Among a stratum of engineering solutions that address global health issues, instrumentation and devices that enable early disease diagnoses are critical.  In the case of ex-vivo, or in vitro, diagnostic systems, optic and photonic-based devices are quite useful.   The measurement of light scatter and fluorescence in particular can indicate cellular shape, size, genetic expression, protein movement, and many other types of molecular phenomena.  Fluorescence microscopy tools enable these measurements as do flow cytometers.  Flow cytometers, like microscopes, capture fluorescence and autofluorescence when emitted from cells, so that intracellular molecular events can be studied.  Moreover flow cytometers permit high-throughput measurements by continuously moving or “flowing” the cells while measuring the fluorescence output.  Faculty in the CHME department are designing and improving cytometry-based instrumentation and assays to study fluorescence decay kinetics and improve the ways in which light is used as an indicator of cellular heterogeneity.



Dr. Jessica P. Houston

Professor and Interim Department Head

Office: JH 256
Phone: (575) 646-5563

Educational Background:
Ph.D.,  Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University (2005)
M.S.,  Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University (2002)
B.S.,  Chemical Engineering, New Mexico State University (2000)



Student Activities:



  • Courtney Alston, Steven Liaw, Hongmei Luo, Nancy Flores, Jessica Houston, Development of nanoparticle-based assays for flow cytometry, Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium (URCAS), April 28, 2017.
  • Steven Liaw, Lara Teigh, Chris Catanach, Jessica Houston, Nancy Flores, Hongmei Luo, Synthesis and application of carbon quantum dots for imaging and counting of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in shrimp and water, Workforce diversity and career opportunity within the USDA for current and recent graduates, USDA PI meeting, Albuquerque, Feb. 16-18, 2017 (poster).
  • Steven Liaw, Tyler Balding, Hongmei Luo, Jessica Houston, Nancy Flores, Synthesis and application of carbon quantum dots for bio-imaging and counting of Vibrio Parahaemolyticus in Shrimp Farm Colonies, AMP and University Research Council Fair, NMSU, Sep. 30, 2016 (poster).