Fernando Holguin, MD, MPH

Dr. Fernando Holguin is a Pulmonologist and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He grew up and became a doctor in Mexico City. He moved to the United States to train in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care at Emory University. Throughout his academic career, he has focused much on his work on research and patient care. He has been in practice for more than 25 years and has many clinical interests including asthma, asthma that is difficult to treat and severe asthma. Dr. Holguin is Director of the University of Colorado Asthma Research and Education (UCARE) Program, which primarily focuses on understanding how obesity and changes in metabolism influence airway function in asthma. The team is funded to study airway epithelial mechanisms of disease and phase II clinical trials for obese asthmatics. Dr. Holguin is also currently serving as the co-chair of the American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society Task Force on severe asthma.  He is an NIH, DOD, ALA and AsthmaNet investigator and has participated in the implementation and design of cross-over clinical trials related to asthma. He has authored or co-authored more than 170 papers and is internationally known for his work in asthma, COPD and air pollution. Outside of work, Dr. Holguin enjoys skiing, biking, reading, and spending time with his family. Please feel free to contact Dr. Holguin if you have any questions about our research.


Sunita Sharma, MD, MPH

Dr. Sunita Sharma is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Director of Clinical and Translational Research for the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Sharma obtained her Medical Degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, before completing her Internal Medicine Residency at Mayo Clinical College of Medicine. During her subspecialty fellowship training in the Harvard Combined Program in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, she obtained her Master of Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. She is a dedicated clinician-scientist who is interested in investigating the developmental origin of airways diseases. Her research experience includes a focus on the developmental origin of asthma using high-throughput genomic applications. After finishing her clinical fellowship in the Harvard combined program, she completed additional post-doctoral training at the Channing Division of Network Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she developed expertise in the genomic investigation of respiratory disease. She now leads a multidisciplinary group of scientists and biostatisticians in genomic analyses of lung development and asthma. She has extensive experience in clinical pulmonology, clinical asthma, and critical care medicine. She currently serves as the co-Director of the University of Colorado Asthma Research and Education (UCARE) Program. In this capacity, she works in the severe asthma clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital and participates in clinical trial design and implementation, patient recruitment and study retention for asthma studies as well as being a site director in the American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort. During her time off, Dr. Sharma enjoys hiking with her dog, skiing, and listening to live music.  She is also an avid Kansas Sports fan (Jayhawks, Chiefs, and Royals).


Meghan Althoff, MD, PhD

Dr. Meghan Althoff is a Pulmonary Science and Critical Care Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She earned her Medical Degree and PhD in Epidemiology from Tulane University and also holds a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the University of Colorado prior to her training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine as part of the Physician-Scientist Training Program. Dr. Althoff completed her clinical training with the University of Colorado and will continue her research with Drs. Holguin and Sharma. Dr. Althoff has published on the use of non-invasive ventilation in severe asthma exacerbation and more recently has become interested in metabolic drivers of asthma morbidity with a focus on sex-specific differences in asthma. She works with Dr. Holguin studying L-arginine and nitric oxide metabolism and plans to expand this work to examine sex-specific differences in asthma using multiple omics methods. Outside of the hospital, Dr. Althoff enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs. She is an avid gardener in the summer and started embroidery during the early days of the Covid pandemic. Unsurprisingly, she primarily embroiders pictures of lungs.  


Daniel Winnica, PhD

Scientist, Assistant Professor-Research

Daniel is one of the UCARE team scientist. He loves the work he does in the laboratory of the Asthma Research Team.  He loves designing experiments that would help to have a better understanding of the mechanisms of asthma phenotype. In his free time, he enjoys all of the outdoor activities along with his family.

David Keller

David Keller, RN, BSN

David is a Clinical Research Coordinator for Dr. Holguin and Dr. Sharma. He previously worked as an ICU nurse alongside these doctors on the Medical ICU at UCHealth and is excited to continue working with such a great team. Before his medical career began, David was a collegiate soccer coach and he also dabbled as a chef. In his free time, David loves to rock climb, play music, drink coffee, cook, be outside as much as possible and have quality time with family. He is regularly amazed and outsmarted by his 2 daughters, and he is continually trying to keep up with his ultra-marathoner wife (not possible).


Jennifer Bitzan, RN, BSN

Jenny is one of the Asthma Team’s Clinical Research Nurses. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, Mechanical Engineering, and is working towards her Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Working in asthma research allows her to use her analytical skills, while also working with amazing study participants. Her favorite part of clinical research is connecting with each participant and helping them manage their asthma so they can enjoy their lives. In her free time, she enjoys biking, gardening, and running and hiking with her two dogs in the Colorado mountains. 


Abby Hills, RN, BSN CCRN

Abby is one of the Asthma Team’s Clinical Research Nurses. She also works part time with Drs. Sharma and Holguin in the Medical ICU at UCHealth. She loves the work she does with the Asthma Research Team, as she loves connecting with our participants and helping them gain a deeper understanding of their asthma. In her free time she enjoys all of the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer- hiking, mountain biking, backpacking and skiing- you’ll often find her outside with her dog Izzy!

Dani Mead, RN, BSN

Dani is one of the UCARE Clinical Research Nurses. She started in healthcare as a volunteer and worked as a CNA in the Medical ICU, while she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She continued working with Dr. Sharma and Dr. Holguin as a nurse in the MICU and is excited to work with them in research. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, aerial arts, reading and spending time with her family.


Hope Cruse

As a research coordinator, Hope assists the UCARE team with its many research endeavors at the University. Graduating from the University of Mississippi with a biochemistry degree and a master’s in biomedical sciences, she is able to utilize her degrees in a way that allows her to interact with study participants as well as her science background. She enjoys working with participants as well as “behind the scenes” (regulatory). During her free time, she considers herself a foodie and enjoys checking out the new and local food scene in Denver. Coming from Mississippi, she also loves the outdoors and getting some fresh air.


Vong Smith

Vong is a Research Programs Manager with the UCARE team and the Pulmonary Translational Core (PTraC) at the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine. She enjoys her work because it allows her to dabble in everything from clinical research, finance administration, to grants management. Her other professional interests include maternal fetal medicine and pediatric research. Outside of work, Vong loves to spend quality time with her husband, daughter and their dog.  She loves camping, watching competitive sports, live music, traveling with her siblings, and chasing Blake Shelton around world.


Shuyu Ye

Shuyu is one of the Asthma Team's Science Researchers and works with a couple of the Pulmonary labs. She loves that she’s doing bench-to-bedside research and enjoys developing new research methods. She enjoys all the outdoor activities, especially while traveling.

Stephanie Dawrs 

Stephanie is a research laboratory professional for the UCARE team. Her research focuses on characterizing the mechanisms involved with airway inflammation, dysfunction, and damage in people with asthma. Stephanie graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Her previous studies included identifying host-pathogen interactions and environmental factors that contribute to the high prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease in Hawai’i. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys going hiking with her husband and dog, camping, and reading.

Pulmonary Sciences (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Research Complex II

12700 East 19th Avenue


Aurora, CO 80045


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