Research Group

Dr. Ivette Guzmán, PI

ivette pic

Dr. Ivette Guzman joined NMSU in 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Horticulture with an interest in medicinal foods in New Mexico. At three years old, Dr. Guzman’s family immigrated to the Texas panhandle from Mexico where her family worked as seasonal farm workers. With a drive to pursue education and an interest in science, Dr. Guzman earned her Bachelors in Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Master’s degree in Plant Biology at Texas Woman’s University, and a PhD in Plant Sciences at New Mexico State University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University.

She has served on the board of the La Semilla Food Center, and is now a co-director of the National Institutes of Health funded Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, a training grant that sponsors undergraduate researchers from underrepresented minorities in the sciences. Her ultimate goal is to conduct interdisciplinary food research and train students to use basic science to look at the big picture of agriculture, food and nutrition. Her research is critical to increasing the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities and families.

Office: Skeen Hall, N350
Guzman Profile

Postdoctoral Associates

Dr. Hasti Mozaffari

Dr. Hasti Mozaffari is a postdoc researcher currently working on pharmacokinetics of hemp extracts and other plant natural products. During her PhD she worked with a red alga to understand the photosynthesis regulation and analyze the secondary metabolites using analytical instrumentation. Currently, her focus is on understanding the pharmacokinetics of medicinally important plants. Hasti uses her plant biochemistry and analytical instrumentation expertise to investigate partial bioavailability of phytochemical compounds in the human gut.

Graduate Students

Srijana Dura, PhD Candidate

Srijana Dura is from Kathmandu, Nepal and graduated with her bachelor’s in agriculture from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences. After graduating, Srijana came to New Mexico State University in 2015 to pursue her master’s degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences under the guidance of Dr. Naveen Puppala. For her master’s work she screened U.S. peanut mini-core collections for disease resistance against Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. After obtaining her master’s degree, she currently is a doctoral candidate under the guidance of both Dr. Soum Sanogo and Dr. Ivette Guzman evaluating the contributing factors for reducing disease severity against Phytophthora blight caused by Phytophthora capsici in Jalapeño pepper.

Maria Alvarez Zavala, MS Student

Maria migrated with her family to Idaho in 2002. She comes from a farm working background where her parents and siblings worked in beet and potato fields. She started her higher education path attending the College of Southern Idaho and obtaining A.S. degrees in chemistry, geology and physics. She was later accepted in the McNair Scholars Program at Westminster College (WC) in Salt Lake City, UT where she earned a B.S. degree in chemistry. As an undergraduate she took part in three diverse research projects in biochemistry, biogeochemistry and inorganic chemistry fields both at WC and Michigan State University. Now as a graduate student she enjoys researching chemistry topics associated with medicinal plants, especially Opuntia spp. commonly known as prickly pear cactus. Visit Maria's professional profiles at LinkedIn and ResearchGate.

Phillip Lujan, PhD Candidate

Phillip Lujan is the program manager and diagnostician for the Plant Diagnostic Clinic. He received his B.S and M.S in Agricultural Biology with a minor in Molecular Biology at New Mexico State University. For four years, he was a research technician in the plant pathology and mycology program at NMSU where he gained valuable experience working with local growers helping them to manage their disease problems. Phillip is now currently pursuing his PhD in Plant and Environmental Science at NMSU with Dr. Soum Sanogo and Dr. Ivette Guzman, where he is researching the potential use of pecan byproducts on chile peppers for improved soilborne disease management. Visit Philip's profile at ResearchGate.

Joseph Wood, PhD Candidate

Joseph Wood is a PhD student from Las Cruces, New Mexico. He received his B.S and M.S in agricultural biology at New Mexico State University. During his undergrad he worked in the entomology and weed science labs studying sustainable pest management which led to his masters work under Dr. Brian Schutte focused on organic weed management in chile pepper. Joseph is now studying plant physiology under Dr. Ivette Guzman and Dr. Christopher Cramer with a focus on onions. The goals of his research are to understand the effects of various biotic and abiotic stressors on onion physiology to improve sustainable onion production.

Undergraduate Students

Adam Hopper, HORT Senior

Adam Hopper is from a rural community in Colorado and came to NMSU to pursue a degree in Horticulture. Currently a senior in his undergraduate career, Adam has worked in Dr. Guzman’s lab for a little over a year now where he has found a passion in plant physiology and phytochemistry. He currently is working on finding a link between ploidy levels and the production of phenolic compounds in the southwest native plant, creosote bush. Given this exciting experience, Adam plans on continuing research in plant physiology and secondary metabolism in graduate school once he completes his bachelor’s degree in the Spring of 2021.

Skyler Stinson, HORT Senior

Skyler Stinson is from a small mountain town East of Albuquerque called Sandia Park. He came to NMSU to pursue his interest in plant science and obtain a degree in Horticulture. While attending NMSU, he has worked for different labs around campus performing experiments such as biocrust seedling establishment, cover crop weed prevention, and condensed tannin research. He is currently evaluating the tannin content of sumac berries in Dr. Guzman’s lab which has motivated him to learn more about phytochemical compounds and how they have health promoting properties for the human body. After completing his degree, he plans on pursuing a career in sustainable agriculture.

Past Students

Krystal Vargas, Undergraduate Horticulture, 2016 - 2020

Cisco Chacon, Undergraduate Horticulture, 2018 - 2020

Calen McKenzie, MS Horticulture, 2018 -2020

Jacqueline Cormier, MS Horticulture, 2017-2019

Jagdeep Singh, MS Plant and Environmental Sciences, 2018 - 2020

Yvonne Lucero, Undergraduate Genetics/Nutrition, 2018 - 2020