faculty members interested in these discussions are encouraged to contact me at Your participation is essential in advancing our collaborative research initiatives and strengthening our partnerships.





News from Workforce and Strategic Engagement


By Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Director, Strategic Initiatives

The STEM+ Education Research Institute (SERI) has been actively sharing the new institute at NMSU with the broader community through a recent public kick-off for the Institute and presentations to various legislative interim committees.  Co-led by Dr. Michele Shuster, Dr. Wanda Bulger-Tamez, and Dr. Patricia Sullivan, SERI is a new institute at NMSU to advance fundamental and translational research in STEM education.  With presentations to the Education Study Committee and the Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committees, the triad leadership team was joined by introductions from the new STEM+ faculty cohort with representation from Dr. Mandy Peel and Dr. Mariana Alvidrez and STEM Outreach Center leaders, Sara Morales and Erika Acosta. Legislative leaders expressed strong support for the mission and vision of SERI and the potential to positively support advancements in STEM teaching and learning across the state.





News from the Arrowhead Center


By Ms. Dana Catron, Arrowhead Center

Join us for an exciting online event, SBIR 101: Funding Your Innovative Idea during Global Entrepreneurship Week! Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned innovator, this is the perfect opportunity to dive into the world of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Discover the ins and outs of securing non-dilutive funding for your groundbreaking ideas and learn from industry experts who have successfully navigated the SBIR process. Don't miss out on this chance to gain valuable insights, network with like-minded individuals, take advantage of one on one times with SBIR experts, and take your innovation journey to new heights. Register now and unlock the doors to endless possibilities!






Recognizing Large Award (October 2023)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

Congratulations to the U54-4 PACR team, led by Dr. Graciela A. Unguez, Regents Professor of Biology at NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Julian A. Simon, Associate Professor in the Translational Science and Therapeutics Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center for their successful renewal of the extensive interdisciplinary multi-institutional effort. The NMSU PACR team successfully garnered $5.9 million dollars to extend the prestigious NMSU and Fred Hutch Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research (PACR) program for five years. The Partnership was established in 2002 with the goal of diversifying the community of scientists conducting cancer, cancer health, and biomedical research. Since its inception, the Partnership has contributed to the career development of 73 faculty, enriched the training and educational experiences for 680 students, and supported 47 unique research projects resulting in more than 170 publications with nearly 60% co-authored by students. Alongside the extensive research milestones, the Partnership has provided in-person cancer health education to thousands of people in the states of New Mexico and Washington, with thousands more receiving education through its social media and eLearning platforms. 

Drs. Unguez and Simon are joined in this funding cycle by two new co-Program Directors (Drs. Merranda Marin (NMSU) and Jaimee Heffner (Fred Hutch). 

The PACR at NMSU consists of Drs. Graciela A. Unguez, Rachel Boren (Director of NMSU SOAR and  Planning and Evaluation Core Lead) , Mary Alice Scott (Associate professor, Research Education and Cancer and Health (REACH) Core Lead, Michèle Shuster (Associate Dean for Research in College of Arts and Sciences and Resources for AcademIc SuccEss (RAISE) Core Lead), Merranda Marin (Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Outreach Core Lead) and Ms. Helena (Lené) Löest (Program Operations Director). In the first three years of this funding cycle, the Partnership is also supporting research projects led by four NMSU faculty members in three colleges: Drs. Dejan Magoc and Tamara Stimatze from the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation; Dr. Soyoung Jeon from Department of Economics, Applied Statistics, and International Business in the College of Business; and Dr. Ivette Guzman from Plant and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agricultural Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. All projects are collaborative with Fred Hutch, and are co-led by Fred Hutch faculty. Drs. Lois Stanford (Academic Department Head in the Department of Anthropology), LaJoy Spears (Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education), Karen Plawecki (Extension Specialist in the Department of Extension Home Economics, Charlotte Gard (Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and International Business) are co-investigators on PACR projects.

Dr. Unguez’s research lies in the area of developmental neurobiology and to date individuals that have trained in scientific research by Dr. Unguez have included over 44 undergraduate students in her lab, of which 32 belong to underrepresented populations in STEM fields and 24 have been women. “This Partnership expands my interests in engaging with faculty and students from different disciplines across campus and surrounding community that I may impact professionally, personally, and academically,” she states.

For more information, please contact Dr. Unguez at

PHOTO: From left to right, front row Ms. Helena Loest, Drs. Lois Stanford, Graciela Unguez, Dejan Magoc, and Laura Rodriguez. From left to right second row: Drs. Tamara Stimatze, Merranda Marin, LaJoy Spears, Soyoung Jeon, and Karen Plawecki
On the right side, from top to bottom: Drs. Mary Alice Scott, Rachel Boren, Ivette Guzman, and Michèle Shuster





NMSU members of the Partnership
for the Advancement of
Cancer Research

Recognizing Large Proposal Submitters (October 2023)


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS 

Congratulations to Drs. Phillip Post and Timothy Wright for each submitting a large proposal in the month of October.




Dr. Phillip Post, associate dean for academics in the College of Health Education and Social Transformation (HEST) and professor of Kinesiology for led a $3.8 million proposal to the Department of Education’s Research and Development Infrastructure Program. The proposed project is for an expansion of approximately 20,000 square-foot addition (13,000 square feet) and renovation (7,000 square feet) to College of HEST’s O’Donnell Hall, aiming to bring about significant system change and improvement within the academic and research landscape at NMSU. The requested funds will enhance the College of HEST’s STEM and non-STEM research expenditures by addressing local and global challenges related to health, social, and education inequities. The funds will also be used to hire three new research faculty lines, purchase essential research equipment to make HEST lab spaces comparable to R1 colleges with like programs, and furnish collaborative spaces to make the new and renovated spaces in O’Donnell Hall state-of-the-art research areas.

For more information, please contact Dr. Post at  



Dr. Phillip Post, NMSU

Dr. Timothy Wright, professor of Biology, for submitted a $1.1 million collaborative proposal to the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems Core Programs. Collaborating investigators on this project are from the University of California, Los Angeles  (UCLA) and Rockefeller University (RU) in New York. The proposed research project aims to document the extent of variation in vocal learning among three species of birds, and understand the neurogenomic mechanisms that underly this variation. In addition to conducting research, the proposed project will support creation of a course-based undergraduate research experience following one previously developed and led by Dr. Wright. The new program will train multiple cohorts of 24 undergraduate students at the three institutions. Similarly, the proposed project will create a cross-institutional research training program in neuroscience led by Dr. Wright and his co-investigators at UCLA and RU. This program aims to recruit 15 underrepresented minority students as well as other students representing diverse communities at the three institutions.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Timothy Wright at  


Dr. Timothy Wright, NMSU

2024-2025 Mountain-West CTR-IN Funding Opportunities: Limited Submission


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

The Mountain-West CTR-IN program has released its 2024-2025 announcements for three types of funding: Pilot Project Grants (PPG), Multi-Site Pilot Project Grants (MSPP), and Community Engaged Research Pilot Grants (CERP). NMSU is one of the six universities that comprise the Mountain West CTR-IN. The goal of these pilot grants is to enhance clinical and translational research capacity and increase extramural funding success among eligible applicants at member universities. Applying for these grants requires institutional nomination (by the Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Economic Development) by early December 2023. Invited proposals are due in March 2024.

Because these are limited submission funding opportunities, eligible applicants must send email to as soon as possible, subject line: CTR-IN limited submission, mentioning the category they are interested in (PPG, MSPP, or CERP). We may nominate 10 applicants for PPG, one applicant for MSPP, and 10 applicants for CERP proposals. Eligibility criteria includes having faculty appointment with at least 0.5 FTE and ability to commit at least 20% effort (2.4 person months) to the pilot project. For more information about the application process please contact me at






Enhancing HSI Grant Writing: NMSU's Takeaways from the Windy City and HACU 2023


By Drs. Paulette Vincent-Ruz (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Cecilia Contreras Aguirre (Research Cores Program)

We are thrilled to share some exciting news from the recent 2023 Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Conference, which was held October 28-20 in Chicago! Dr. Paulette Vincent-Ruz, representing the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Cecilia Contreras from the Research Cores Program, had the distinct honor of representing New Mexico State University at this prestigious event.

We were invited to participate in the Grant Writings Symposium for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) Research Capacity Building, which held a crucial mission: to empower institutions like ours to enhance our grant writing productivity. It was all about ensuring that the proposals we crafted were aligned with the success and service-oriented goals of HSIs.

We are excited to refine our grant writing skills and include some strategies we learned in our grant proposals. A critical take-away: we want to make sure we address the servingness that students deserve at an HSI like NMSU. Our insights from this experience will benefit our institution and its mission – and we welcome interested faculty to reach out and speak with us about the broader implications of this national narrative. We thank the Office of the Vice President for Research, Creativity, and Economic Development and the Department of Chemistry for assisting with travel costs.




Drs. Cecilia Contreras (left)
and Paulette Vincent-Ruz, NMSU

Leaning into Lean


By Ms. Cortney Castle-Chavez, Research Operations Support Officer, RCED

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2023 Lean in Higher Education International Conference in San Diego, CA, along with my NMSU colleagues from the Center for Learning and Professional Development and the college of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. This conference brought together experts in Lean methodologies and experienced practitioners from a very diverse higher education sector, to include many from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Participants had the fortune to learn from the best in the field, specific to higher ed, and gain insights into how Lean principles can be tailored and scaled to the challenges of academic institutions.

While the practice of Lean may be new to New Mexico State University, it is far from new in purpose and application. As many may be familiar, Lean was initially developed by Toyota in the 1950’s but has more recently found a home in various other areas, including colleges and universities. As we noticed at the conference, some institutions have entire units dedicated solely to administrative continuous improvement/business process improvement. NMSU, currently, may not have the capacity to incorporate such an office for systemwide service, but those in individual units can still bring Lean into their work.

As I reflect on my time at the conference, one comment sticks firmly in my mind. As the presenter Tracy O’Rourke stated, “Many employees hear the term Lean and immediately think that the employer is going to let people go. That is not Lean, Lean is the practice of showing how much the employee is valued by eliminating wasteful processes and allowing more time for novelty and innovation.” There are many of us that operate with the bare minimum in staffing, and incorporating Lean is a long-term, sustainable way of alleviating inefficient practices. I think I can speak for those of us that attended, we are excited to bring these methods back to NMSU and begin the work of applying them in our areas. Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to share them with anyone who is interested. In the meantime, check out these links and resources to get the Lean juices flowing:

-NMSU Organizational Development
-A Guide to Evidencing the Benefits of Change in Higher Education, 2017, Heather Lawrence and Nicola Cairns
-Network for Change and Continuous Innovation
-TKMG Webinars
-The Lean Enterprise Institute






Far right: Ms. Cortney
Castle-Chavez, NMSU

Proposal Writing Workshop


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services will offer an online proposal writing workshop (via Zoom) geared towards National Science Foundation (NSF) from 10am to 11:00am on Thursday November 23. The workshop will provide an overview of the proposal cycle at NMSU, general NSF proposal preparation requirements, and major upcoming NSF funding opportunities. Those interested in participating in this workshop should send an email to me at





Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

Research Administration Services maintains a list of limited submission funding opportunities for NMSU research community.  The list is accessible through a link on the Research website, through the Research Administration tab. NMSU users can also access the list directly on SharePoint.  We encourage NMSU researchers to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to 


Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


By Dr. Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the RCSI has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot available at  

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

Click on the Sign up link.DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT!
Choose New Mexico State University from the Institution drop down menu.
You will be prompted to log in using your NMSU username and password.
Follow the process for NMSU's 2-Factor Authentication (2FA).

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to





Graduate School

No news this month. 

Questions and comments regarding NMSU’s Research Digest should be directed to Hamid Mansouri Rad, Ph.D. at, (575) 646-6429.