UNM's 2017 top-10 research news stories

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The University of New Mexico's Office of the Vice President for Research and the University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) Department annually compile a list of its top-10 research news stories during the course of the year. Below is the list of UNM's top-10 research news stories for 2017. The stories are in random order.

Engineered intrinsically disordered proteins provide biomedical insights

Biomedical researchers have engineered the first examples of biomimetic structures composed from a mysterious class of proteins that lack any sort of internal structure.

A desert university’s deep connection to the jungle

Nearly two decades ago, researchers at The University of New Mexico took interest in a project that took them to the lush jungles of southwestern Uganda. Not far from the borders of the Congo, these desert-dwelling Anthropologists established relationships with the local residents of the tree tops—forming a bond that has catapulted UNM to international status as a leader in in the comparison of human and primate physiology.

Shedding light on mental illness brain patterns

Vince Calhoun’s warm smile deeply contrasts with cold plastic of the machine at the center of his distinguished career. During the last quarter century, his research has focused on creating algorithms used in the fMRI scanner to map electrical currents via blood moving through the human brain.

Groundbreaking discovery confirms existence of orbiting supermassive black holes

For the first time ever, astronomers at The University of New Mexico say they’ve been able to observe and measure the orbital motion between two supermassive black holes hundreds of millions of light years from Earth – a discovery more than a decade in the making.

UNM scientist pursues ultrafast laser technology to increase network speeds tenfold

A project to develop new ultrafast laser transmitter technology at UNM is expected to have a revolutionary impact on the physics of semiconductor lasers, with potential applications that could result in ten times the speed of current fiber optic networks.

Fighting fires before they spark: UNM research could impact forest management around the world

With warm, dry summers comes a deadly caveat for the western United States: wildfires. Scientists say the hot, dry climates found west of the Mississippi, along with decades of fire suppression efforts, are creating a devastating and destructive combination – leading to fires like the ones currently burning in California. It’s a problem biologists at The University of New Mexico are looking to put a damper on. Now, new research from UNM is giving forest and fire management teams across the country the upper hand in reducing the severity of these events.

Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use cannabis and significant reductions in opioid use.

UNM researcher finds stress during pregnancy affects the size of the baby

A new study has been published that suggests babies are physically affected by the stress level of their mother during pregnancy. It has been previously found that adversity in the womb enhances or hampers offspring development and performance. With this new study, researchers are able to pinpoint growth issues in relation to that adversity. 

Gut Instinct: New discovery sheds light on brain disease

A UNM doctor’s expertise with a devastating inherited neurological condition that disproportionately affects New Mexico Hispanics contributed to a new study demonstrating the powerful effect intestinal bacteria can have on brain health.

UNM researchers design patient repository for more effective EEG diagnoses

Researchers at The University of New Mexico hope a new open-source data sharing website will help bring scientists closer to effective diagnoses for psychiatric and neurological disorders. The Patient Repository for EEG Data + Computational Tools (PRED+CT: www.predictsite.com) aims to use novel analyses of electroencephalographic (EEG) signals, or “brainwaves” in order to discover new patient biomarkers.

UNM alumnus returns with new education study

A new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is allowing researchers at The University of New Mexico to study native Spanish speaking elementary students struggling with math problem solving in New Mexico and California.

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