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Department of Biology
167 Castetter Hall
Telephone: (505) 277-3411

UNM Biology, Castetter Hall 1480
MSC03-2020, 219 Yale Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

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Adjunct Faculty

The Biology Department is fortunate to have many scientists associated with it who serve in diverse capacities to enhance the department's educational and research missions. In many cases, research, adjunct or visiting faculty members can serve as undergraduate advisors, professors-of-record for graduate or undergraduate independent study, graduate committee members and, at the discretion of a core faculty member, as co-chairs of graduate student committees.


  • Nancy GrimmPh.D. (Zoology), Arizona State University, 1985. Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology; Senior Sustainability Scientist, School of Life Sciences; Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University. Co-Director, Urban Resilience SRN | Executive Committee, CAP LTER. nbgrimm@asu.edu
  • Karl M. JohnsonM.D., University of Rochester, 1956. Zoonotic viral epidemiology and ecology, hantaviruses and arenaviruses.  kjohnson@sevilleta.unm.edu
  • Alan PerelsonPh.D. (Biophysics), University of California at Berkeley, 1972. Member of UNM Dept. of Biology's CETI Program. Member of the Science Board and head of the Theoretical Immunology Program at the Santa Fe Institute. Mathematical and theoretical biology, with an emphasis on problems in immunology, virology, and cell and molecular biology. asp@lanl.gov
  • David L. PropstPh.D. (Biology), Colorado State University, 1982. Curatorial Associate, Division of Fishes, Museum of Southwest Biology. Aquatic ecology, biodiversity conservation, long-term monitoring, invasive species, river regulation. dpropst@unm.edu
  • Stephen T. RossPh.D., University of South Florida, 1974. Curator Emeritus, Division of Fishes, Museum of Southwestern Biology. Ecological and evolutionary relationships of fishes. stross1@unm.edu
  • Richard T. SayrePh.D. (Biology), University of Iowa, 1978. Senior Research Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, & Director, Biolabs, New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, NM. Scientific Director, Center for Advanced Biofuel Systems and National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts. Former Director of BioCassava Plus. rsayre@newmexicoconsortium.org
  • Ursula ShepherdPh.D., UNM, 1994 in community ecology and biogeography. Associate Dean of UNM Honors College. Research areas include biodiversity associated with coral reef invertebrates and their associated algal symbionts as well as with cryptobiotic crusts. ursula@unm.edu

Associate Professors

  • David J. HafnerPh.D. (Biology), University of New Mexico 1981. Chair, Bioscience Department, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science . Phylogeography of mammals; evolution of North American deserts; conservation issues in southwestern North America. dhafner@nmmnh.state.nm.us
  • William S. HlavacekPh.D. (Chemical Engineering), University of Michigan, 1996. Member of UNM Department of Biology’s CETI (Center for Evolutionary & Theoretical Immunology) Program. Research interests: models of signal-transduction systems, biophysics of ligand-receptor interactions, design principles of biological regulatory systems, modeling and reconstruction of genetic regulatory and metabolic networks in bacteria, and computational methods and software/database tools relevant for modeling biological systems (BioNetGen).  wish@lanl.gov
  • Mimi E. LamPh.D. (Theoretical Chemistry and Physics), Dalhousie University, 1995. Current research explores the epistemological convergence of evolutionary human cognition and traditional ecological knowledge with quantum and statistical mechanics. Educational philosophies incorporate culturally responsive, holistic, experiential curricula within a meta-institutional ecosystem-themed research and educational paradigm. mlam@unm.edu
  • Jeffrey C. NekolaPh.D. (Ecology), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1994. Community and theoretical ecology; macroecology; biogeography; conservation biology; plant, lepidopteran, and land snail ecology; land snail taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics. jnekola@unm.edu
  • Robert R. ParmenterPh.D. (Biology/Ecology), Utah State University, 1982. Associate Professor of Research; Executive Director, Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research Program; Director, Sevilleta Field Research Station. Research interests include biological responses to ecosystem disturbances, patterns and controls of biodiversity, predator-prey interactions, and processes of ecosystem nutrient cycling. Current research projects concern the fire ecology of desert grasslands, long-term vegetation changes resulting from patterns of human land use, and ecological factors influencing human disease epidemiology.  parmentr@sevilleta.unm.edu
  • Andreas WagnerPh.D. (Biology), Yale University, 1995. Evolution of gene networks; evolution of developmental pathways; redundant gene functions and their evolution; architecture of biochemical networks; gene network reconstruction; evolution of modularity and robustness in metabolic networks, developmental pathways, and RNA; whole genome analysis of transcriptional regulatory regions. wagnera@unm.edu
  • Paul J. WatsonPhD (Biology), Cornell University, 1988. Behavioral ecology and sexual selection; courtship energetics; tradeoffs between sexual competitiveness and rate of aging; impacts of mate choice on the metabolic, developmental and immunological competence of offspring, and rates of aging. Human evolutionary psychology and implications for psychotherapeutic methods. The evolution of unipolar depresssion. Evolutionary perspectives on religion and spiritual practice. Summer field courses in animal behavior and plant-animal interactions.  pwatson@unm.edu

Assistant Professors

  • Evan W. CarsonPh.D. (Biology), Arizona State University–Tempe, 2005. Population genetics, hybridization, and phylogeography of fishes. carson1@unm.edu
  • Jean-Luc E. CartronPh.D. The University of New Mexico, 1995. Research interests: raptor ecology and conservation, conservation issues in northern Mexico, macroecology, life history theory.  jlec@unm.edu
  • Pauline M. CupitPh.D. (Molecular Immunology), University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, 1996. Molecular biology, immunology and proteomics. Activity-based protein profiling to identify the binding partner of the anti-schistosomal drug, praziquantel. Genetic variation in the Schistosoma mansoni tetraspanin-2 gene. cupitcu@unm.edu
  • Jerry W. DragooPh.D. (Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences), Texas A&M, 1996. Director of Technical Operations, Veterinary Diagnostic Services, N.M. Department of Agriculture, Albuquerque, 505-383-9299. jdragoo@unm.edu
  • Lee Fitzgerald—Conservation biology; Herpetology; Ecology. Assistant Professor, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station TX 77843-2258. Phone: 409-845-5777. lfitzgerald@tamu.edu
  • Michael Russell GolinskiPh.D. (Theoretical Biology), New Mexico State University, 2006. I am a theoretical ecologist and applied mathematician interested in population and community dynamics. My research areas encompass: (1) Developing statistical and mathematical models for estimating organismal occupancy, abundance, and density. ( 2) The temporal and spatio-temporal dynamics of nonlinear ecological systems for multitrophic interactions (predator–prey, host–parasite, and mutualist–host), particularly statistical and mathematical approaches to scale-up systems from small, individual, levels to population levels. (3) The response of nonlinear ecological systems to environmental variability and the application of nonlinear time series analysis to identify key environmental drivers and the response of individuals, populations and communities to these drivers. In particular, the nonlinear dynamics of diapausing insect populations and arthropod-borne viruses to climate change, including aspects of evolutionary change in population and community structure. I am interested also in the nonlinear dynamics of infectious diseases in response to environmental variability. The main disease I have studied is influenza (H5N1 avian influenza), but work is also underway on the Dengue virus and HIV. (4) The relationship between structure and dynamics in large networks of ecological interactions (consumer-resource, mutualistic, and parasitic links). mgolinski@unm.edu
  • Robert Harrison—Conservation biology, ecology of carnivores, design of residential development, and effects of development on wildlife.  rharison@unm.edu
  • Patricia Mehlhop—Conservation biology; animal ecology; monitoring populations for change; avian and invertebrate community structure. pmehlhop@unm.edu
  • Nancy NicolaiPh.D. (Rangeland Ecology), Texas A&M University, 2005. My interests: desert and grassland ecology; wildlife conservation; fire; herbivory; landscape ecology. My research focuses on the mechanisms and dynamics of animal-plant interactions in arid environments. At Sevilleta National Wildife Refuge, I am conducting two field experiments: (1) to understand if kangaroo rat or harvester ant nests facilitate grassland recovery following fire, and (2) to explore how praire dog reintroduction alters rodent demography. nnicolai@unm.edu
  • Andrea Porras-AlfaroPh.D. (Biology), The University of New Mexico, 2008. Assistant Professor, Western Illinois University. Fungal Molecular Ecology Lab: soil fungal communities and plant–fungal systems (endophytes, mycorrhizae, pathogens): diversity, function and response to global change. a-porras-alfaro@wiu.edu
  • Deborah Ulinski PotterPh.D. (Biology), The University of New Mexico, 1996.  Physical Scientist/Ecology and Air Resources, USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Watershed and Air Management, 333 Broadway Blvd. SE, Albuquerque, NM. Phone: 842-3143. Ecosystem ecology, limnology, landscape ecology, global change, natural resource management. ulinski@unm.edu
  • Thiruvarangan RamarajPh.D. (Computer Science), Montana State University–Bozeman, 2010). Bioinformatics Research Scientist & Team Lead, National Cencer for Genome Research, Santa Fe, NM. Computational biology, bioinformatics, next generation sequencing technologies, and big data analytics. tramaraj@unm.edu
  • Ernest W. ValdezPh.D. (Biology), The University of New Mexico, 2006. Wildlife biologist, U.S.G.S. Arid Lands Field Station. Natural history, taxonomy, functional morphology, food habits, ectoparasites, and ecology of small mammals, with an emphasis on bats. ernie@usgs.gov
  • Wade WilsonPh.D. (Biology), The University of New Mexico, 2008. Immune genes of the Rio Grand cutthroat trout. Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, UNM. wwilson@unm.edu


  • Timothy Keitt—Visiting Assistant Professor. Ph.D. (Biology), The University of New Mexico, 1995. Former Fellow of the Santa Fe Institute. Landscape and theoretical ecology. keitt@nceas.ucsb.edu
  • Diana E. Northup—Visiting Associate Professor, Ph.D. (Biology), The University of New Mexico, 2002. Research interests include: investigating (1) how microbes help form the colorful ferromanganese deposits that coat the walls of Lechuguilla and Spider Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park; (2) how microbes participate in the precipitation of calcium carbonate formations called pool fingers; (3) the microbial diversity located in the hydrogen sulfide cave, Cueva de las Sardinas in Tabasco, Mexico, (4) the microbial basis of White Nose Syndrome in bats and its potential impact on New Mexico cave roosting bats, and (5) antibiotic production by cave bacteria. dnorthup@unm.edu