Current Projects


CAIL On-Campus Research Collaborations:

NSF MRI: Acquisition of a High Resolution/Accurate Mass Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer for Multi-Disciplinary Research in the State of New Mexico:

Through this grant, CAIL installed $1.1 M in new analytical equipment, comprised of a high-resolution Orbitrap Fusion mass spectrometer and a nano-flow liquid chromatography system. This instrumentation is the state-for-the art for chemical characterization of extremely complex mixtures and our project includes applications that range from alternative fuel research to disease research, alternative water source uses and fundamental biology. A truly interdisciplinary effort, the project draws support from three colleges. Participating faculty include Tanner Schaub (PI, ACES / CAIL), Emily Indriolo (Co-PI, A&S / Biology), Jeff Arterburn (Co-PI, A&S / Chemistry), Omar Holguin (Co-PI, ACES / PES) and Nirmala Khandan (Co-PI, Eng. / Civil Eng.).


Samantha Carlisle, Eric Yukl (NMSU Chemistry) / Patrick Trainor (NMSU Business)/Kelly Chacón (Reed College, Chemistry) / CAIL Collaboration: H-NOX Homologues in Biofilm Formation: A Combined Molecular and Systems Level Approach:

This project is a collaborative effort by a team of investigators. The objective is to unravel mechanisms of bacterial signaling using advanced structural and proteomics methods. The team has complementary expertise in structural biology, x-ray spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and bioinformatics. This synergy is leveraged to gain mechanistic insight on signal transduction mechanisms among a large family of bacterial signaling proteins. Cross-disciplinary student training and mentorship is a principal component of our proposed activity.

Manuscript: Heme Independent Redox Sensing


Patrick Trainor (NMSU Arts and Sciences) / Omar Holguin (NMSU Plant and Env. Sciences) / Andrew DeFilippis (Vanderbilt Translational and Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center) / CAIL Collaboration: Integrated proteomic and metabolomic analysis of thrombotic myocardial infarction

Not all heart attacks are the same, and the development of better treatment approaches requires understanding the distinction between those that result from blood clots after a plaque rupture and those that do not. Research funded by NIH is now underway at New Mexico State University that seeks to advance the understanding of what causes heart attacks and to differentiate between heart attack types at a molecular level. The project is part of a long-term collaboration between Dr. Trainor and Dr. Andrew DeFilippis, a cardiologist and clinician-scientist at Vanderbilt University.


Geno Picchoni, Ivette Guzman (NMSU Plant and Env. Sciences) / CAIL Collaboration:

Halophyte plants are naturally adapted to withstand saline water sources in and may even possess a value of their own that could be enhanced by salinity. The goal of this BoR-funded project is to identify the potential of brackish water irrigation to increase the production of beneficial human health-promoting secondary metabolites by native halophytes.


CAIL Collaborations with Off-Campus Partners:

UTEP Center for Inland Desalination Systems / Pei Xu (NMSU Civil Engineering) / CAIL: All of the Above and the Kitchen Sink: High-recovery Zero Liquid Discharge Desalination for Direct Potable Reuse

This collaborative research is funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and leverages expertise of UTEP and NMSU researchers with Garver engineers to evaluate a process that will be able to produce water quality suitable for drinking. The ZLD process will utilize ultrafiltration to pretreat up to 15-gpm of tertiary-treated effluent from the El Paso Water Hickerson wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The UF product will be fed to a brackish water RO/NF system, and the RO/NF concentrate will be treated by a CERRO system to capture more water and reduce the amount of brine sent to SWEEC ZLD unit. UTEP will provide the UF, RO/NF, CERRO, and UVAOP equipment, and the SWEEC unit will be constructed as part of this proposed project.


Pacific Northwest Natl. Labs / CAIL Collaboration:

Hydrothermal Liquefaction for Renewable Fuel Production. PNNL leads research efforts for DOE to improve the direct liquefaction of biomass by hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), including examining the use of catalysts in the HTL process for improved biocrude production. The Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Laboratory at New Mexico State University specializes in the application of high resolution FT-ICR mass spectrometry in the characterization of complex mixtures and has recently shown the unique fit of this technique for the qualitative description of HTL biocrude produced from wood and other feedstock. This collaboration pairs well-defined PNNL capabilities in hydrothermal processing with compositional analysis supplied by CAIL to provide input for feedstock properties and the quality of produced biocrude and upgraded products.

Manuscript: Hydrothermal Liquefaction Biocrude Compositions Compared to Petroleum Crude and Shale Oil

Manuscript: Hydrothermal liquefaction oil and hydrotreated product from pine feedstock

Manuscript: High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Reveals Problem Compounds for Upgrading Algal Bio-oils