Five CU researchers named to 2024 class of Boettcher Investigators

Each early career scientist receives $250,000 for work in biomedicine
By Staff

Five CU researchers named to 2024 class of Boettcher Investigators
CU's 2024 Boettcher Investigators, top from left, Benjamin J. Kopecky, Jennifer McKey, Jessica Nelson; bottom from left, Andrew Quesada Tan and Marissa Baranauskas.

Five University of Colorado scientists have been named to the Boettcher Foundation’s 2024 class of Boettcher Investigators, outstanding biomedical researchers who will receive grant funding through the Boettcher Foundation’s Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards Program.

Each recipient is awarded $250,000, increased from $235,000 in 2023, which will advance up to three years of independent scientific research. The $1.25 million total in biomedical research funding will be available to the CU early career investigators beginning June 1.

Now marking its 15th year, the Webb-Waring Biomedical Awards program supports and retains top scientific talent in Colorado and allows Boettcher Investigators to compete for private and federal grants. The program’s impressive track record of success included $21.1 million in federal grant funding received by Boettcher Investigators in 2023.

This year’s CU Boettcher Investigators represent the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of Colorado Boulder and, for just the second time in program history, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

The CU researchers and their research topics are:

CU Anschutz Medical Campus

Benjamin J. Kopecky, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Division of Cardiology, Section of Heart Failure/Transplant: Dissecting the smooth muscle cell pathobiology driving cardiac allograft vasculopathy.

Jennifer McKey, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Developmental Biology: Investigating the contribution of follicle activation in the perinatal ovary to the establishment of female fertility.

Jessica Nelson, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology: Molecular-genetic mechanisms underlying establishment of sensory thresholds.

CU Boulder

Andrew Quesada Tan, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Integrative Physiology and Director of the Sensorimotor Recovery and Neuroplasticity Lab: Identifying predictive biomarkers for intermittent hypoxia induced motor recovery and learning in persons with incomplete spinal cord injury (isci).


Marissa Baranauskas, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Human Physiology and Nutrition: Implications for the timing of energy availability on menstrual cycle function.

Announced May 22, the 2024 Class of Boettcher Investigators also includes researchers from Colorado State University, National Jewish Health and the University of Denver, for a total of eight researchers receiving $2 million from the foundation. Read more here.

“We are thrilled to support our 2024 Boettcher Investigators, and as proud investors in their work, we are optimistic that these distinguished researchers will persist in expanding the frontiers of knowledge and innovation in medicine,” said Katie Kramer, president and CEO of the Boettcher Foundation. “The groundbreaking research of our Investigators not only promises to revolutionize health care, but also marks a significant milestone in our commitment to advancing the well-being of Coloradans as we commemorate this special 15th anniversary for our Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards.”

With these five new awardees, CU will have 70 Boettcher Investigators receiving over $16.3 million in biomedical research grants over the course of the program.

Since its inception, the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program has advanced the work of 106 Boettcher Investigators, with more than $24 million in grant funds, including the 2024 class. The researchers have attracted more than $150 million in additional independent research funding from federal, state, and private sources.

“Colorado BioScience Association thanks Boettcher Foundation for its long-term support of Colorado’s top life sciences researchers,” said Elyse Blazevich, president and CEO of Colorado BioScience Association. “The Webb-Waring Biomedical Awards program demonstrates the importance of investing in early career researchers. They are developing revolutionary technologies that will change patient lives. We are proud of the incredible breakthroughs made by more than 100 Boettcher Investigators over the last 15 years.”