Dean's Weekly Message

March 11, 2024

Dear colleague: 

Match Day
We will host Match Day festivities in the atrium of Anschutz Health Sciences Building on Friday, March 15. Details about the day, including the program, a link to watch it on livestream, and profiles of some students, are available on the School of Medicine 2024 Match Day Celebration webpage.

Celebrating Our Colleagues
The School of Medicine is launching “CU Celebrates!” to recognize faculty and staff for their contributions to our school’s success. This initiative is intended to boost camaraderie with our colleagues for their valuable contributions to our missions. The school is adopting a platform that will make it easy for you to offer these kudos from your computer, through an app on your phone, or via Microsoft Teams. CU Celebrates! will use a customizable social feed that is designed to engage employees and leaders in peer-to-peer recognition. It also will welcome new employees and offer congratulations on reaching milestone work anniversaries. These features will go live in April. Beginning in July, eligible staff can receive points toward Amazon items, eGift cards, and more.  The School of Medicine Intranet will be where you can find the platform for CU Celebrates! and its related activity.

Faculty Updates
Meghan D. Althoff, MD, PhD,
 instructor of medicine, has been notified that she has been awarded funding from the Parker B. Francis Fellowship Program, which supports the development of outstanding investigators embarking on careers in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Fellows supported by a Parker B. Francis Fellowship must be assured of having at least 75% of their time available for research. Congratulations to Meghan and her mentor, Fernando Holguin, MD, professor of medicine, for succeeding in this highly competitive program.

Michael E. Wechsler, MD, MMSc, professor of medicine and a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health, is lead author of an original article published February 23 in The New England Journal of Medicine that examines treatment options for eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which is a rare inflammatory disorder characterized by asthma, necrotizing vasculitis, extravascular granulomas, and blood and tissue eosinophilia. In a multicenter, double-blind, phase 3, randomized clinical trial that included 140 patients, the study concludes that benralizumab, a monoclonal antibody, is associated with abatement of the condition.

Todd M. Pitts, PhD, associate professor of medicine, Christopher H. Lieu, MD, associate professor of medicine, Wells A. Messersmith, MD, professor of medicine and division head of medical oncology, Stacey M. Bagby, MPH, research services senior professional in medical oncology, are co-authors of an article published March 4 in Nature Computational Science that tests an algorithmic tool for making population-level comparisons of gene regulatory networks using high-throughput single-cell transcriptomics data. The authors find that this tool, known as SCORPION, offers improvements compared with other tools. The study showed that SCORPION was scalable to population-level analyses by using a single-cell RNA-sequencing atlas containing 200,436 cells from colorectal cancer and adjacent healthy tissues. The data included colorectal tumor samples collected by the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

S. Christopher Derderian, MD, assistant professor of surgery, is corresponding author of an article published March 7 by Scientific Reports that describes a study related to fetal growth restriction in a caloric-restricted mouse model. Chris and his co-authors, including seven colleagues from our school, analyzed microRNA-regulated molecular pathways and found that the caloric-restricted model results in aberrant pathways associated with angiogenesis, oxidative stress, signal transduction, apoptosis, and cell differentiation.

Praveer Singh, PhD, assistant professor of ophthalmology, and Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, PhD, professor of ophthalmology, are co-authors of an original investigation published March 7 by JAMA Ophthalmology that evaluates the ability of autonomous artificial intelligence (AI)–based screening in cases of retinopathy of prematurity.

Erica M. Wymore, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics, is corresponding author of an article published March 2 by the Journal of Perinatology that studies the relationship between severe hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and moderate-severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Seven colleagues from our campus are co-authors.

Lauren Fishbein, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, has been selected to join the board of directors of the Endocrine Society. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and is director of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Clinical and Research Program.

Edwin Asturias, MD, professor of pediatrics, has been invited to join the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His appointment is scheduled to begin July 1, 2024, and conclude June 30, 2028. The committee advises the CDC director on the utilization of vaccines and related agents to combat vaccine-preventable diseases.

Alumni Association Activity
The CU Medical Alumni Association is hosting its annual cultural event, featuring a reception at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and performance of MJ The Musical on Friday, April 19. School of Medicine alumni, housestaff, faculty, staff, and students can register for tickets until Tuesday, March 19. There are limited discounted tickets available. Registration includes access to the reception prior to the show. For questions, contact

The CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities is hosting an opening reception for two new exhibits in the Fulginiti Pavilion on Thursday, March 14, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The first exhibition, Raw Material, includes narrative quilts by NedRa Bonds. The quilts offer reflections on racial and social injustice, intimate encounters with the medical establishment, and her family legacy.  The second exhibition, 7,000 Babies, highlights the legacy of Justina Ford, MD (1871-1952), the first licensed Black female physician in Colorado and her extraordinary efforts to care for Denver’s communities over the span of 50 years. The Art Gallery in Fulginiti Pavilion is open to the public Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 5 :00 p.m. CU Anschutz-badged students, faculty and staff can access those days beginning at 9 a.m.

James DeGregori, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, and cancer biology PhD student Bridget Hoag will discuss “New Ideas about Cancer and Aging” at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. The talk is part of an ongoing series about biomedical research topics hosted at the bookstore in partnership with our Office of Research Education. All are invited 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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