Dean's Weekly Message

October 24, 2022

Dear colleague:

David DiGregorio, PhD, head of the neuroscience department at Institute Pasteur in Paris, will become chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, effective Jan. 1, 2023. David’s research focuses on the understanding of how synapses, the connections between neurons in the brain, influence precisely timed movements. David earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Stanford University and his doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA. In 2010, he joined the Institute Pasteur, where he leads a multidisciplinary research team of neurophysiologists, computational neuroscientists, and physicists specializing in optics and statistical analyses. We look forward to his contributions on our campus. 

Many thanks to Angie Ribera, PhD, who has led the Department of Physiology and Biophysics for a decade, first as interim chair in 2012 and then as chair beginning in 2014. Last year, Angie accepted the newly created position of associate dean for research education for the School of Medicine, providing leadership and administration of the biomedical science PhD programs. We thank her for handling these important double duties. Also, thanks to the search committee, which convened during pandemic-related restrictions, to help identify the top-tier candidates we interviewed. The extraordinary efforts of the committee have helped us recruit an outstanding new chair. 

Chancellor Don Elliman presented the annual State of the Campus address last Wednesday, October 19. The talk collected impressive contributions by many of our colleagues on the Anschutz Medical Campus. If you were unable to attend or you want to watch it again, the full address is available online. During the address, Don highlighted members of the School of Medicine community and those individual videos are worth watching:

  • Mark Koenig and his wife, Sharon, discuss the care he received for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Manali Kamdar, MD, associate professor of medicine, describes the treatment Mark received, which was based on a clinical trial done on our campus.
  • Medical student Cameron Bean is featured talking about being the first MD candidate from the Southern Ute Tribe.
  • Moksha Patel, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and Rachel Davis, MD, associate professor of psychiatry, explain how deep brain stimulation has helped Moksha live his life and pursue his career.
  • A mentorship program led by Eduardo Davila, PhD, professor of medicine, features Katrina Claw, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics, and mentees Xander Bradeen and Leah Nez. 

The fall 2022 issue of CU Medicine Today magazine has been delivered and is available online too. In this issue, among the many articles you’ll find features about Moksha Patel, MD’s care, mentorship of Sanjana Bukkapatnam, MD ’22, by Sana Karam, MD, PhD, associate professor of radiation oncology, and the brave work in Ukraine by Dave Young, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine. 

Teri Reyburn-Orne, MSN, instructor of anesthesiology and associate director for the Comprehensive Pediatric Pain Service at Children’s Hospital Colorado, has been named president of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing at the group’s recent national conference. For the next two years, Teri will lead the largest nursing organization dedicated to advancing and promoting optimal nursing care for people affected by pain. 

Kay Denler, director of admissions and program systems for the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant (CHA/PA) Program, received the Administrative Award last week at the national conference of the Physician Assistant Education Association. Kay orchestrated a redesign of CHA/PA admissions to create an efficient process focused on holistic evaluation of applicants. CHA/PA has been using that redesigned admissions process for six years and it has led to recruitment of classes with the highest diversity in the history of the program. 

The Coalition on Physician Education in Substance Use Disorders announced last week that a team of students from our School of Medicine submitted a winning entry in its contest to design curriculum for integrating addiction medicine content into core clerkship rotations. The entry, “Integrating Training for Naloxone Administration and Buprenorphine Microdose Induction into the Medical Curriculum at CUSOM,” by Alyssa Cole and Tyler Igoe, both in the MD Class of 2025, and Morgan Avery, who is a member of the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Class of 2023, was one of four winning entries. 

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus honored the Rifkin family on Friday, October 21, for its support in creating the Rifkin and Bennis Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Bioinformatics. Their generous gift was announced in 2019, but due to the pandemic we hadn’t yet held an event to thank them personally. With this support, our School of Medicine recruited Sean Davis, MD, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in 2020. Sean is a professor in our Department of Biomedical Informatics and the associate director of informatics and data science at the CU Cancer Center. We remain grateful for the generous support. 

For more than a decade, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and the CU Center for the Bioethics and Humanities have hosted an annual research ethics conference. This year’s conference, “Real World Ethics for Artificial Intelligence Research: Managing the Issues,” will be Thursday, November 10. The hybrid event – in-person will be at the Fulginiti Pavilion and an online option will be available – will include several colleagues from our campus. The keynote presentation, “The Body of the Data: Equity & Inclusion,” will be presented by Nicole Martinez-Martin, JD, PhD, assistant professor (research) of pediatrics at Stanford University’s Center for Biomedical Ethics. To attend, please RSVP. 

Our Office of Research Educationis continuing its partnership with the Tattered Cover Book Store to provide talks on the basic science featured in current books. The second event , at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 17, at the store at 2526 E. Colfax Ave., will feature Mayra Bueno Guerrero and Lucas Blecker, PhD students in the Neuroscience Program and members of the Neuroscience Outreach Group. Mayra and Lucas will lead a session about “Your Brain on Drugs: How Psychedelics Affect Your Brain.” 

The CU chapter of White Coats for Black Lives on Thursday, October 20, called attention to the continuing need to address inequities in health care with the White Coats for Black Lives Die-In on the research quad of the Anschutz Medical Campus. The annual event occurs nationwide and calls attention to racial injustice, structural racism, and the adverse impact on the health and lives of Black people in our communities. 

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus last week hosted two celebrations for faculty marking significant career milestones. Tuesday evening, October 18, was the CU Anschutz Tenure and Promotion Reception where faculty members awarded tenure or promoted to the rank of associate professor or professor in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were invited to commemorate their achievements. On Thursday, October 20, we welcomed recent faculty recruits at the New Faculty Reception. Congratulations to all. 

Faculty judges are needed for the annual Student Research Forum Poster Presentations, which will be held Tuesday, December 13, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. At the forum, Anschutz Medical Campus students present their work and compete for awards. For this forum to succeed, we need faculty to participate, and so far, the response is lagging the need. Please sign up to be a judge . This year’s event will be virtual, so judges just need a good internet connection and Zoom capabilities. 

The newly established School of Medicine Administrative Fellowship Program is featured in an article posted earlier this month in the school’s newsroom. The fellowship is a 12-month post-graduate training program designed to prepare participants for administrative leadership roles in academic medicine. Many thanks to Lauren Ford, MHA, director of finance and administration for otolaryngology, and Lauren Collins, MHA, director of finance and administration for orthopedics, for developing the proposal with Brian T. Smith, MHA, senior associate dean of administration and finance for the School of Medicine. Brian will serve as the program preceptor. The first fellow is expected to start in 2023.

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 →

If you would like to receive these emails directly, please contact  

CMS Login