F.Omar Holguin

I am Omar Holguin from the Plant & Environmental Sciences Department at New Mexico State University. I support the Environmental Science focus areas of the Department, and my teaching and research background and interests cover a broad range of areas that revolve around biochemistry including metabolomics and proteomics with a focus on chemical analysis techniques. My group works on a variety of applications including corn pigmentation, chile composition carotenoid production, algal biofuels, oil & gas produced water, and guar seed composition.

Link to list of publications.


  • Doctoral Degree in Plant & Environmental Sciences Emphasis in Mass Spectral Analysis of Plant Primary and Secondary Metabolism from GMOs, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 2012
  • Master of Science in Agronomy Emphasis in Natural Product Isolation, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 2005
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with Minor in Chemistry, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 2002


Nov. 2012 to Present
Assistant Professor: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Las Cruces, New Mexico I am establishing a program that enables me to utilize my diverse background and interdisciplinary research experience for the improvement of regional traditional crops and development of future bio-renewable resources in New Mexico. I am currently developing mutually beneficial collaborations within and outside the university to conduct novel research in these fields. I plan to develop a new curriculum aiding student advancement in the fields of mass spectral based metabolomics and proteomics.

2010 to 2012
Senior Research Associate: Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Laboratory,NMSU Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, Las Cruces, New Mexico
I conducted research focusing on algal lipids and co-products. During the course of my employment I have developed and implemented methods for the analysis of a diverse class of compounds in algae, culture media and produced bio-crude as well as converted bio-fuel. I am responsible for instrument calibration/validation and supervise the use and maintenance of analytical instrumentation. My skills and expertise are used to provide data for grant proposals, manuscripts, and technical reports. My work supports a variety of multidisciplinary collaborations within the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuel and Bio-products (NAABB) consortium in which our laboratory serves as the chemical analysis center for algal lipids. I also provide expertise in experimental design and supervision of algal research at both the bench and outdoor production scale of our algal cultivation efforts at NMSU. Through my direct involvement in algal research at NMSU I have developed novel analysis of algal/plant lipids, proteins, biofuel, cellular exudates and metabolites to meet our consortium research needs.

2007 to 2010
Laboratory Manager: Metabolomics Laboratory NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences Las Cruces, New Mexico I worked in a research laboratory with a team of researchers and graduate students studying primary and secondary metabolism in plants and animals. I provided information and direction in the analysis of various compounds using mass spectral analytical platforms. My expertise was used to provide preliminary data for grant proposals as well as to educate students and staff in utilizing the available instrumentation. I was directly responsible for acquisition, maintenance and repair of the instrumentation. Outside of laboratory work my responsibilities also included grant and manuscript writing.

2005 to 2007
Laboratory Director: Counter Terrorism Chemical Technologies Laboratory NMSU Physical Science Laboratory,Las Cruces, New Mexico I worked in an active research laboratory with a team of research chemist’s and students. I directed, trained and supervised staff and students in conducting mass spectral analysis for toxins in complex matrices such as food and drugs. The work was used for method validation protocols for the FDA forensics chemistry center. I ensured that all university guidelines, safety and chemical hygiene were in place and observed by all staff and students working within the laboratory. My responsibilities also included performance evaluations, hiring of new staff, procuring and overseeing the efficient utilization of instrumentation and supplies; scheduling repairs and maintenance of equipment. I held a Department of Defense Secret Clearance while in this position.

2004 to 2005
Research Chemist (Mass Spectroscopist): NMSU Physical Science Laboratory, Las Cruces, New Mexico I worked as a research chemist specializing in analytical and forensic chemistry; conducting mass spectral analysis for poison in complex matrices such as food and drugs. Analysis included identifying the stability and bio-availability of poisons within matrices, and the establishment of chemical profiles of poisons and other deleterious substances in foods and drugs. My duties included the preparation, evaluation and revision of standard operating procedures to assure accurate and prompt analyses as well as the development of novel, efficient methodology in the area of mass spectrometry/forensic chemistry. Responsibilities also included training laboratory employees in chemistry and analytical instrumentation, and preparation of laboratory technical reports. I also held a Department of Defense Secret Clearance while in this position.

2002 to 2004
Graduate Research Assistantship: NMSU Agronomy and Horticulture Department Las Cruces, New Mexico My primary research was in natural product isolation and characterization. My thesis project focused on the biological activity of natural products from Datura innoxia. Extracts were assayed against mammalian cancer cell lines, bacteria, fungus, and modified yeast. Compounds with the attributed activity are isolated using various chromatographic techniques such as HPLC, PTLC and LPLC. Isolated compounds were characterized using mass and NMR spectroscopy. Aside from my thesis, I was involved in many other projects, my responsibilities included chemical profiling of plant populations, method development for extraction, characterization, and quantitative and qualitative analysis using various instruments such as GC/MS, GC/FID, HPLC and supercritical fluid extraction.

1999 to 2002
Undergraduate Research Assistant: NMSU Agronomy and Horticulture Department,Las Cruces, New Mexico I was an undergraduate researcher in a soil/environmental science laboratory where contributions to projects encompassed topics such as sewage sludge application to agricultural fields, tracking and monitoring of nitrogen fertilizer in pecan trees, mineralization rates of phosphorus from manure, precipitation of pedogenic carbonate from soil bacteria and the fate of depleted uranium in alkaline soils. Responsibilities also included hazardous waste management, maintenance of lab equipment and computer network administration.

Teaching Experience:

2002 to 2004 & 2007 to 2009
Facilitator: NMSU Medicinal Plants of the Southwest, Las Cruces, New Mexico Medicinal Plants of the Southwest (MPSW), is funded by the National Institute of Health, and is part of the larger Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program.  The goal of the MBRS-RISE program is to increase the number of minority students pursuing and obtaining advanced degrees in the biomedical sciences. I worked closely with other instructors to design and teach the chemistry and biological assay curriculum and laboratory portions of the workshop. The curriculum introduced students to fundamental principles of basic science research. Students then used those skills to conduct group projects in natural product/medicinal chemistry. The participants utilized analytical chemistry instrumentation, techniques and bioassay guide fractionalization to identify plant extracts of medicinal value. Following the lab portion, students were taught proper scientific reporting and formatting standards for their data. This was in preparation for a poster presentation for an end of summer research symposium held on campus.

2002 to 2003
Teaching Assistantship: NMSU Agronomy and Horticulture Department, Las Cruces, New Mexico I was a teaching assistant for introductory soils and soil microbiology. As a teaching assistant, I was responsible for supervising other graduate assistants in the coordination and development of lab exercises. I worked closely with the instructor to ensure that I provided the best environment conducive to educating the students in the morphological, chemical, physical and biological properties of soil in the laboratory and field.


Extraction of Lipids from wet algae under subcritical water conditions Serial No. 61/668,920
D. Innoxia Withanolides with Specific Anti-Cancer Activities PCT/US11/29455

Academic Achievements:

NSF Travel Award
Attended a workshop for the development: “Bioenergy from Photosynthetic
Microorganisms: What are the Basic Research Needs”

Dean’s Award of Excellence

2002 to 2004
MBRS-Rise Graduate Assistantship

Hamilton Scholarship

1997 to 2002
Fabian Garcia Multicultural Scholarship

Professional Affiliations:

American Society of Mass Spectrometry

North American Phytochemical Society

2003 to 2007
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences

International Society of Plant Molecular Biologists

1997 to 2003
American Society of Plant Biologists

Research Related Skills:

  • Instrumental Analysis: Development of methods for quantitative and qualitative analysis, using various instruments such as Differential Scanning Calorimeter-Thermalgravimetric Analysis, Inductively Coupled Plasma, Gas/Liquid/Ultra Performance Chromatography, Accelerated Solvent Extraction, Super Critical Fluid Extraction, Atomic Absorption, UV/Vis, FT-IR, and Mass Spectroscopy. I am familiar with NMR interpretation and data acquisition.
  • Mass Spectral Analysis: I have extensive experience with Quadrapole, Ion Trap, TOF, and FT-ICR mass spectrometers analyzing both small and large molecules in metabolomics and proteomic settings. I’ve developed methods to look at a variety of polar/non-polar as well as biological compounds using the following ionization techniques ESI, APCI, APPI, CI, and EI. I have also developed methods to look at nonpolar lipid/steroidal type compounds using coordination ion spray MS (CIS-MS) and a variety of metal adducts.
  • Biological Assays: Methodology development in using biological assays as a tool to guide fractionalization of extracts to assign the activity of an extract to a specific compound.
  • Molecular Biology: RNA isolation from plants, PCR, gel electrophoresis, recombinant protein expression, mass spectral identifications of proteins, bioinformatics and northern blots.
  • Sampling and Data Interpretation: Methods for sampling collection, analysis of variance and experimental design, and linear/nonlinear regression and correlation. I also have extensive experience using Metabolomic and Proteomic platforms for multivariate analysis and modeling.
  • Computer Skills: MS Office Suite, R, MetIdea, XCMS, Cytoscape, Sigma Plot, Chem Draw, NIST mass spectral database, AMDIS, Varian Saturn Gas Chromatography Workstation, and Waters Empower HPLC Workstation, Agilent Chemstation, Thermo Xcalibur, and Micromass Masslynx.
  • Safety Training: Hazard Communication Laboratory Standard Hazardous Waste Management Radiation Safety I Defensive Driving Blood Borne Pathogens

Other Links:

Department WebPage