2014-2020 PREM: New Mexico Highlands


Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM)

with New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU)


The NSF PREM Program provides a rare and welcome opportunity for minority-serving institutions of higher learning to take a leadership role in the context of large center-related research and education. Multi-institutional and multidisciplinary efforts achieve a higher level of understanding of materials design in areas of electronic, optical and magnetic properties. Faculty in physics, engineering, chemistry and geology with broad expertise assist students- especially from underrepresented groups- in state-of-the-art materials research.  NMHU has a century-long history as pioneer in the education of important minority groups, creating very favorable conditions for programs like PREM, devoted to bringing minority students into science.


The main goals of this partnership include understanding the principles of materials design, materials synthesis, and materials applications in areas of electronic, optical, and magnetic properties. A new approach to materials design and crystal engineering will allow for the combination of two or more components in one crystalline material, which brings significant alteration of electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of multi-component material. Construction of porous materials- metalorganic frameworks, which can be doped with magnetic particles- will allow for creation of drug delivery systems, magnetic-based cooling systems, new sensors, and other applications. The research includes three thrusts:

  • Thrust 1: Crystal Engineering of Materials for Electronic, Photonic, and Magnetic Applications
  • Thrust 2: Metal-Organic Frameworks/Aerogels with Engineered Structure and Properties
  • Thrust 3: Nanoparticle-Modified Graphene Metamaterials

Broader Impacts

The NMHU-OSU Partnership impacts students from high school, undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate and faculty at all partner institutions. In New Mexico’s  best interest, NMHU is training future scientists to qualify for home-grown jobs that  require expertise in various fields of technology.

  • NMHU uses dual credit and Achieving in Research, Mathematics and Science (ARMAS) Center to engage students at  Robertson and West Las Vegas High Schools.
  • In collaboration with OSU, NMHU is designing two new materials science courses devoted to in-depth understanding of materials structure and magnetic properties of materials.
  • CEM faculty visit NMHU annually to deliver guest lectures and special community seminars.
  • NMHU Undergraduates participate in the CEM Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).
  • One semester of study at OSU is planned for NMHU master’s student(s) to promote their future admission into PhD programs at OSU or other research universities.
  • The existing PREM and OSU partnership with Los Alamos and Argonne National Laboratory will allow for NMHU student summer internships.


Prof. Tatiana Timofeeva, Professor of Chemistry and (PREM Director)
Prof. Jiao Chen, Asst. Professor of  Chemistry
Prof. Gil Gallegos, Assoc. Professor of Computer Science/Engineering
Prof. Jennifer Lindline, Professor of Geology
Prof. Edward Martinez, Assoc. Professor of Natural Resources Management
Prof. Michael Petronis, Assoc. Professor of Environmental Geology
Prof. Qiang Wei, Research Professor

Prof. Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, Assoc. Professor of Physics
Prof. P. Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Professor of Physics (Director)
Prof. Andrew Heckler, Assoc. Professor of Physics (Education and Outreach)
Prof. Roland Kawakami, Professor of Physics (IRG-2 Co-Leader)
Prof. Rolando Valdes Aguilar, Asst. Professor of Physics
Prof. Jessica Winter, Assoc. Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engr. (Assoc. Director, Collaborations and Industrial Interactions)