Dean's Weekly Message

March 25, 2024

Dear colleague: 

Nature Index
Nature published the Nature Index Health Sciences 2024 earlier this month. The lists highlight people and projects that are bringing fresh perspectives to some of the most complex challenges in medicine and provides an in-depth look at how one country – the United States – is dominating the field. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is No. 25 on the list of the world’s leading 200 institutions in health sciences ranked by their authorship share of articles in 64 medical journals from 2022 through mid-2023.

Faculty Updates 
Brandi Freeman, MD,
 associate professor of pediatrics, has been appointed to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry for a three-year term. The committee, which has up to 14 members, provides advice and recommendations on policy and program development and other matters of significance to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Megan J. Turner, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, is corresponding author of an article published March 20 in the Journal of Perinatology that evaluates whether three specific urine biomarkers of acute kidney injury would predict abnormal brain MRI findings. Having earlier markers to correlate with clinically significant brain injury would help clinicians in communicating prognostic information to families. Nicholas Stence, MD, professor of radiology, and Ilana Neuberger, MD, assistant professor of radiology, are co-authors on the article.

Terry Fry, MD, professor of pediatrics and executive director of the Gates Institute, is quoted in a news article published March 21 by Nature that discusses an Indian company producing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for a fraction of the cost of such commercial therapies produced in the United States. In the article Terry says the product is a reality check for researchers to look at the cost of making CAR-T cells.

Beth A. Jirón Tamburini, PhD, associate professor of medicine, is corresponding author of an article published March 21 by npj Vaccines that examines factors influencing how T cell-mediated immunity is generated and re-called. The study describes findings that outline an important mechanism by which lymph node stromal cell archived antigens, in addition to bystander activation, can augment memory CD8 + T cell responses during repeated inflammatory insults. Ten colleagues from our School of Medicine are co-authors.

Ulli Bayer, PhD, professor of pharmacology, is senior author of a review article published March 21 by Cell Reports that describes the complex protein CaMKII and provides a comprehensive overview of the expanding toolbox for studying it. Ulli and co-author Carolyn Nicole Brown, a graduate student in Ulli’s lab, outline the complex regulation of CaMKII, which is ubiquitous in cells throughout the body but is mostly recognized for its prominent roles in neurons and in the heart. “This review,” they write, “aims to help you, the reader, to study the role of CaMKII in your favorite cell type and/or your favorite cellular function.” Ulli discusses the work in an article in the campus newsroom.

Charles A. Dinarello, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, is one of the supervising authors of a correspondence published March 18 by Nature Immunology that offers nomenclature guidelines for the IL-1 family of cytokines and receptors. Fifteen co-authors from our campus are listed.

Bradley Corr, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, earlier this month presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists the results of a multistate clinical trial for treating patients with endometrial cancer. The trial examined an oral drug, rucaparib, and the findings demonstrate improved progression-free survival for patients. Bradley, a member of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, describes the research in an article in the cancer center’s newsroom.

Regents Consider Concealed Carry Ban
The University Affairs Committee of the CU Board of Regents last Tuesday discussed a proposal from Regent Wanda James to ban concealed carry weapons on CU campuses. I spoke in support of her proposal and to thank her for bringing this important issue forward.

Regent James said she is the only regent who is a military veteran, and she noted that she founded a gun range that trains people who are applying for concealed weapons permits. She said she is a “staunch Second Amendment supporter.” Still, she said, she believes a ban on campuses is appropriate.

Concealed carry was banned on CU campuses for more than 40 years. A state Supreme Court ruling in 2012 determined that the university could not ban concealed carry. In 2021, state lawmakers gave local authorities the power to adopt such bans. Under that law, our university is allowed to adopt a ban.

Our clinical partners on campus – UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado – already ban concealed weapons in their buildings. Also, the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center bans concealed weapons in its buildings.

In a Denver Post article about the meeting, Regent James said she is responding to requests from members of the CU community. “I’ve been a regent now for a little over a year and almost every meeting we have stepped in, we have had students, faculty or staff asking us to take up this motion,” she said. “It is difficult for me as a regent to sit down and to see so many people asking me or asking us to make changes in their house and then not at least having the conversation to make changes.”

The full Board of Regents is expected to discuss the proposal at its April 11-12 meeting at CU Denver.

Spring Break Travel Advice
Just in time for spring break travelers, Jessica Camacho, MD, assistant professor of medicine, is featured in an article in our school newsroom offering advice for avoiding jet lag. Jessica is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and specializes in the subject. The good news: Most symptoms fade quickly. Hopefully, your spring break delivers rest and relaxation.

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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