Dean's Weekly Message

July 12, 2021

Dear colleague: 

Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, has been named chair of the Department of Family Medicine effective Oct. 1, 2021. Myra joins us from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where she has been chair of its Department of Family and Community Medicine since 2015. She joined the department in 1990, after serving there as chief resident and a research fellow. Myra brings an impressive record of accomplishment as a clinician, researcher, educator, and administrator, and I am confident that she will be a strong leader for our school. Under her leadership, her department has established new clinical services and she leads a research program that has received more than $26 million in extramural funding. Please join me in welcoming her to the Anschutz Medical Campus. 

I would like to thank Frank DeGruy, MD, who served as chair of our Department of Family Medicine since 1996 and who has been instrumental in establishing our department as one of the nation’s best. In this year’s rankings by U.S. News and World Report, our department ranked No. 7 among all medical schools. Frank stepped down as chair on June 30 and plans to continue serving part-time on our faculty. In the interim, Colleen Conry, MD, the department’s senior vice chair for quality and clinical affairs, will serve as chair. Special thanks also to the search committee, led by Gerald Dodd, MD, chair of radiology, for its diligence in reviewing applications and recommending an outstanding successor. 

According to the campus COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, all CU Anschutz students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated by the fall semester. That means anyone getting the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations should be getting their shots by mid-July. You are not considered fully vaccinated until 14 days after the second dose.  Appointments are widely available at local providers throughout Colorado, including UCHealth. You can get help finding a vaccine by visiting or calling 1-877-CO-VAX-CO (1-877-268-2926). 

Kristen Nadeau, MD, professor of pediatrics, received the 2021 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award at the American Diabetes Association’s 81st Scientific Sessions meeting. Kristen presented her award lecture, “Unique Cardiometabolic Mechanisms and Consequences of Youth-Onset Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes,” on June 28. Kristen’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of youth-onset diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance, including sex differences and racial/ethnic disparities, to prevent long-term diabetes complications. 

Glenn T. Furuta, MD, professor of pediatrics, has been named the recipient of the 2021 Harry Shwachman Award from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. The award is the highest honor given by the society and recognizes outstanding lifetime achievements and contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, or nutrition. Glenn will receive the award at the society’s annual meeting in Nashville in November. 

Hillary Lum, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, is the recipient of the first Health Care Systems Scholar award. The National Institute on Aging established the Imbedded Pragmatic Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias Clinical Trials (IMPACT) Collaboratory in 2019 to expand clinical trials of non-pharmacological interventions within health care systems to care for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related conditions. The IMPACT Collaboratory announced the award last week. Hillary will lead a multidisciplinary team at UCHealth in dementia caregiving research and patient stakeholder engagement. The team will also establish a Dementia Partners Council to provide ongoing input from patient and care partners’ perspectives.

 Olivia Rissland, DPhil, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, has been awarded a $1.3 million National Science Foundation CAREER grantto study maternal-to-zygotic transition in animal embryogenesis. Olivia’s lab plans to study how maternal biomolecules are removed and replaced by new ones made by the embryo. The award also provides 15-month paid internships for undergraduates from underrepresented groups. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of activities of teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. 

Matthew Taliaferro, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, and Chad Pearson, PhD, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, have received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation for a project that aims to improve understanding of centrosome-localized RNA using a method they have developed for isolating and analyzing it. The centrosome is key to cell division, and centrosomal defects are associated with cancer. Evidence exists that specific RNA molecules surrounding the centrosome can affect its function, but isolating and studying centrosomal RNA has been a significant challenge for scientists. Their research could uncover new regulatory pathways that govern cell division as well as new therapeutic targets for cancer treatment. 

The W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program provides grants to medical research initiatives, like Matt and Chad’s project, which are distinctive and novel in approach, question prevailing paradigms, and have the potential to break open new territory in their fields. The grants are highly competitive, and the foundation solicits institutional nominations biannually. Interested CU applicants can apply through the limited institutional web portal. 

The School of Medicine had been planning to conduct a survey of faculty this fall, but after consultation with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), we plan to defer the survey until next spring. Our Office of Professional Excellence plans to use the AAMC’s survey instrument to have access to comparative data from peer institutions. The AAMC has made faculty surveys a top priority in the year ahead, which means we expect to have more data to assess our work climate relative to other major academic medical centers if we defer our survey until 2022. When we launched our survey in 2016, and conducted it again in 2018, we used surveys independent from the AAMC, which limited the comparability of data with other institutions. Due to the pandemic, our plan to conduct biennial surveys was disrupted. We expect to be back on track in 2022. Please watch for updates early next year. 

The Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and CU Innovations have announced a call for applications for the 2021 Gates Grubstake Fund awards. Multiple awards of $350,000 will be granted to investigators focused on accelerating basic, clinical, and translational research related to regenerative medicine. Applications are due on Tuesday, August 31. To apply, go to the Gates Grubstake Award website.  For further information, contact the Gates Center’s Entrepreneur in Residence and CU Innovations Director of Licensing Heather Callahan at 

The family of Robert W. Schrier, MD, former chair of the Department of Medicine, recently shared a recording of his memorial service, which was held on June 5. Colleagues are encouraged to share remembrances and memories on the family’s memorial site. Robert died on January 23. He was chair of the Department of Medicine for 26 years, from 1976 to 2002, as well as the head of the Division of Nephrology from 1972 to 1992. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology.

The School of Medicine community is mourning the death of Humphrey Petersen-Jones, a student in our MD/PhD training program. Humphrey died Friday night. We are saddened by Humphrey’s death and we know it will greatly impact our community because of the ties he had with many students, faculty, and staff. His parents have given us permission to share that Humphrey died by suicide. Senior Associate Dean for Education Shanta Zimmer, MD, and I met with Humphrey’s parents Saturday to offer condolences on behalf of the entire CU Anschutz community. Our Office of Student Life offered assistance to our students throughout the weekend, and our staff remains available to any who are seeking help. The campus Student and Resident Mental Health program is also available by calling 303-724-4716 or emailing Please contact them for confidential mental health services. Faculty and staff can also find support at the Department of Psychiatry’s Faculty and Staff Mental Health webpage. A funeral for Humphrey is scheduled to be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 22, at Horan and McConaty, 11150 E. Dartmouth Ave., Aurora.

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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