Dean's Weekly Message

June 3, 2024

Dear Colleague: 

Welcome New Physical Therapy Students
Our Physical Therapy Program last Thursday welcomed 108 new students to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Class of 2026. Seventy-three of those students will be studying on our campus in the residential pathway, and 35 students are joining the inaugural hybrid pathway cohort, which is a partnership with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Many thanks to Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, professor, program director, and associate dean of physical therapy education, and Dan Malone, PT, PhD, associate professor, for their diligent work in setting up the hybrid collaboration. This partnership offers more opportunities for learners and more well-trained physical therapists to serve our communities.

Faculty Updates
Lisa Abuogi, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, is corresponding author of a clinical report published May 20 by Pediatrics reporting that the risk of HIV transmission via breastfeeding from a parent with HIV who is receiving antiretroviral treatment and is virally suppressed is estimated to be less than 1%. Based on the report, the American Academy of Pediatrics said those parents can breastfeed their babies. Christiana Smith, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, is a co-author.
An Associated Press article covered the news.

Susan Niermeyer, MD, MPH, professor emerita of pediatrics, and James S. Barry, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, are co-authors of an original investigation published May 17 by JAMA Network Open that evaluates whether assisted ventilation in extremely preterm infants followed by cord clamping reduces intraventricular hemorrhage or early death.

Prem S. Subramanian, MD, PhD, professor of ophthalmology, is corresponding author of a review article published May 23 by the journal Eye showing that the use of neuroimaging allows ophthalmologists to identify structural lesions in the orbit or along the neuroaxis that allow for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients with neuro-ophthalmic diseases. Zahir Sheikh, MD, a neuro-ophthalmology fellow, is a co-author.

Nathan Dahl, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, is corresponding author of an article published May 30 by Nature Communications that examines the dynamics of chromatin reorganization and P-TEFb-mediated transcriptional induction in response to radiotherapy in pediatric high-grade gliomas. Nathan and 15 co-authors from CU also investigate whether pharmacologic disruption of this adaptive reprogramming can be employed for therapeutic effect.

Lotte Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, senior associate dean for faculty, chief well-being officer, and professor of medicine, is co-author of an article about team-based care that was included last month in the Patient Safety Network Collection by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The article, published in March 2024 in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety , describes a national, cross-sectional study that found higher ratings for teamwork and safety climate were associated with lower odds of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout.

Casey Greene, PhD, professor and chair of biomedical informatics, has been selected as the inaugural holder of the newly established Marsico Chair in Excellence in Biomedical Information Technology. This emerging field, which uses an individual’s genetic profile and health records to develop personally tailored treatments and cures, is an important opportunity for our campus, and we are grateful for the generous support for an endowed chair.

Francisco Asturias, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and director of the Cryo-EM core facility, has received a $1.5 million high-end instrumentation grant from the National Institutes of Health to support a major upgrade to the Cryo-EM Shared Resource Facility. The upgrade will significantly increase cryo-EM data collection capabilities and represents a critical step toward bringing new 3D cellular imaging capabilities to our campus.

Andrii Khomiak, MD, resident in surgery, was recognized for his research on gallbladder cancer by the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association in April, winning the Rising Star Award presented for best paper by a junior surgeon. An article in the Department of Surgery’s newsroom includes additional information about Andrii and his research with Benedetto Mungo, MD, assistant professor of surgery.

Marco Del Chiaro, MD, PhD, professor of surgery and division chief of surgical oncology, discusses the Department of Surgery’s designation as a Pancreatitis Center of Excellence by the National Pancreas Foundation in an article recently posted in the surgery newsroom.

Nicole Baumer, MD, has been named director of the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado, effective July 1. She will also be visiting associate professor of pediatrics. Nicole is director of the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and an assistant professor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Irina Petrache, MD, chief of the pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine division and associate vice president of faculty development at National Jewish Health, and professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, discusses her agenda as president of the American Thoracic Society for the 2024-2025 term in an article published May 21 in Healio.

The Boettcher Foundation announced its 2024 Class of Boettcher Investigators in May. Each awardee receives $250,000 from the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Program to support three years of scientific research. Among this year’s eight awardees are three faculty from our School of Medicine:

  • Benjamin J. Kopecky, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology. Dissecting the smooth muscle cell pathobiology driving cardiac allograft vasculopathy.
  • Jennifer McKey, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics. Investigating the contribution of follicle activation in the perinatal ovary to the establishment of female fertility.
  • Jessica Nelson, PhD, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology. Molecular-genetic mechanisms underlying establishment of sensory thresholds.

Digital Accessibility Law
A state law that requires the university to meet digital accessibility standards for all information technology – both external- and internal-facing – takes effect July 1. HB21-1110 makes it a state civil rights violation for a government agency to exclude people with disabilities from receiving services or benefits because of lack of accessibility. Any Colorado government entity that doesn’t meet the state’s web accessibility standards could be subject to fines. Questions about the law should be directed to

Innovation Forum
CU Innovations is hosting an Innovation Forum on June 10-12 in the Elliman Conference Center in the Anschutz Health Sciences Building. Topics include bridging the funding gap for translational research, recognizing valuable intellectual property, knowing when to start a new company, and leveraging your team’s diverse skills for greater impact. Details are available in the announcement on the campus events calendar.

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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