Dr. Sam Loker Promoted to Distinguished Professor
Dr. Eric (Sam) Loker, Regents’ Professor and former Chair of the Department of Biology, recently was promoted to Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, UNM’s highest faculty rank. Dr. Loker received a Ph.D. in zoology (immunobiology) from Iowa State University and has been a member of the Biology Department since l985.
Dr. Loker is internationally recognized for his work in parasitology, including work he and his lab have done in the areas of evolutionary/comparative immunology and schistosomiasis. He is not only an outstanding laboratory investigator, he also spends time in the field, particularly in Kenya and other parts of East Africa. His work focusing on the role of snails and reservoir hosts in transmission of human schistosomaisis is considered landmark by his colleagues. To quote one of Dr. Loker’s colleagues, “When it comes to parasitology, there are few scientists with Sam’s breadth of knowledge. He is an ecologist, an immunologist, and a molecular biologist.”
Dr. Loker is also the Founder and Director for the Center of Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI). This is funded by an NIH COBRE grant (Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence). CETI’s goal is to promote research and new investigator development in the areas of immunological theory and the study of the evolution of immune systems. CETI has provided support for several new faculty lines, and significantly updated molecular biology research infrastructure on UNM’s main campus.
Dr. Loker is an extremely productive researcher with 140 papers published to date and a very successful funding record. Since 2003, Dr. Loker’s grant awards, as PI, have totaled more than $25,000,000.
In addition to his research endeavors, Dr. Loker is a valued and highly respected teacher and mentor. He has taught at all levels of the undergraduate program from introductory biology courses to developing graduate level courses in infectious disease. He maintains an active graduate and postdoctoral training program and plays an important role in mentoring junior faculty.