Skip to main content


Institutional Impact of the NSMS IGERT


A highlight of the NSMS IGERT has been the broad and long range influence of IGERT programmatic policies on students, faculty and programs at UNM. A case in point has been the mandatory research rotations adopted as part of the NSMS program. These initially had a goal of broadening the training experiences of our IGERT fellows. The Fellows would experience hands-on research activities in research laboratories across disciplines, and they would be able to see how research is conducted in multi-disiplinary fields. The rotations have allowed our fellows to become well-versed across fields and trained on a wide variety of state-of-the art characterization instruments and in experimental methodologies in very specialized fields. An unanticipated highlight of these rotations is the profound effects they have had on researchers, faculty and education at UNM. IGERT fellows has used the rotations to make connections between laboratories from quite different departments, e.g. in pathology and engineering.

Carlee Ashley’s rotation in the Department of Pathology is an example of this kind of broad-ranging success. Her rotation led to her formulating a dissertation topic that spanned pathology, biology and engineering. The outstanding success of this research has also enabled researchers at UNM to garner further funding – both for federally funded research, and for NIH training grants. The multidisciplinary nature of Carlee’s research was an essential component of these successfully funded grants, one of which is a graduate training grant, which has the potential to impact a large number of UNM faculty and new graduate students.

Address Goals

The laboratory rotations help to forge new relationships between laboratories across campus. The rotations have allowed students to use their creativity to establish new multidisciplinary projects that combine work from different laboratories. This has allowed them to engage in transformative research across traditional disciplines that would not have been possible with students working within the traditional disciplines alone. The laboratory rotations have resulted in new collaborative projects across campus that are at the frontiers of science and engineering since they combine expertise in synergistic and novel ways. The new research that the laboratory rotations have spawned has allowed faculty at UNM to be very successful in obtaining other training grants. These training grants have allowed UNM to attract and educate STEM graduate students from a broadly-based pool of candidates.