AURORA | Four scientists from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora were selected as Boettcher Investigators class of 2019, giving them the distinction of the 10th class to be named.

Each recipient will be guaranteed through the Boettcher Foundation’s Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program a $235,000 grant to continue their research for up to three years. The four were among a total of seven investigators to become part of the class. The other three researchers are from Colorado State University, National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

The Aurora-based scientists selected are: M. Cecilia Caino, an assistant professor of pharmacology; Neelanjan Mukherjee, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics; and two assistant professors of pediatrics, Robert Dietz and Kelly D. Sullivan. Caino’s lab focuses on novel mitochondrial signaling platforms in cancer and Mukherjee’s on systems biology of RNA regulatory networks. Dietz’s research analyzes the functional recovery and reversal of impairment after ischemia in the developing brain and Sullivan’s examines interferon signaling in Down syndrome.

“Our 10th class of Boettcher Investigators represents Colorado’s most dynamic emerging scientists who are committed to improving human health,” Katie Kramer, president and CEO of the Boettcher Foundation, said in a statement. “The Boettcher Foundation is honored to support them at this critical juncture in their research careers.”

The program was agreed upon by the Webb-Waring Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation in 2010 to support the work of young biomedical scientists across the state. As a component of the partnership, the Boettcher Foundation agreed to match the money, paired with a contribution from the University of Colorado.

Since the start of the program, a collective $65 million has been awarded to grantees. With the announcement of this year’s class, a total of 68 researchers have received funding, 33 of which are tied to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

According to the Boettcher Foundation, 95 percent of recipients have remained at Colorado research institutions, advancing the foundations mission of keeping top scientific minds in-state.

“The Boettcher Foundation’s Webb-Waring program has been an important addition to Colorado’s biomedical research landscape,” Jennifer Jones Paton, president and CEO of the Colorado BioScience Association, said in a statement. “We see the impact the program has made over the past 10 years. We congratulate the newest class of Boettcher Investigators.”

— Madison Lauterbach, Sentinel Colorado