Transformational Research Funding

At his first State of the School address on Wednesday January 27, 2016, University of Colorado School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, named five recipients of Transformational Research Funding awards.  

In the fall of 2015, Dean Reilly announced a competitive process for applicants to seek funding for proposals that would position the University of Colorado School of Medicine as a leader in cutting-edge and emerging fields, attract extramural funding, help recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance education and training, and positively impact human lives and society in Colorado, the nation and the world. 

The proposals were selected by an external review committee. 

The five selected proposals are:  

Data Science to Patient Value (D2V), is a multidisciplinary research initiative that focuses on Big Data methods, their applications to medicine and health care delivery, and ultimately, the achievement of high value, patient-centered health care.

The team leaders for D2V are:

  • Jean Kutner, MD, MSPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine, Chief Medical Officer for University of Colorado Hospital and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for the School of Medicine
  • Michael Ho, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology and Director of the Denver VA Center of Innovation
  • Lisa Schilling, MD, MSPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the Office of Value Based Performance. 

To learn more, please visit D2V   

The GI and Liver Innate Immune Program (GALIIP), aim to diagnose, treat and understand gastrointestinal and liver disease in children and adults.  

The team leaders for GALIIP are:

  • Sean Colgan, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Immunology
  • Ron Sokol, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Director of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute 

To learn more, please visit GALIIP 

The Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative (HI3), Now in its fourth year of support from Dean’s transformational funding, the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative (HI3) has made tremendous strides in building CU discovery, translation and clinical programs devoted to harnessing the human immune system for therapy. Newly developed programs deliver cutting-edge cancer therapy using CAR-T cells and checkpoint blockade, and are moving new therapies into the clinic. Key successes of the HIII include recruitment of ten new faculty who are expert in human immunology, establishment of new and internationally unique infrastructure for comprehensive monitoring of immunologic parameters in humans undergoing therapy, reliable production of cell-based and protein immunotherapeutics, provision of huSCID experimental models 

for preclinical testing of new candidate therapeutics, and training of future scientific leaders in the realm of human immunology. HI3 activities have complemented existing campus strengths to achieve the goal of national prominence in human immune system-targeted therapies on the CU Anschutz medical campus. 

The team leaders for HI3 are:

  • John Cambier, PhD, Distinguished Professor of immunology and Microbiology
  • Terry Fry, MD, Professor of Pediatrics - hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant
  • Andrew Fontenot, MD, Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 

To learn more, please visit HI3 

The RNA Bioscience Initiative, focuses on developments in understanding of RNA biology, including its biogenesis and structure, the identification of functions for various classes of RNAs, establishing the role of RNA in disease and exploring RNA-based and RNA-targeted therapies.

Team leaders for RNA are:

  • Richard Davis, PhD, Director- Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • David Bentley, PhD, Co-Director- Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • Jay Hesselberth, PhD, Co-Director- Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. 

To learn more, please visit RNA

The Consortium for Fibrosis Research and Translation (CFReT), is a unique initiative where experts in the molecular mechanisms and treatment of fibrotic diseases across organ systems are integrated within a single institution. The overall mission of the CFReT is to establish new internal collaborations that lead to enhanced extramural funding in the area of fibrosis research, to establish unique industry partnerships and philanthropic opportunities for UCD faculty, to establish innovative core services to help advance the ongoing fibrosis-related work on campus, and to establish an exciting training environment that enhances institutional strengths in education.  

Team leaders for CFReT are:

  • Timothy McKinsey, Director and Professor of Medicine
  • Mary Weiser-Evans, co-Director and Professor of Medicine 

To learn more please visit CFReT 

The School of Medicine currently supports these proposals, each with a five-year budget totaling between $10 million and $20 million. Funding for the proposals comes from clinical earnings of the faculty, from annual financial support from the University of Colorado Health and philanthropy, including a commitment of $15 million by the Anschutz Foundation. No state-appropriated funding or student tuition or fees are being used for the Transformational Research Funding awards. 


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