CSU’s Julie Moreno named to 2021 Class of Boettcher Investigators

Story written by Boettcher Foundation staff. CSU Science Writer Mary Guiden contributed content to this story. 

headshot of Julie Moreno, CSU assistant professor
Assistant Professor Julie Moreno studies protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases and aging. Photo: CSU Photography

Boettcher Foundation on May 25 announced the names of six leading Colorado researchers, including Colorado State University’s Julie Moreno, as the newest recipients of grant funding through the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards Program.

The program supports promising, early-career scientific researchers, allowing them to advance their independent research and compete for major federal and private awards in the future.

Moreno is an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences and studies protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases and aging. She earned her doctoral degree in cell and molecular biology at CSU and was a career development fellow in neurodegeneration at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit in the United Kingdom. Moreno was also a postdoctoral fellow in prion neurodegeneration at CSU’s Prion Research Center.

She will use this award to continue her research on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which falls under the umbrella of prion diseases, rare and fatal brain disorders that occur in both humans and animals, like deer and elk, which can contract Chronic Wasting Disease.

Moreno said she and her team have been able to show – in cell culture – inhibition of inflammation and other cellular stress signals that start in the brain and lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Thanks to the award from Boettcher Foundation, this work will continue.

Learn more about Moreno’s research on Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Researchers from three universities land awards

The 2021 Boettcher Investigators represent three of Colorado’s leading research institutions, CSU, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Colorado Boulder. Each researcher receives $235,000 in grant funding to support up to three years of biomedical research.

Additional new Boettcher Investigators from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus include Drs. Joshua Bear and Mia Smith (pediatrics) and Assistant Professor Sarah Clark, Department of Otolaryngology.

Nausica Arnoult, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, is also among the award recipients.

The $1.41 million in biomedical research grant funds facilitate the Boettcher Foundation’s goal to retain top scientific talent in Colorado.

“The 2021 class of Boettcher Investigators represents some of Colorado’s most dynamic and promising researchers,” said Katie Kramer, president and CEO of the Boettcher Foundation.

“These leaders are committed to developing treatments and cures that will improve health and change lives, as we’ve seen the biomedical research sector demonstrate this past year,” she said. “The Boettcher Foundation is proud to support these researchers at a pivotal time in their careers and to contribute to the incredible advancements in health innovation underway in our state.”

Since its inception in 2010, the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program has advanced the work of 82 Boettcher Investigators, including the 2021 class. Those researchers have attracted a collective $100 million in additional independent research funding from federal, state, and private sources. Ninety-six percent of award recipients remain at Colorado research institutions, advancing the Foundation’s mission of keeping Colorado’s top scientific minds in the state.

Jennifer Jones Paton, president and CEO of Colorado BioScience Association, applauded the Boettcher Foundation for its enduring commitment to science and scientific research in Colorado.

“COVID-19 demonstrates the critical importance of science to our health, well-being, and economic stability,” she said. “The Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program invests in up-and-coming researchers, giving them support to continue their promising work in Colorado. I’m pleased to congratulate the Boettcher Investigators on this incredible honor.”

The Boettcher Foundation has been a leading philanthropic supporter of biomedical research in Colorado for many years.

For more information about the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards, visit the Boettcher Foundation website.

About the Boettcher Foundation

At the Boettcher Foundation, we believe in the promise of Colorado and the potential of Coloradans. Every day we champion excellence across our state by investing in our most talented citizens and high-potential organizations, because supporting their hard work and leadership will enable them to give back for years to come.

About Colorado BioScience Association

Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) creates co-opportunity for the Colorado life sciences community. CBSA champions a collaborative life sciences ecosystem and advocates for a supportive business climate. From concept to commercialization, member companies and organizations drive global health innovations, products and services that improve and save lives. The association leads Capital and Growth, Education and Networking, Policy and Advocacy, and Workforce Cultivation to make its members stronger, together. Learn more: cobioscience.com