(Jan. 27, 2016) At his first State of the School address on Wednesday
University of Colorado School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, named
five recipients of Transformational Research Funding awards.
Last fall, 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
The five selected proposals are:
- Data Science to Patient Value (D2V), which aims to build infrastructure, develop methods and
establish implementation pathways to prepare for population health.
The team leaders are Jean Kutner, MD, MPH, professor of
medicine, chief medical officer for University of Colorado Hospital and associate
dean for clinical affairs for the School of Medicine; Michael Ho, director of
the Denver VA Center of Innovation; Lisa Schilling, MD, MSPH, professor of
medicine and medical director of the Office of Value Based Performance; and
Michael Kahn, MD, professor of pediatrics, director of informatics, Children’s
Hospital Colorado, and interim director of Health Data Compass.
- The GI and Liver
Innate Immune Program, which aims to diagnose, treat and understand
gastrointestinal and liver disease in children and adults.
The team leaders 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; and Hugo Rosen, professor of
medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative, which will build on existing strengths in
immunology to capture the next wave of development in the field, treating and,
in many cases curing, diseases by interventions that target immunological
The team leaders are John Cambier, PhD, chairman of
immunology and microbiology; Andrew Fontenot, MD, professor of medicine and
head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; and Dan Theodorescu,
MD, PhD, professor of surgery and pharmacology and director of the University
of Colorado Cancer Center.
- The RNA Bioscience
Initiative, which will focus 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.
The team leaders are David Bentley, PhD, professor of
biochemistry and molecular genetics; Richard Davis, PhD, professor of
biochemistry and molecular genetics; Jay Hesselberth, PhD, assistant professor
of biochemistry and molecular genetics; Eric Poeschla, MD, professor of
medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases; Linda van Dyk, PhD,
associate professor and vice chair of immunology and microbiology; and Craig
Jordan, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology.
- The Consortium for
Fibrosis Research and Translation, which will impact human health through
discoveries of fundamental mechanisms of fibrosis, and to use this knowledge as
a platform for developing transformative therapies to treat fibrotic disease,
covering multiple organs. The consortium will also address organ regeneration,
inflammation and epigenetics.
The team leaders are Timothy McKinsey, PhD, associate
professor of medicine and associate division head for translational research in
the Division of Cardiology; and Mary Weiser-Evans, PhD, professor of medicine.
The School is supporting 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
In announcing the selections during the State of the
School address, Reilly said the choices were the most highly rated by the
external reviewers and meet several goals.
“We wanted to try to fund the most highly rated programs
from our study section and do a variety of other goals, including cross-disciplinary
collaboration, involvement of partners from other institutions, include a
variety of topics where we can have high impact, a spectrum of age of the
patients affected by this type of research.
“There are lot of worthy projects that we did not have
the resources to fund. I think my job is to go out and try to identify the
resources to capitalize on those other opportunities. That said, I’m very proud
of these projects. I think they encompass a broad swath of areas. It
incorporates a lot of our existing faculty. It’s going to provide the
opportunity to build our research capabilities and attract a lot of new faculty
to this campus.”