2019 Panel

Steven Anderson, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Steven M. Anderson, Ph.D. is the James C. Todd Professor in Experimental Pathology and the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  His research interests have focused upon the use of mouse models to understand mammary gland development, lactation, and mammary tumorigenesis. In recent years, this has expanded to demonstrate the critical role of glucose metabolism in mammary tumorigenesis.  He has been part of a group of investigators that have used rodent models to examine the role of diabetes and obesity in enhancing mammary tumorigenesis.  Given the fact that over two-thirds of women are either overweight or obese, understanding the impact of these diseases upon cancer has become an important health issue.

David Bentley, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

David Bentley (PhD, Cambridge University) is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (1998-) and Co-Director of the RNA Bioscience Initiative (2016-) at the U. Colorado School of Medicine. He previously held group leader positions at the Amgen Institute U. Toronto (1995-’98), and Cancer Research UK (1987-1995). He has served frequently on NIH study sections, and directed the Biomedical Sciences graduate program at U. Colorado. At the U. Colorado RNA Bioscience Initiative he is responsible for faculty hiring, a grants program in RNA Biology and establishment of a single-cell RNA-seq facility. His research makes extensive use of high throughput genomic sequencing on Illumina platforms and bioinformatic analysis of ChIP-seq and RNA-seq datasets.

Bentley’s research has made contributions to understanding gene expression in normal and cancer cells through investigations of how genetic information is transcribed from DNA into messenger RNA (mRNA). His work has focused on two areas: 1) control of transcriptional elongation and 2) integration of mRNA processing with transcription.  He and Mark Groudine at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center discovered that expression of the c-myc oncogene, that is mis-expressed in many cancer cells is regulated by limiting transcription elongation. Regulated elongation is now known to apply to a large fraction of genes and is of general importance in control of gene expression. Bentley showed that transcriptional activator proteins, previously thought to act exclusively at the initiation step, can also regulate transcription elongation. His lab discovered that maturation of mRNA by capping, splicing and 3’ end processing is coupled to synthesis of the transcript by a mechanism that requires the conserved C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II (pol II). This work gave rise to the “mRNA factory” model for coupled transcription and mRNA maturation through direct binding of mRNA processing factors to the CTD of pol II engaged on the gene. This model has stimulated a new area of research focused on integration of different steps in mRNA biogenesis. 

Christopher A. DeSouza, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. DeSouza is a professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado (UC), Boulder. He is Co-Director of the Clinical Translational Research Center at UC-Boulder and Director of the Integrative vascular Biology Laboratory. Dr. DeSouza's research focuses on vascular endothelial cell biology and the effects of cardiometabolic risk factors and HIV-1 as well as lifestyle and pharmacological interventions on endothelial health in adult humans. His laboratory is supported by awards from the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association and Forest Research Laboratories. Dr. DeSouza completed his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto and graduate degrees at George Washington University and the University of Maryland.

 Jorge Di Paola, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Di Paola is a Tenured Professor of Pediatrics, Hematology and Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  He is the Director of Pediatric Hematology and the Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program.  He holds the Postle Family Chair in Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Dr. Di Paola’s research focuses on the genetics of bleeding and thrombotic disorders and mechanisms of platelet activation.  His laboratory has found disease causing genes for thrombocytopenia as well as a cancer predisposition syndrome.  He has been invited nationally and internationally to give lectures in genetics of blood disorders including lectures at Keystone Symposia and Gordon Research Conferences.  He is a past President of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society and the Chair of the 2016 Gordon Research Conference in Hemostasis.  He has been a permanent member of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Hemostasis and Thrombosis Study Section and he is the immediate Past Chair Chair of the von Willebrand factor scientific subcommittee of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.  He was elected Vice President of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology in 2018.

Dr. Di Paola has trained more than 20 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.  His awards include the Frank Oski Memorial Lectureship Award from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and the Arthur Thompson lectureship for the University of Washington.  He is a member of the Editorial Board of the journals Rare Diseases and Blood.  Dr. Di Paola is an elected member of the ATVB Council of the American Heart Association, of the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Jennifer Diamond, MD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Jennifer Diamond, M.D., joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty in August 2010 as an Assistant Professor, as well as an active participant in the Developmental Therapeutics and Breast Cancer Research Programs.  Dr. Diamond is an active member of the CU Cancer Center and served as the Director of the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee in the CU Cancer Center from 2012-2016.  Dr. Diamond currently serves as the Medical Director of the CU Cancer Center’s CCTO.  In 2016, Dr. Diamond founded the Women’s Cancer Developmental Therapeutics Program with Co-Director, Christine Fisher, MD.  Dr. Diamond is a member of the Southwest Oncology Group’s Breast Cancer and Early Therapeutics and Rare Cancers Committees and the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) Phase I Working Group.

Robin Dowell, D.Sc., University of Colorado Boulder

Robin Dowell is an Associate Professor in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  She is a member of the BioFrontiers Institute and the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome.  She received her D.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, a M.S. in Computer Science, a B.S. in Genetics, and a second B.S. in Computer Engineering.

Robin's research has focused on using comparative genomics between closely related individuals to uncover mechanistic understanding of transcriptional regulation .   Recent efforts have focused on enhancers and their associated transcripts (eRNAs) which we study by leveraging measures of nascent transcription.   One particular application of interest is understanding molecular dysregulation in Down syndrome.   To this end she leverages a variety of experimental and computational approaches that draw on machine learning, genetics and molecular biology.   As much of her work leverages novel data or integrates across diverse large-scale datasets, she frequently develops new computational approaches in order to answer critical biological questions.

Paul Jedlicka, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Paul Jedlicka is a physician-scientist, and former Boettcher Investigator, specializing in pediatric pathology and understanding of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis and treatment of pediatric sarcoma.

Matthew Kennedy, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Kennedy received his PhD from the University of Washington where he investigated the chemical reactions responsible for controlling how rod and cone photoreceptors in the retina respond to light.  He did postdoctoral fellowships at University of California, San Francisco and Duke University where he investigated how neuronal connections form and how they are shaped by experience for learning and memory.  The Kennedy lab continues to investigate how synapses in the central nervous system are modified by experience, with the ultimate goal of understanding how these mechanisms contribute to normal cognitive function and how they break down in various brain diseases and disorders.  Dr. Kennedy is a member of the Department of Pharmacology at the Anschutz Medical Campus and is supported by grants from NINDS, NIMH, NIA, The Brain Research Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The McKnight Foundation and the Linda Crnic Institute.  Dr. Kennedy is a former Boettcher Investigator. 

Wendy Kohrt,  PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Nancy Anschutz Chair in Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  She is the Director of Research for Geriatric Medicine, Associate Director of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research, and Associate Director of Research for the Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC).  Dr. Kohrt has been conducting research on aging and women’s health for 28 years, with an emphasis on metabolic actions of estrogens and changes in bioenergetics and metabolism that occur as a result of the loss of ovarian function.  She has received continuous funding from the NIH as a principal investigator since 1990 and has more than 230 research publications.  She is currently the principal investigator for NIH U54, U01, and R01 awards and a VA Clinical Sciences pilot award.  She chairs the Executive and Steering Committees for the NIH Common Fund initiative on Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity (MoTrPAC).

Christopher Link, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Link’s background is originally in molecular genetics and developmental biology, and his lab initially began using the invertebrate worm Caenorhabditis elegans for classic developmental genetic studies. In 1992, Dr. Link’s group initiated a new series of experiments by transgenically engineering C. elegans to express the human beta amyloid peptide, which is centrally involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. In this model, the beta amyloid peptide accumulates intracellularly, forms amyloid, and results in cellular pathology. The goal of his studies is to understand the molecular and cellular basis of this toxicity, and to investigate how these processes might be involved in Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Link takes advantage of experimental tools available in C. elegans, such as forward genetic screens, microarray-based gene expression studies, and dsRNA-based gene inhibition, to help identify specific genes involved in beta amyloid toxicity.

Dr. Link is currently expanding his studies to generate additional transgenic models for other neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington's and ALS. There is increasing evidence that different neurodegenerative diseases may have common underlying mechanisms, which he hopes to address by comparative transgenic modeling in C. elegans.

Wendy B. Macklin, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Wendy Macklin received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, and was on the faculty at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She moved to the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2009 as Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. While on the faculty at UCLA, she was a member of the Mental Retardation Research Center, where she interacted extensively with the different research groups focused on genetic, cellular and behavioral aspects of neurologic developmental delay. Thus, much of her research has focused on developmental neurobiology, primarily investigating myelination in normal, mutant and transgenic animals. She studies oligodendrocyte development and myelination, with a primary interest in the signaling pathways by which glial cells and neurons communicate to enhance both myelin production and axonal survival and function. Additionally, her laboratory investigates myelin repair in the adult central nervous system. These studies, many of which have been supported by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, have direct relevance to repair in multiple sclerosis. Through her work at the Cleveland Clinic, she was a co-founder of Renovo Neural, Inc., which is a specialized research organization designed to screen remyelination drugs.

Kristen Nadeau, MD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Kristen Nadeau, M.D., is a member of the School of Medicine, Pediatric Endocrinology. Dr. Nadeau has become a national and international authority in the metabolic consequences of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and is an invited speaker at many conferences addressing these issues. As a result of her research, she has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, including original articles, abstracts and chapters in books.

Her studies have shown that there have been significant changes in lifestyle, nutrition, and physical activity for kids. Minority and low income kids are disproportionately affected by obesity and type 2 diabetes. Adolescent girls also suffer more from type 2 diabetes than boys.             Dr. Nadeau wants to reduce cardiovascular complications in kids who develop diabetes in their childhood years to decrease their morbidity and their mortality.

Lee Niswander, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder​

Dr. Niswander completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder and her Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  She completed her Doctorate in Genetics at Case Western Reserve University and Post Doctorate fellowship in Developmental Biology at the University of California, San Francisco.  She was formerly a faculty member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and and at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver.  She is currently the Chair of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder.

The Niswander lab investigates novel mouse models of embryonic development with the overarching goal of providing insights into fundamental developmental processes, major human birth defects and potential clinical therapies. Her studies over the years have provided a unique perspective on the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as lung, limb, and neuromuscular development. The current focus of the lab is on the common and severe birth defect wherein the neural tube (NT) fails to close resulting in neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida. Using a combination of genetic, molecular, biochemical and cell biological assays they have identified numerous genes involved in NT closure and determined their mechanisms of action. Niswander’s lab also developed innovative methods for time-lapse imaging of the living mammalian embryo to couple molecular insights to the regulation of cell behaviors that drive NT closure. Environmental factors clearly influence human NTD risk, and her lab uses mouse models to explore gene-environment interactions that influence NTD incidence.

Chad G. Pearson, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Chad Pearson is an Associate Professor in Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He is a Boettcher Investigator, Pew Scholar, American Cancer Society Scholar and a member of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. Chad received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. His doctorate was performed in the Biology Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Drs. Kerry Bloom and E.D. Salmon. His Damon Runyan Cancer Research Fellowship was completed at the University of Colorado – Boulder with Dr. Mark Winey in the department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

Chad’s research is broadly focused on the organization of microtubules using evolutionary divergent model systems. These interests are focused toward understanding how microtubule organizing centers control mitosis, cilia and cellular polarity and morphogenesis. Cancer cells commonly possess defects in the number of microtubule organizing centers and the Pearson Lab is focused on how this is caused and its detrimental impacts on chromosome segregation and cellular motility. Chad is also interested in how microtubule organizing centers may be disrupted in Down syndrome to eventually cause both mitotic and ciliary defects. Finally, the Pearson Lab studies how motile cilia, that are responsible for fundamental events in muco-ciliary clearance and cerebral spinal fluid flow, are polarized and organized to generate effective fluid movement. The foundation of this polarization and organization lies at the microtubule organizing center. Chad’s work aims to dissect how microtubule organization occurs and, when defective, contributes to human disease.

Roberta Pelanda, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Pelanda's research studies the mechanisms that lead to the development of the primary B cell repertoire.  These studies have been focused on exploring how B cells are selected out of the bone marrow, on identifying the molecular mechanisms that drive this selection for both nonautoreactive and autoreactive B cells, and to determine characteristics and mechanisms of B cells that participate in autoimmune responses.  While most studies have been classically performed in mice, to bridge further studies in humans they test their discoveries in hematopoietic humanized mice, imunonodeficient mice that carry a human immune system.  Dr. Pelanda is particularly intrigued in delineating the molecular mechanisms that lead to central negative and positive selection of autoreactive B cells and in recent studies they have developed a humanized mouse model to investigate these processes in human B cells from healthy and autoimmune prone individuals.

Christopher Phiel, PhD, University of Colorado Denver

Christopher Phiel, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Colorado Denver.  The main interest of Dr. Phiel’s lab is understanding how extracellular signals are transmitted within mammalian cells. In particular, he studies the various biological functions regulated by an intracellular enzyme, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (Gsk-3). More specifically, the lab has a keen interest in understanding why Gsk-3 deletion or inhibition promotes pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells. They have recently discovered a novel role for Gsk-3 in the regulation of mRNA methylation via controlling levels of the RNA demethylase FTO. Since mRNA methylation had independently been found to be a key regulator of stem cell pluripotency, they speculate that Gsk-3 is regulating pluripotency via this mechanism.

Robin Shandas, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Shandas has a long history of developing novel methods for translational bioengineering. In medical ultrasonics, he pioneered the Echo PIV technique, an opaque flow velocimetry technique for measuring details of cardiovascular blood flow through high frame rate ultrasound imaging coupled with contrast backscatter. In cardiovascular biomechanics, he studies the effect of vascular mechanical changes on pulmonary hypertension in children. He also has an emerging research program around next-generation medical polymers including shape memory polymers for medical devices. Dr. Shandas has started-up 4 companies and is actively involved in mentoring graduate students, medical fellows, and junior faculty.

Projects:

  • Shape memory polymers for next-generation minimally invasive biomedical devices (biomedical devices and design, materials)
  • Understanding progression of pulmonary hypertension in children (soft-tissue biomechanics, fluid dynamics, imaging)
  • Hemodynamic vascular profiling using echo particle image velocimetry (medical ultrasonics, fluid dynamics, imaging)
  • Starting up biomedical device companies

John R. Sladek, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

John Sladek is Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Director for Outreach and Development for the Center for Neuroscience, and previously served as the founding Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (2001-2006). His office provided oversight for $350M in annual research expenditures and over 3000 clinical trials. As Chief Research Officer he created the initial vision for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down syndrome. Since 1974 he has maintained an NIH-funded laboratory studying neural repair mechanisms for Parkinson’s disease and developmental brain disorders. His first two publications from his graduate research appeared in the journal Science and he has published over 200 scientific manuscripts.

Nine years after earning his doctorate he was appointed as Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester School of Medicine (1982-1991), where he held the Kilian and Caroline Schmitt Chair. He next founded and for ten years chaired the Department of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School. He is past president of the Society for Neuroscience - Chicago Chapter and was Founding President of the American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair. He received their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He has presented over 300 invited lectures throughout the world.

He served as Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Neurology for 15 years and is credited with revitalizing the journal to become a leader in neural repair and regeneration. He served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was elected Chair of the grants review group for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) a state agency responsible for awarding $3B for translational stem cell research in human disease. He has been a member of approximately national 100 review panels.

Professor Sladek received his B.A. from Carthage College, where he serves as a Trustee, his M.S. from Northwestern University School of Medicine, and his Ph.D. from the Chicago Medical School. John Sladek was elected as the sixth President of California Lutheran University in 2006. During his service the university enjoyed a record enrollment and surpassed all prior years in philanthropy.

He is married to Dr. Celia Sladek, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. They have three grown children and enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing and cycling. John was Captain of Team AHEC for the 2011 and 2012 Courage Classic charity cycling event and is an accomplished jazz saxophonist and nature photographer.

Ronald Sokol, MD, Anschutz Medical Campus (Chair)

Dr. Ronald J. Sokol received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, his MD from the University of Chicago/Pritzker School of Medicine, and his pediatric residency training at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. He then completed a three-year fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in 1983 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Sokol has been a faculty member at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado since 1983 and is now Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical and Translational Research in the Department of Pediatrics and Section Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Digestive Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is Director and Principal Investigator of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at University of Colorado Denver, funded by the NIH, which has transformed the clinical and translational research environment and training programs at the University of Colorado and six affiliated hospitals and health care organizations. Dr. Sokol’s major scientific interests are investigating the etiology and cellular and immunologic pathogenesis of biliary atresia; the mechanisms of liver cell injury in cholestatic, fatty liver disease and parenteral nutrition associated liver injury; the role of mitochondria and oxidative stress in liver injury; and developing predictive models for childhood liver diseases. Dr. Sokol is Chair of the Steering Committee of the NIH-supported Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN). Dr. Sokol is a former President of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN). He has been cited in the book, “Best Doctors in America” since 1994 and received the 2003 Nutrition Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the 2009 James E. Strain Award in Pediatrics from Children’s Hospital Colorado and the 2009 Harry Shwachman Award from NASPGHAN. Dr. Sokol has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, 100 chapters and review articles, 10 books or monographs, and over 300 research abstracts. He is Co-Editor of “Liver Disease in Children,” the leading textbook in pediatric hepatology.

Kurt R. Stenmark, MD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Stenmark is Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Anesthesiology and is Head of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Director, Cardiovascular Pulmonary Research Laboratory at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) and The Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado. He joined the Pediatric faculty at UCD in 1984 as an Assistant Professor, was made Associate Professor with Tenure in 1989, and full Professor with Tenure in 1994.  He has been the Division Head of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine since 1987 and Director of the Cardiovascular Pulmonary Research Laboratory since 2006.

Co-author of over 300 publications, Dr. Stenmark is currently Principal Investigator on a number of NIH grants, including a P01 Program Project Grant (PPG) entitled “Adaptations to Hypoxia” (the longest, continuously funded (45 years) PPG at the NHLBI), an R01 entitled “Fibroblasts and Mononuclear Fibrogenic Cells Drive Right Ventricular Pulmonary Arterial Uncoupling in PAH,” a Department of Defense Grant entitled “Metabolic and Epigenetic Interactions Regulate Vascular Phenotypic Change and Maintenance in PH,” and a T-32 Training Grant entitled “Translational Pulmonary Vascular Biology.” Additionally, he acts as a Co-Investigator on a number of other NIH grants. The NIH has continuously funded him since 1984.  He has received numerous international honors and awards, sits on several national and international committees as well as major grant review committees in his field. He currently serves as Deputy Editor for Pulmonary Circulation, Consulting Editor for the American Journal Physiology, Lung, Cellular and Molecular Physiology and is on the Editorial Board of several noted journals. He is an Affiliated Faculty for the Center for Global Health, at the University of Colorado School of Public Health and most recently joined the Executive Committee for the NICHD K12 Child Health Research Career Development Program. Dr. Stenmark has been a visiting professor or invited speaker throughout Europe and North America.

Dr. Stenmark has served in the capacity of both Chair of the Pulmonary Circulation Nominating Committee and Chair of the Pulmonary Circulation Section of the ATS. He has served on the planning committee for several international vascular biology meetings, for the ATS sponsored Grover Conference on the Pulmonary Circulation and on the Planning Committee for the International Meeting on Pulmonary Circulation in Beijing, China and in Singapore. He served in the capacity of Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee for the 2016 International PVRI Conference in Miami, Florida. He was appointed to the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute (PVRI) Steering and Scientific Committee and serves as the Head of the North American Task Force. He was the honored 2017 Robyn J. Barst Memorial Lecturer at the annual Grover Conference.

Frederick Suchy, MD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Frederick J. Suchy, M.D. has recently joined the faculty as the Chief Research Officer at the Children’s Hospital, Director of The Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and Associate Dean for Child Health Research. He was previously Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Hepatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Suchy graduated from Columbia University with an AB degree in 1970 and received his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1974, where he was a member of AOA. He completed a pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center from 1974-1977, followed by a year as Chief Resident. He was then a fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Cincinnati from 1978-1982. In 1982 he joined the faculty at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati and became Professor of Pediatrics in 1988. Between 1988 and 1996, he was Professor of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Physiology, and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Yale University School of Medicine. He moved to New York in 1996. He served as chair of Pediatrics between 1996-2009.

Dr. Suchy has held numerous national leadership positions critical to clinical practice and research in pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology. He has served on the Subboard in Pediatric Gastroenterology of the American Academy of Pediatrics and on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education for Pediatric Gastroenterology. He has been member and Chair of the Research Committees of both the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). He has served on the Executive Council of both organizations. In 1994, he became President of NASPGHAN and is completing a year as the President of AASLD, only the second pediatrician in the over 50-year history of this organization to serve in this capacity. While President of NASPGHAN, he initiated the Young Investigator Grants Program which has grown over the last decade and has been very successful in fostering the initial research of outstanding physician/scientists in pediatric gastroenterology. He continues to serve on the Governing Board of the American Liver Foundation. He is currently the chair of the Selection Committee for the NIH-funded Pediatric Scientist Development Program. He is on the Board of Trustees of the International Pediatric Research Foundation, and has been selected to serve as its next President. He has also been a member of numerous NIH review groups, and has served as Chair of the General Medicine A Study Section of the NIDDK.

Dr. Suchy’s research is focused on transport systems in developing liver and mechanisms of cholestatic liver disease.  His research has been consistently supported by the National Institutes of Health.  He has held a MERIT award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and continues with basic and clinical research related to liver disease supported by the NIH. Dr. Suchy’s research has been recognized by a number of awards, including the Pediatric Research prize from the American Liver Foundation, the Excellence in Research Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sass-Korsak Award for excellence in the practice of the science of hepatology from the Canadian Liver Foundation, and the Shwachman Award for major scientific contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN).  He has also been recognized by membership in prestigious academic societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Pediatric Society.

Lori Sussel, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Lori Sussel, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Cell & Developmental Biology at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Denver.  Dr. Sussel received her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas, Austin and performed her graduate work at Columbia University Medical School.  She pursued postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, where she studied the transcriptional regulation of CNS and pancreas development. This research led Dr. Sussel to her first faculty position at the Barbara Davis Center at the University of Colorado where her research program focused on characterizing the conserved regulatory pathways that controlled pancreas development and specification of the islet beta cell lineage. In 2007 she was given the opportunity to continue and expand her research program at Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical School where she rose through the ranks to become Professor of Genetics and Developmental Biology.  In 2016, Dr. Sussel moved back to Colorado at assume the Research Director position of the Barbara Davis Center. At the University of Colorado she is continuing to investigate the regulation of beta cell development, but is also working to establish an internationally recognized research division focusing on all aspects of T1D research and discovery.

Andrew Thorburn, PhD, Anschutz Medical Campus (Vice-Chair)

Andrew Thorburn grew up in Glasgow, Scotland and went to college at the University of Glasgow where he received a First class Honors degree in Biochemistry followed by the University of Oxford where he was awarded a Ph.D. studying estrogens and breast cancer.  Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford working on HIV infection, he was awarded a fellowship from the Human Frontiers Science Program to move to the Cancer Center at the University of California San Diego to research mechanisms of cell growth.  In 1993, Dr. Thorburn was recruited to the University of Utah as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, Oncological Sciences and the Huntsman Cancer Institute where he continued his research on cell growth and began researching the mechanisms through which cancer cells die.  In 2000, he was recruited to Wake Forest University as an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Cancer Biology and the leader of the Cell Growth & Survival program at the Wake Forest University Comprehensive Cancer Center.  In 2004, Dr. Thorburn was recruited to the University of Colorado Department of Pharmacology and the Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Dr. Thorburn is currently the Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado School of Medicine.  He is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and has received multiple peer-reviewed research grants to support his research.  He has served as consultant for the National Institutes of Health, California Breast Cancer Research Program, U.K., Austrian, Irish and Israeli Scientific Research Councils and is a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals

Michael Verneris, MD, Anschutz Medical Campus

Michael Verneris, M.D., Dr. Michael Verneris is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist in Aurora, Colorado and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Children's Hospital Colorado and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. He received his medical degree from Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and has been in practice for more than 20 years.  He is one of 54 doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado and one of 14 at UC Health University of Colorado Hospital who specializes in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

His clinical and laboratory interests are in the area of leukemia and in using the immune system to treat cancer, whether that be through bone marrow transplantation or cellular therapy.

Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH, Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Vibhakar completed his MD/PhD at New York Medical College followed by a pediatrics residency and fellowship in Pediatric Oncology at the University of Iowa.  He joined Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado in 2008.  He is currently the Program Leader for Pediatric NeuroOncology.  His laboratory focuses on epigenetic regulation of pediatric brain tumors.