It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Department of Biology at The University of New Mexico. Currently, there are 47 full-time faculty, more than 135 staff, more than 100 doctoral and master’s students, and more than 1,200 undergraduate majors. Indeed, the Biology Department is the largest single academic department within UNM and within the State of New Mexico by almost every measure.
UNM is New Mexico’s flagship university with responsibilities in education, research and public service. I am proud to say the Biology faculty and staff excel in all three of these areas.
We are very proud of our scholarly achievements. The Biology faculty, staff and students typically are awarded annually more than $13 million in federal, state, and private research funding. This supports a large research and training enterprise that is a significant contributor to the economy and workforce of our state. Last year alone, Biology faculty and students published 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals. The research being performed within the Biology Department spans the breadth of biological sciences, from DNA to global ecosystems.
UNM Biologists have a significant presence within our state. Examples of research include conservation of freshwater fish in New Mexico’s rivers and streams, the long-term ecological research on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, vegetation modeling of the southwest, and the natural history of local mammals.
UNM Biologists also have a large global footprint with research projects on every continent. Examples include research on soil microbial populations in Antarctica, mammals in Mongolia, high-altitude physiology of birds in the Andes of South America, control of parasitic infections in East Africa, and the immune systems of Australian mammals.
Housed within the Biology Department are several national and internationally recognized research programs. We are home to the Museum of Southwestern Biology that houses research collections of plants, vertebrate and invertebrate animals. We are affiliated with three National Science Foundation supported Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs. We are home to both the Sevilleta LTER and the LTER Network Office (LNO). The former manages a long-term research program at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. The LNO oversees the coordination of the research at 27 LTER sites around North America, Tahiti, and Antarctica. We also are affiliated directly with the McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER that coordinates research on the ecology of the dry valleys of Antarctica. UNM Biology is part of a multi-institutional program to catalog and annotate the genome of the fruitfly, one of biological sciences workhorses (Flybase). Additionally, we are the home department for the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI), a center funded through the National Institutes of Health Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence program. CETI involves and encourages collaboration between investigators in the UNM Departments of Biology and Computer Science and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
None of these research programs would be as successful if not for the involvement of UNM students. Each year, more than 200 undergraduate scholars working directly with faculty and graduate students, and staff are engaged in state-of-the-art research projects. Biology is home to several National Institutes of Health funded student-training programs, including the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC), Post-baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP), and Program in Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Sciences (PiBBs)
I have only touched on a few of the exciting areas of research and training in Biology. I encourage you to explore our website to learn more.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions. We look forward to hearing from you!
William T. Pockman, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Biology, UNM