Faculty Successes Fall 2019

Reza Foudazi

Foudazi to develop new technologies for advanced water treatment

Reza Foudazi, NMSU chemical and materials engineering assistant professor, is working on a project involving new methods for advanced water treatment. 

He has received a three-year, nearly $315,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project, “Stimuli-responsive membranes from mesophase templating.” Through the development of new membrane technologies, Foudazi’s project will evaluate how to provide access to low-cost, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable methods for water treatment processes. Many types of membranes are routinely used in water treatment including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis.   

“The overall goal of this project is to develop ultrafiltration membranes through cost-effective green chemistry, while simultaneously increasing their permeability, to reduce the cost and energy of water treatment,” Foudazi says. “The key feature in this project is to have the membrane stimuli responsive. We design the membranes in a way that their pore size can be changed by the temperature or the pH of the water.”

Tiffany Acosta

Kevin Houston


Professor awarded $1.48 million grant to study Tamoxifen resistance

NMSU professor Kevin Houston ’98 discovered a key to what causes resistance to Tamoxifen, a drug used for more than 40 years to treat metastatic breast cancers. Houston’s discovery led the National Institutes of Health to award him a $1.48 million, four-year grant to take his research to the next level. 

The chemistry and biochemistry professor’s goal is to help breast cancer patients by better understanding Tamoxifen or anti-estrogen treatment resistance. He and his team seek to identify resistance in its early stages so doctors can change treatments and provide better patient care. 

The NIH funds allow Houston to hire a postdoctoral student and two graduate students, but Houston also invites four to five undergraduates to participate in his research. 

“My undergrads, they run projects,” Houston says. “They’re growing cells. They’re treating cells. They’re presenting data. Here we have a true balance between research and teaching.”

Minerva Baumann ’13

The STEM Outreach Center

STEM Outreach Center receives $2.2 million to continue programs

The STEM Outreach Center, housed in the NMSU College of Education, has received $2.2 million to continue its out-of-school time programs to benefit students in grades K-8 for the 2019-2020 school year.

The funding is provided by the New Mexico Public Education Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and helps the STEM Outreach Center implement programs at 25 schools in the Gadsden Independent School District, Hatch Valley Public Schools and Las Cruces Public Schools.

Among the benefits of out-of-school time programs are increasing student participation and achievement in STEM fields; engaging students, parents and teachers by incorporating emerging technologies; and socialization opportunities for students across demographic barriers. Out-of-school time programs also provide safe, secure locations for students, along with encouragement of academic success.

In late 2019, the STEM Outreach Center will request additional funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program for the next four years.

Adriana M. Chávez ’19