Boettcher Foundation Awards $2 Million to Colorado’s Leading Biomedical Researchers

By: Colorado BioScience Association & Boettcher Foundation

Foundation Marks 15th Year with the 2024 Class of Boettcher Investigators

DENVER, May 22, 2024 — Boettcher Foundation announces its 2024 Class of Boettcher Investigators today, eight leading Colorado biomedical researchers chosen to receive a total of $2 million in grant funds from the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Program. The $250,000 award, increased from $235,000 in 2023, will advance up to three years of independent scientific research.

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.

“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 & CEO of the Boettcher Foundation. “The groundbreaking research of our Investigators not only promises to revolutionize healthcare, 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.”

The newest Boettcher Investigators come from five of Colorado’s research institutions, Colorado State University, National Jewish Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and University of Denver.

The 2024 Class of Boettcher Investigators (shown L-R in the photo below) and their research topics are:


Kathryn Wilsterman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biology: Using evolutionary innovation to understand susceptibility and resilience to gestational complications.


Lauren Zell-Baran, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Science: Classification of cardiopulmonary exercise testing patterns among deployed military veterans with respiratory symptoms: informing treatment options.


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.


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.


Allegra T. Aron, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry: Targeting human-gut pathobionts using native siderophore-antibiotic conjugates.

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.”

Shown L-R: Kathryn Wilsterman, Ph.D. | Lauren Zell-Baran, Ph.D., M.P.H. | Benjamin J. Kopecky, M.D. | Ph.D. | Jennifer McKey, Ph.D. | Jessica Nelson, Ph.D. | Andrew Quesada Tan, Ph.D. | Marissa Baranauskas, Ph.D. | Allegra T. Aron, Ph.D.


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

About the Boettcher Foundation

At Boettcher, we believe in the promise of Colorado and potential of Coloradans. Every day we build up and connect doers and difference makers from across the state, working to elevate people, programs, and organizations. Because by investing in Colorado leaders, we provide a foundation for transformational impact and community building.

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:


Curtis Esquibel
Boettcher Foundation

Sheliah Reynolds
Primavera Group for Colorado BioScience Association

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