Campus News - April 23, 2001
Lopez seeks flexibility in research
By Michael Padilla
Lopez likes diversity and it shows in his research.
Lopez, associate professor in chemical and nuclear engineering, is on sabbatical
from UNM, but is completing five grants and working on a number of projects
for the University.
When I started college I wanted to be flexible and be able to work across
disciplines, he said. I wanted to be able to do biology, work on
silicon chips and do math as well.
His dream became a reality and it helps him with the research he is conducting
Most of his projects are collaborative. He said he enjoys multidisciplinary
work and he said collaboration is important to achieve a common goal.
One of his projects is to help simplify medical tests. Lopez and researchers
from UNMs Medical School are developing fluorescent micro systems. The
idea is to inject small fluid samples from a patient into a chip to conduct
various analyses. Instead of sucking fluid out of patients for every test,
the idea would be to only have to get the fluid once, he said. Another
focus of the project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is to develop
new tools for drug companies.
In addition, Lopez and a team of researchers are creating a chemical sensor
that can detect chemical and biological species at the same time. The sensor
could be useful in medicine for doing blood and urine monitoring. The project
is funded by the Office of Naval Research.
Its exciting to be part of multi-displinary research, he
said, adding that he is working on establishing collaborations with Los Alamos
Lopez serves as a member of the chemical and nuclear engineering graduate recruiting
committee. His focus is to recruit native New Mexicans who attend out-of-state
schools back to UNM.
Its important to reach out to students and make some sort of connection,
he said. We need to create a better environment for them and offer them
as much support as possible.
Committed to creating a support system for students, he serves as advisor of
the Bio-Medical Engineering Society.
He received his bachelors degree in chemical engineering from the University
of Colorado and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. For two years he
worked on his post doctoral studies at Harvard University. But his heart was
set on returning to New Mexico. After his post-doc at Harvard, Lopez began working
at UNM in 1993.
Although he studied in several states and travels extensively recruiting students
across the country he always manages to go back home to his hometown of Peñasco
in northern New Mexico.
He said he enjoys the outdoors and living in a small community. He and his
wife Kaori have one daughter Ciana, 8, and a son, Jose, 4.
Even though Lopez lives in the high tech world professionally, at home he enjoys the quiet simplicity northern New Mexico offers.
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