|Tom Blumenthal received his PhD in Genetics from Johns Hopkins University in 1970, where he worked on bacterial viruses. He was a Whitney Foundation postdoctoral fellow with James Watson at Harvard, where he discovered that a viral replication envyme contains proteins evolved to perform completely different roles for their host bacteria: protein synthesis elongation. In 1973, he became an Assistant Professor at Indiana University, where he remained until 1996, rising through the ranks to Professor and Chairman of Biological Sciences. In 1980, as a Guggenheim fellow, he did a sabbatical with Sydney Brenner at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, where he began work on the nematode worm, C. elegans. He studied developmental gene regulation and later began his most well-known work on mechanisms of mRNA processing and chromosomal gene organization. His laboratory is credited with the first discovery of operons in higher organisms. In 1993 he did a sabbatical with Barbara Meyer in Berkeley where he expanded his work on C. elegans mRNA processing. In 1997, he moved to the University of Colorado School of Medicine as Chairman of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In 2006, he moved to the University of Colorado Boulder as Chairman of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He assumed the position of Executive Director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome in 2012 but stepped down in July 2017. He holds also remains a Professor in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.1 Dr. Espinosa assumed the position of Executive Director at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome in July 2017. He is also a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, the co-Leader of the Molecular Oncology program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and the founding Director of the Functional Genomics Facility at the University of Colorado.
Dr. Espinosa received his B.S. in Biology from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1994, and a PhD in Biology from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1999. Supported by a fellowship from the PEW Charitable Trusts, Dr. Espinosa completed his post-doctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. In 2004, supported by a fellowship from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, he began his independent appointment at the University of Colorado Boulder, in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. In 2009 he was appointed to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an Early Career Scientist
, an appointment that he held until his move from Boulder to the Anschutz Medical Campus in 2015.
Dr. Espinosa directs a diverse research program both at the Department of Pharmacology and the Linda Crnic Institute, with an emphasis on understanding how gene networks control cell behavior and organismal function. Their two main focus areas are cancer biology and Down syndrome. To learn more about the research projects in the Espinosa lab and read their publications, please visit their website here
In his role as the Associate Director for Science and now as the Executive Director, Dr. Espinosa works in collaboration with all the scientists in the Institute, both in the intramural and extramural programs, to identify research priority areas, promote collaborations within and outside the Institute, facilitate interactions with the clinical care operations at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome, facilitate adoption of new technologies, and advance the research mission of the Institute in the national and international arenas.2
Dr. Katheleen Gardiner is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Gardiner received a B.S. degree in Honors Physics from McGill University in Montreal. She then spent 2 ½ years teaching high school general science and physics in Kanye, Botswana. She received a PhD from the Department of Biophysics and Genetics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, for studies on RNA processing in bacteria, work which subsequently was awarded a Nobel Prize.
During a postdoctoral fellowship at the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Denver Colorado, Dr. Gardiner began working on Down syndrome, initially mapping genes on human chromosome 21 at the start of the human genome project. This work led to her chairing an international committee on genomic sequence annotation when the complete DNA sequence of human chromosome 21 was generated and published in 2000. Dr. Gardiner continued to focus her research on human chromosome 21 and Down syndrome, first at the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, then at the University of Denver. She moved to the University of Colorado in 2007 and joined the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome in 2012. Current research focuses on protein expression in mouse and human model systems of Down syndrome, and combines wet bench experimental work with computational approaches. The goal is to identify critical patterns in gene expression that underlie learning and memory deficits and to manipulate these with drug treatments to rescue cognitive deficits.
Dr. Gardiner organized several international conferences on Down syndrome and the biology of human chromosome 21 in Washington DC, and co-organized similar conferences held at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin. She recently organized a conference entitled “Cognition in Down syndrome: molecular, cellular and behavioral phenotypes and the promise of pharmacotherapeutics” held in Washington, DC.3
Dr. Huntington Potter is Professor of Neurology and Director of Alzheimer's Disease Research in the Department of Neurology and the Linda Crnic Center for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado, Denver. He discovered and is devoted to studying the mechanistic relationship between Alzheimer’s Disease and Downs syndrome. Recognizing that these disorders are two sides of the same coin and studying them together will best hasten the development of new treatments for both.
Prior to joining UC Denver, Dr. Potter studied, researched and taught for 30 years at Harvard University. He received his AB Cum Laude in Physics and Chemistry and his MA and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology before spending 13 years on the faculty of the Neurobiology Department. In 1998, he joined the Faculty at the University of South Florida as the Eric Pfeiffer Chair for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease. He designed and directed the NIA-designated Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at USF and was elected President of the Faculty at the College of Medicine, and President of the USF Tampa Faculty Senate. From 2004-2008, he was CEO and Scientific Director of the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer’s Center & Research Institute, during which time the Institute built the largest free-standing Alzheimer’s disease research institute in the world and developed 7 new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease in preparation for human trials, before joining USF.
Dr. Potter is credited with the first demonstration of the Holliday intermediate in genetic recombination, the perfection of electroporation for gene transfer, and the discovery of the essential role of inflammation and the amyloid-promoting activity of the apoE-4 protein in Alzheimer's disease. He also discovered that Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome, which invariably leads to Alzheimer's by age 30-40, are mechanistically related to each other and to cancer through the development of cells with abnormal numbers of chromosomes, which will be the focus of his research at UC Denver. He is author of over 100 scientific articles and books, is the holder of 15 U.S. and foreign patents, has sat on scientific advisory and review committees in academia, industry and government, and has received numerous awards for his work. In 2010, Dr. Potter was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His electron micrographs of DNA are on permanent exhibit in the National American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C..4