CU leads 2016 class of Boettcher Investigators

Early career scientists rewarded for promising work in improving human health
By Staff

2016 Boettcher Investigators

Faculty from the University of Colorado lead the 2016 class of Boettcher Investigators in the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program, which supports the promising efforts of early career scientific researchers.

Seven of this year’s 10-member class of awardees conduct research on CU campuses.

The Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees announced the class June 7. Each Boettcher Investigator will receive a $235,000 grant to support up to three years of biomedical research.

The prestigious award supports promising, early career scientific researchers, allowing them to advance their independent research and compete for major federal and private awards in the future. The Colorado BioScience Association applauded the Boettcher Foundation and its commitment to nurturing the state’s most promising scientific minds.

CU researchers in the 2016 Class of Boettcher Investigators in the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research program and their areas of research are: 

University of Colorado Boulder

  • Sabrina Leigh Spencer, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; elucidating the causes and consequences of slow-cycling cells within isogenic population.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

  • James L. Crooks, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of epidemiology for the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics for National Jewish Health; wildfire smoke and pediatric asthma.
  • Wen-Yuan Elena Hsieh, M.D., assistant professor of immunology and microbiology and assistant professor of pediatrics, division of allergy and immunology; immune dysregulation in pediatric SLE pathogenesis.
  • Ethan G. Hughes, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell and developmental biology; intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms regulating cortical remyelination.
  • Bernard L. Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical physics; achieving safe and effective dose escalation in pancreatic SBRT through tumor tracking and robust treatment planning.
  • Cristin Welle, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery and bioengineering; development of high-density neural sensors for bioelectronics therapeutics.
  • Hongjin Zheng, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics; mechanical studies of disease-related substrates entering mitochondria via protein import machinery TOM-TIM.

Completing the 2016 class of Boettcher Investigators are Rushika Perera, Ph.D., and Timothy J. Stasevich, Ph.D., both of Colorado State University, and Schuyler B. van Engelenburg, Ph.D., of the University of Denver.

“Colorado’s life science sector values our most promising scientific minds, which contribute to building a robust ecosystem in our state,” said April Giles, president and CEO of the Colorado BioScience Association. “The Boettcher Foundation and the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards make a long-term commitment in support of that goal. We are grateful to the foundation for advancing scientific research in Colorado through its early investments in people and their possibilities.”

Now in its seventh year, the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research program honors the commitments of the Webb and Waring families to scientific research and public service. Including this year’s class, 45 Boettcher Investigators at CU and other leading academic and research institutions have received funding through the Webb-Waring program.

“We are proud to continue the Webb-Waring legacy by supporting Colorado’s top scientific minds,” said Tim Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation. “The research they are conducting has the potential to significantly improve human health, and we are honored to help these talented scientists bring their research to the next level.”

The Boettcher Foundation emphasizes a belief in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. The foundation champions excellence across the state by investing in its most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come.

The Colorado BioScience Association champions life science, serving as the hub of Colorado’s thriving bioscience sector by connecting innovators to funding, infrastructure, research and talent. From promising young companies to established corporations and institutions, the association provides opportunities for networking, education and professional development. It grows the bioscience workforce and leads business expansion policies to advance the industry in the state. CBSA represents more than 350 member organizations, including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, ag bio and mobile digital health companies, research and academic institutions and service providers.

PICTURED AT TOP: The 2016 class of Boettcher Investigators comprises, rear from left, Cristin Welle (CU Anschutz), Schuyler B. van Engelenburg (DU), Hongjin Zheng (CU Anschutz), Rushika Perera (CSU), Ethan G. Hughes (CU Anschutz), Timothy J. Stasevich (CSU), Bernard L. Jones (CU Anschutz), James L. Crooks (CU Anschutz); front left, Wen-Yuan Elena Hsieh (CU Anschutz), and front right, Sabrina L. Spencer (CU-Boulder). At center front is Tim Schultz, executive director of the Boettcher Foundation.