Dean's Weekly Message

Jan. 6, 2020

Dear colleague: 

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in December announced that the top research achievements of 2019 include an investigation led by CU faculty members. The work by Robert Freedman, MD, professor and former chair of psychiatry, M. Camille Hoffman, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the division of maternal fetal medicine, and seven other CU faculty members found that during pregnancy, the presence of adequate levels of the nutrient choline in the mother’s system has a protective role in the development of the fetal brain and on behavior in children following birth. The results of the study are described in an article published in May 2019 in The Journal of Pedicatrics. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundaiton is the world’s largest private funder of mental health research grants and has awarded more than $408 million to more than 4,800 scientists around the world.

The Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine has announced four recipients of funding through its Gates Grubstake Fund, which provides translational research funding for projects and teams affiliated with the center. The awardees receive up to $350,000 each to support their work. The 2019 Grubstake recipients and their projects are

  • Terry Fry, MD, professor of pediatrics, Optimized manufacturing of CD19xCD22 CAR expressing T Cells for the clinic;
  • Holger Russ, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Generation of functional, patient-specific thymi for cell therapy;
  • Ram Nagaraj, PhD, professor of ophthalmology, Therapeutic peptide for neuroprotection in acute closed angle glaucoma; and
  • Raj Kumar, PhD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Production of efficacious recombinant hypo-glycosylated FSH glycoform for clinical applications.

James Sikela, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, is an expert who was consulted by Discover magazine in its annual round-up of top science stories in 2019. The article describes work by researchers in China who injected 11 rhesus macaque embryos with a virus carrying the human version of a gene that is linked to brain size. The researchers said they wanted to determine how the gene might contribute to evolution of the brain. Jim and other scientists have raised concern about this research. “There’s some risky elements to going down this road,” he said. “One needs to think about the consequences of where this is leading and what’s the best way to study these kinds of questions.”

James Borgstede, MD, professor and vice chair of radiology, has been elected president of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) for 2020. The RSNA is the world’s largest organization for radiologists, with more than 54,000 members from 136 countries. He previously served as liaison for international affairs and as chair of the RSNA board of directors, and in 2019 the RSNA recognized him as an honored educator.

Volunteers are needed for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) booth at the National Western Stock Show. The stock show runs from January 11 through January 26. Volunteers will have access to the show grounds on the day they volunteer and those who volunteer for multiple shifts will be eligible for free event and rodeo tickets. Details about registering to volunteer are on the AHEC website. For more information, contact Patti Jo Wagner at 303-724-3808 or​.

The annual State of the School address is scheduled for Wednesday, January 8, at 4 p.m. in Hensel Phelps Auditorium West in Research 1 North. All are welcome to attend.

Have a good week,

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine

The Dean’s weekly message is an email news bulletin from John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, Dean of the CU School of Medicine, that is distributed to inform University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty members, staff, students and others about issues pertaining to the School’s mission of education, research, clinical care and community service.  See the UCH-Insider →


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