MRN Moving into Neurosystems Engineering

One of the more interesting developments on campus this year is the growth and change at The Mind Research Network.

Technically MRN is an independent non-profit entity, located in Pete and Nancy Domenici Hall on the UNM north campus.  However, work at MRN is closely entwined with the university community; it hosts professors, many of whom hold dual appointments in UNM departments such as electrical and computer engineering, and is a laboratory in which 20 graduate students work with researchers.  There are also more than 100 undergraduate students currently volunteer at MRN; these students work with a principal investigator throughout the academic year.

Last spring MRN hosted the “Domenici Neuroscience Symposium on Neuroscience for National Security”  in Washington.  The purpose was to raise the profile of MRN in Washington D.C. and to let the public know that MRN is now doing research in neurosystems engineering in addition to its research into brain disorders.  MRN drew a number of speakers from industry and research entities and showcased MRN researchers in a variety of areas.

UNM worked with MRN to produce audio recordings of the conference.  Here’s a great chance to hear about everything from the latest research in Traumatic Brain Injury to new training techniques that may allow soldiers to quickly identify threats.  Just putting together the audio lectures was a fascinating experience.  It made me want to learn more about work at MRN.

Neuroscience for National Security

Normally this kind of research is done by individuals at various institutions.  MRN is trying to concentrate a group of researchers working in neurosystems engineering.

Financially, things are going well at MRN.  The non-profit corporation has over $75 million in active awards, about $10 million in pending grants, and several active applications for grants in progress.  Research collaboration with organizations like MRN is what makes UNM a more interesting place to be and lots of fun to write about.


We’re Almost Legit!

Sorry things have been so quiet around here y’all, but we’re busy working on finally integrating the UNM Underground blog into the new UNM News Hub (prototype is available here).  Of course this means we won’t be “Officially Unofficial” anymore, but we plan on cranking the production line back into shape once we’re over there!

In the meantime, let’s go Lobos! #3 seed in the East!

– Benson

Virtualizing a Supercomputer

Patrick Bridges, associate professor in the UNM Computer Sciences Department has completed an interesting experiment in collaboration with Peter Dinda, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University and his graduate student Jack Lange.  Their experiment was conducted on the Sandia National Labs supercomputer “Red Storm” and they are finding a way to make it easier for researchers to work with supercomputers.

Here’s a link to the UNM story.

Ellingboe Enchants Keller Crowd

I’ve known Brad Ellingboe for several years.  I’ve publicized the awards he’s received as a composer. I’ve pushed to garner some recognition for CDs his choirs have produced. I’ve watched him transform into a fundraiser so his students can travel to perform for national audiences, raise money to create a children’s opera, or help the university recognize 100 years of chorus at UNM.  He’s passionate about music, yes, but more so about students.

I knew he was a composer because year after year I publicized his ASCAP awards — he’s well-known as a composer and arranger of choral music.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers selects recipients based upon the “unique prestige value of each writer’s catalog of original compositions, as well as recent performances…” Brad was always on their radar, providing a catalog of works that was difficult to overlook. The choir at my church often performed his arrangements, and I enjoyed each one.

Brad is never anxious for personal recognition, but his accomplishments garner attention. What he did want, however, was for the arts to get some of the attention directed to athletics and others on campus. “We win all our concerts,” he tells me with a grin.

We moved from casual colleagues to friends as we chatted over coffee, talking about UNM and Santa Fe political situations.

Brad has been in UNM’s College of Fine Arts since 1985, where he is professor of music and director of choral activities. His duties include directing choirs, teaching private voice lessons and graduate choral conducting.

And yet I still hadn’t his voice raised in song. He said that he decided to perform solo in celebration of 25 years at UNM. Celebrating in this manner, he noted, was equivalent to “sticking a fork in my eye.” That’s Brad.

Brad occasionally brings by comp tickets after I’ve done some publicity work. In this case, it was for the UNM Concert Choir to have the funds to travel to Denver to perform for the prestigious American Choral Directors Association conference next month.

I got the tickets, but not much info, just Brad, bass-baritone, performing with Louise Bass, piano, and assisted by David Schepps, cello, and John Clark, piano.

I called my mom and we knew that it would be a rare opportunity to hear Brad sing. I’d seen him with a baton, heard him speak – always glibly into a microphone, but never heard him sing.

OK, I’m an idiot…we were a bit late, so we missed a bit, including Mozart’s “Per questa bella mano, K. 612,” and four numbers from Don Quichotte, a French libretto based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

I felt like the ship had departed without us, but we quickly got on board.  Next stop, Germany, where Brad shared “Vier ernste Gesänge,” or “Four Serious Songs,” by Johannes Brahms. I haven’t studied French or Italian (that Mozart number, mentioned above, was in Italian, not Mozart’s native language, German), but I’ve studied a bit of German. I’ve been to Germany and to Austria…and Brad took me there again, sailing on his notes, on his words.

Brahms’ songs are based on Biblical references, primarily Ecclesiastes and Corinthians. He eloquently and lyrically sang of “dust to dust,” and “the tears of the oppressed,” but I wasn’t truly understanding the German until “O Tod, o Tod, wie bitter bist du.” “Oh death, oh death. how bitter you are…”

But the Brahms number that caught me was from Corinthians because it was the same passage that was to be part of the service at my church this morning, but 2 Corinthians was read by mistake, but everyone knows this one…it’s read at weddings: “And now abides faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” To read the words, to hear the words is inspiring, but to hear them in song is divine. To hear Brad sing them…heavenly.

Brad moved to music that lives in his heart: The works of Edvard Grieg. Our ship landed in Norway. Brad once told me that he speaks a second language that is useless in New Mexico: Norwegian. Maybe it doesn’t come in handy too much here, but it is part of his heritage, he’s a Grieg scholar and even conducted Grieg’s work at Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall! The words flowed from his tongue, the music was a part of him. It didn’t matter if the audience knew what the words meant because the music spoke their intent.

Finally, Brad finished with some American favorites. We’d traveled to Europe and back. Now, instead of  landing on foreign soil, we were in a piano bar. The piano didn’t have the tinny sound of a cheap instrument pounded upon by many trying to “make it.” The air wasn’t thick with smoke and the clink of bar glasses didn’t punctuate the music, but I was in a bar. Where’s my rum and coke?? He could be Sinatra, or Johnny Mathis, for a moment maybe we were attending a Broadway debut.

When he finished, when the last note of “My Favorite Year” floated to the ceiling of Keller Hall, the audience rose to their feet. Brad and Clark, his pianist for the American songs, took their bows and exited the stage. They returned to the crowd’s delight. Their encore was Willie Nelson’s “You’re Always on my Mind.” He did Willie proud…and he wasn’t even stoned.

Brad’s wife Karen was sitting behind me. He sang that song for her. As we put on our coats to leave, she dabbed her eye with a tissue. Like the audience, even she wasn’t immune to the sentiment he offers through song.

UNM Anthropologist on National Geographic Channel

E. James Dixon Anthropology Professor and Director of the  Maxwell   Museum, Dr. James Dixon, is conducting exciting research exploring glaciers in Alaska to discover ancient frozen artifacts.  Some of his research was filmed last summer in Alaska and at the Maxwell for a segment of National Geographic Television’s “Naked Science: Surviving Ancient Alaska”.  The show will premier on national television on January 28, 2010, at 10 PM eastern standard time.  For an advanced video preview and photos go to:

UNM Lobos vs. NC A&T Aggies, Nov. 27, 2009

Yale just got beaten by Toledo in the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament. Holy Toledo! And now we’re waiting for UNM to take on North Carolina A&T….is that like Atchinson Topeka? We’ll represent for the “Santa Fe” since we plan to railroad ’em!

OK…quick search reveals that the NC school is in Greensboro, nice place, and that A&T stands for agricultural and technical…They should know that Lobos don’t like Aggies…of any variety.

Here we go!! Nikia Gorham, 44, vs. Jessica Kielpinski. Kielpinski to Halasz. Amanda Best’s ball falls short and its in NC hands. Foul and UNM brings it in…Here comes Best. Around we go. Georonika misses. NC ball. 44 shoots, 2.

Best bringing it. Around we go. Halasz’s shot falls short. NC’s on the run again. 14 to 44 to basket for NC, now up 0-4.

Amanda Best makes it happen for the Lobos almost 3 minutes in. Another score by NC and it’s now 2-6.

Working around, Halasz shoots misses, Taylor gets it. Halasz shoots misses, NC gets it. 44 gets robbed on a rim shot. UNM moves it. 4, Crystal Murdaugh fouls and UNM’s bringing it in. Taylor shoots, makes it and gets fouled. Taylor misses, NC ball. 4-6 Lobos. 45 shoots for the Aggies and its 4-8. Lobos moving it. 44, Nikia Gorham, fouls and UNM’s strategizing as we get ready for sumo wrestlers brought to you by Baillio’s.

Halasz shoots, misses, NC ball, scores. 4-10. NC steals off Kielpinski moves it down court. Out of bounds on UNM and NC brings it in. Taylor fouls number 10 Tierra Thomas. Thomas brings it in. Out of bounds, UNM ball.

Here comes Best. Jackson, Kielpinski, Best…score! 6-10. 14:06 in the first half.

Lobos hold ’em. Halasz drives and scores. 8-10. Come on Lobos!!!

Lobos are striving hard to bring a tough D, but 3,Tyronnica Alford, scores. 8-12. Kielpinski misses and NC’s moving the ball. They get a rebound, Beggin comes in for Jackson.

Jump ball and NC gets it. A missed traveling call on 45, Lamona Smalley, but double dribbling gets the call and here comes Beggin!

They are tentative…Beggin shoots for 3, misses, foul puts the ball back in NC hands.

Here comes a time out and your spirit program and soundpack. Apparently we’re the LOBOS part of the U-N-M LOBOS cheer! LOBOS!!!

11:54 left in the first half and cheerleaders are standing on top of one another and the band plays on.

NC’s moving the ball. NC gets the rebound, but the shot clock runs out. LOBO ball.

Porsche Torres comes in for Sara Halasz.

13, Jaquayla Berry, fouls and UNM gets the ball. Another foul and UNM is again bringing in the ball. Time out.

Amanda Best is 2 for 3; Halasz 1 for 5 and Taylor 1 for 1.

Taylor tries for 3, misses, NC’s got the ball. They miss, get the rebound, and they score 8-14.

Best gets fouled, at the line shoots…it’s in…second is in as well. Go BEST! 10-14.

NC’s moving it around. Driving…13 shoots, misses, rebound by NC, foul by NC and UNM has the ball again.

Beggin shoots, misses, NC’s moving. 14, Amber Calvin, misses. UNM ball. Beggin’s moving it to Kielpinski, Taylor shoots 3! GO TAYLOR!!! 13-14. Come on LOBOS!

Band calls for sharks. NC’s moving. 14 shoots for 3 13-17.

Best gets robbed on a rim shot. NC ball. Kielpinski steals. Beggin shoots, misses, NC ball. Beggin steals, Kielpinski shoots. 2! 15-17.

Ball’s out of bounds for the Lobos to bring back in after the break. We’ve got 7:34 left in the half.

Taylor leads scoring at this point – making 2 of 3. Best has 2 of 4 and Kielpinski 1 of 3.

Best tries hard to flip one in, is unsuccessful. NC ball down the court. Time out.

Band plays fight song. GO FIGHT WIN LOBOS!

NC ball. 45, Lamona Smalley, to 4, Crystal Murdaugh, to the basket. 15-19.

Lobos are moving it around. Halasz fails on a 3 pointer. She scrambles, comes up with her second foul. Here comes NC. Powerful team. Bigger girls than the Lobos in girth, but not in height.

32, Jaleesa Sams, shoots from the free throw line. Misses the first. Second one goes in 15-20 with 6:20 left in the game.

Out of bounds on UNM off Torrance’s hands. UNM gets a rebound. Georonika Jackson works it under the net. Scores! 17-20. They get a steal and she follows it up with a 3 pointer. TIE GAME! GO LOBOS. The crowd goes wild. The sound is exquisite, but the Aggies follow it up with 2. 20-22.

Porsche Torres gives us two more and another tie. UNM is working the defense and we’ve got a scramble on the hardwood. 22-22 2ith 4:11 left in the half. Kast comes in for Taylor.

Beggin’s bringing it down court. Around it goes. To Kast to Jackson, off the rim and out of bounds. Ball goes to NC.

We’ve got toilet races. How do you explain this to visitors from outside the US??

Jackson is now 2 for 4, Kielpinski 1 for 3, Taylor 2 for 3; Halasz 1 for 6, Beggin 0 for 3, Torrance 1 for 1.

Out of bounds on UNM, it bounces off several fingers before sailing through NC’s net. 22-24.

Kast ties it with an under the basket easy- in. She’s working D. So are her teammates. Out of bounds on NC.

Beggin throws it up, NC snags, UNM gets it back. Berry, 13 for NC fouls Jackson. She’s at the line. In like Flynn. 25-24…first Lobo lead. Misses the second. Kast gets a foul, ball to NC. 2:24 left in the half. Steal by UNM has Beggin racing down the court. She’s fouled under the basket. Beggin’s at the line. It’s up, it’s in….Second one rolls off the rim. 26-24. NC’s moving. Gets called for traveling. Kast is out, Kielpinski’s back in. Here come the LOBOS!

On an awesome move from Kielpinski to Beggin to Best we get a score, followed by a Beggin steal and another score. UNM 30-24.

Jackson gets called on a foul. 23, Jaleesa Sams is at the line. It’s in, but the second rolls out. 30-24, 44 seconds left.

Jackson gets fouled by 32. She shoots and it’s in. Second is nuttin’ but net 32-25. A scramble under the basket goes to NC…11.9 seconds left. Sloooooow substitution by NC….

And some debate, I guess. We wait and wait and wait. The refs confer. The players chat. 10 seconds on the shot clock. They score.

Best runs down and scores as time expires. 34-27! Go AMANDA!!!

Not an easy half for the Lobos, but they made some adjustments, especially on defense and got more aggressive offensively, as well.

Half time stats. Jackson 2 for 4; Kielpinski 1 for 3; Taylor 2 for 3; Halasz 1 for 6; Best 2 for 5; Beggin 0 for 3; Torrance 1 for 1 and Kast 0 for 0. Best played 16 minutes in the first half, followed by Taylor with 15; and Kielpinski with 13. Jackson and Halasz each played 10 and Beggin 9. Kielpinski and Taylor each had 1 offensive rebound. Best had 3 defensive rebounds and Torrance 2, while Jackson had 1. Total point leader at the half is Best with 6. Jackson and Taylor each scored 5. Best had 3; Torrance 2 and Jackson, Kielpinski and Taylor 1.

Second half gets under way.

Beggin misses a 3 pointer and NC moves the ball, misses, Beggin gets the rebound, Halasz misses, NC gets the ball. Back in UNM hands on a foul, around we go. Everyone is on their feet clapping waiting for that first score. Out of bounds on NC, Beggin’s bringing it in. Taylor shoots. 36-27.

Halasz gets aggressive swats it out of bounds on 14. 32 brings it in. 32 moves it to 4 who misses completely. Out of bounds on UNM. 14 brings it in to 32, shoots, but the shot clock runs out. Herecomes Halasz who loses the bal. 45 runs out of bounds and up the bleachers. GO GIRL.

Lobos drive down court. Beggin to Best to Kielpinski to Taylor to Beggin to Best to Taylor to …score! 39-27.

44, Gorham, scrambles under the basket, hangs tough with several defenders but comes away pointless. UNM ball on a foul. Here we come! Kielpinski to Halasz to the net. 41-27. 16:43 left. UNM steals. UNM foul puts it back in NC hands.

Gorham scores 41-29.

Lobos work the outer edge and Beggin breaks her quiet streak and scores 3. 44-29, followed by an NC score, 44-31 with 15:42 in the game.

And in the time out we have HEY! GO LOBOS!

Beggin moves, drives, to Kielpinski to Best…Beggin fouls and we have a time out. We also have GO FIGHT WIN LOBOS!

I love these seats.

Stats! Taylor still rocks, scoring4 out of 5. Best brings it around and under. 46-31.

NC ball. 13 to 10 to 13 who drives, off the rim and into Best’s hands. Jacson,Taylor Beggin, Best, Tyalor, shoots, misses, NC Ball.

13 drives, scores, Beggin fouls her. She’s shooting 1 off the rim and into Best’s hands. Beggin drives, collision, Kielpinski and 3. Beggin shoots another successful 3. 49-33 then gets fouled down court.

Here come your LOBOS! A nice little under the basket action and Kielpinski scores   — 51-33 with 13:07 left.

13 scores a pretty 3. Jackson misses and the ball is moving North Carolina way.  3 misses and she and Georonika fight for it. Georonika wins the battle. Ball moves down and Beggin hot hot hot shoots 3 more 54-36. Kast comes in for Kielpinski. Thank goodness. Easier to type.

3 gives some payback shoots 54-38.

Kast misses, NC’s 3 hands off to 4,Murdaugh, who shoots 2.

All that effort and no time left and no points. Come on Lobos. Nice steal by Torrance. Beggin scores again 56-40.

10 misses and Best gets it back, loses it and 3 scores again. 56-42 with 10:03 left.

Amanda Best shoots A BEAUTIFUL 3. 59-42. 3, Alford, shoots, misses, rebound falls short. Time out.

Stats: Amy Beggin’s numbers are up – now 5 for 9. Taylor is 4 for 6.

32 gets ready to shoot her free throw….It’s in. So’s the second shot. 59-44.

Nikki Taylor coems in for Best. Amy Beggin shoots another 3. 62-44.

Kast steals! Jackson shoots, misses, ball’s in NC hands. Kast gets called on a foul. 3’s shooting. Up and in. Halasz comes back in for Jackson as 3 misses her second shot. 62-45 with 8:11 left.

Ball’s Lobo bound…and outta bounds as Kast fires it through Nikki Nelson. WOW.

Time out again with your Lobo “soundpack.”

New stats: Beggin 6 for 10; Best 6 for 9, and Taylor 4 for 6.

NC scores 3 – 62-48.

Lobos are moving. Torrance to Kielpinski to basket. and a steal by Beggin and 2 more. ROCK ON LOBOS!!! 66-48.

Lobos on the move again. Beggin misses but Torrance gets the rebound and scores. 68-48.

14 shoots and misses, Lobos moving with 5:49 left. Torrance misses NC ball. Taylor’s in for Beggin.

Torrance brings the ball in post-foul, and they’re driving. Kielpinski scores 70-48.

Rebound to UNM and Taylor’s moving. She scores! 72-48.

Lobo ball on a foul.

NC ball out of bounds. Fans call 32 “Air Ball.” Nick names are so hard to lose. Steal by Nelson to Halasz to Kielpinski to Taylor to Nelson to basket. 75-48.

25, Nakia DeBlanc, completely misses the basket and the Lobos are driving once more. Missed basket.

Cheerleaders are doing handsprings down the court. Hair ribbons go flying.

Stats: Beggin is now 7 for 12; Best 6 for 9, Kielpinski 4 for 6.

NC free throw…one in for 25, score now 75-29 with 2:31 left. NC drives, Kielpinski fouls 13….it’s in for 1….it’s in for 2. 75-51.

Kielpinski’s called on a foul and NC gets the ball again. UNM steals under the basket. Erskine, Stark and Durbin came in. Torrance scores 2. 77-51.1 minute left….10 drives. 24, Durbin, gets called on a foul. 10, Thomas, shoots. It swirls and goes out. Stark fouls 10. She shoots….it’s in. Second shot is through. 77-53 with 45 seconds. The rookies are working, but tentative. 42 throws to NC. They get 2 more. 77-55. Nelson’s guarding the ball. It’s all over. 77-55.


Game time tomorrow at 7:15 p.m.

Beggin finishes the game 7 of 12; Best 6 of 9; Torrance 3 of 4; Kielpinski 4 of 6; Taylor 5 of 7.

Postgame, Coach Don Flanagan gave his assessment. “I like the way we played, we picked our spots. We started slow, without Amy, but did a good job figuring out weaknesses,” he said. .He said that Beggin’s ankle injury kept her out of practice and in therapy. A team rule applies to starting when a player is unable to make practice.

Flanagan indicated that rebounding was a factor early. But, he said, “I like what we did in the second half. we had good shot selection, good shooting percentage. had no nervousness. no lack of poise.” He added that the Lobos did a good job of evaluating what the NC Aggies were doing.  He assessed that Torrance played a solid 22 minnutes, Kielpinski played 29 and that he rotated everybody. “Foul trouble early required making adjustments,” he said.

Flanagan said that NC A&T played a lot of zone before shifting to man-to-man.  Flanagan said that Beggin stayed on the bike to keep warm and still played 28 minutes.

“Nikki Nelson did a good job coming in. I was happy to see her play calmly. Iwant her to play side by side with Amy and then get her out of there, expand our bench.” Flanagan said the freshmen need more minutes. “We need to get  kids in there who feel comfortable,” he said.

Tomorrow the Lobos face  Toledo.  He said that the Toledo Rockets are very aggressive and bring a pressure defense. “We’ll see what happens under pressure. We feel pretty comfortable. We played a lot of minutes with the zone, something we haven’t done. Need a week at it in practice. It will be a different look tomorrow.  If we do what we did today, make adjustments, be calm, get good looks and be accurate in our shooting, we’ll do fine.”

Amy Beggin and Amanda Best met with the media post-game.

Beggin said that her ankle’s sore. and didn’t mind coming off the bench. Georonika deserved to go in there. I just want to help however ia can, contribute however I can whether I’m in 2 or 20 minutes,’ she said.

Amanda Best noted that she had to play point guard, something she’s done in practice. “I’d rather play with Amy, and hopefully the ankle thing won’;t linger on,” she said.

Best reiterated their lack of experience in zone, in fact this was only the second team to present it against the Lobos. A reporter said that a lot of teams will be looking at film from the Oklahoma State game, she quickly responded, “They can look at this tape, too.”