Bruce Kirkpatrick

University of Colorado MSTP Annual Retreat


On behalf of the MSTP Retreat Committee and MSTP Student Council, welcome to the virtual 3rd annual MSTP retreat! This retreat strengthens our MSTP student and alumni community by providing a forum whereby current MSTPs, MSTP alumni, and mentors can learn about the ongoing research of current students and celebrate the recent successes of both students and the program at large. This year’s event features oral presentations from current PhD students, 1-minute thesis presentations, poster sessions, breakout workshops, and a keynote address from one of our own distinguished alumni. (Zoom links are in the attached program.)


  • 8:50-9:00 AM — Opening Remarks
  • 9:00-9:30 AM — State of the Program Address (Cara Wilson)
  • 9:30-10:30 AM — Student Speakers 1
  • 10:30-10:45 AM — 1-Minute Student Talks
  • 10:45-11:00 AM — Break
  • 11:00-11:40 AM — Posters
  • 11:40 AM-12:10 PM — Lunch
  • 12:10-1:10 PM — Keynote Address
  • 1:15-2:15 PM — Student Speakers 2
  • 2:15-2:30 PM — Break
  • 2:30-3:30 PM — Breakout Sessions
  • 3:30-3:45 PM — Retreat Wrap-Up (and Awards!)


Dr. Cheryl Keech, MD, PhD
We are thrilled to have Dr. Cheryl Keech, MSTP class of 1992, as our keynote speaker. Dr. Keech received her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at CU with Dr. Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann and completed residency in Internal Medicine at Indiana University. Since then, Dr. Keech has held positions at Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, PATH, and PPD. She is now CMO and Executive Vice President of Clinical Research at iLiAD Biotechnologies.

Break-out Sessions

Student Speakers


  • Session A (11:00-11:20):
  • 1. Joseph Hsieh — Defining the Genome Regulatory Role of KDM3A/ETS1 in Fusion- Positive Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • 2. Will Sheeran — A neuronal substrate for monogamous reunion in nucleus accumbens
  • 3. Emily King — Differential Expression of Slamf7 in Pulmonary Macrophages
  • 4. Frances Li — Defining MARCO-virus interactions important for alphavirus clearance from the circulation
  • 5. Taylor Yamauchi — Investigating neural circuits for precise target acquisition
  • 6. David Kitzenberg — Adenosine activates metabolism to enhance killing of tolerant and persister bacteria across multiple classes of antibiotics
  • 7. Evan Lester — Tau aggregates are RNA-protein assemblies that mis-localize multiple nuclear speckle components
  • 8. Marlie Fisher — ETV6 germline mutations cause HDAC3/NCOR2 mislocalization and upregulation of interferon response genes
  • 9. Ricardo Villareal — Vimentin regulates Nod2 activity during Group B Strep infection
  • 10. Jason Silver — Injury-mediated stiffening persistently activates muscle stem cells through YAP and TAZ mechanotransduction
  • 11. Brandon Hililard — Noncanonical Mechanism of Action of NSAIDs Through NRF2 Activation
  • 12. Leah Bowen — Friction Mechanics of Soft-on-Soft Micropillar Friction
  • Session B (11:20-11:40):
  • 13. Bruce E. Kirkpatrick — On Macromolecular Crowding and its Effect on Cell Cycle
  • 14. Nathaniel P. Skillin — Near-Infrared Responsive Liquid Crystal Elastomers
  • 15. Brenda Seymour — The bacterial metabolite indole alters intestinal dendritic cell function and tolerance
  • 16. Hei-Yong Lo — Investigating the local RNA transcriptome surrounding mammalian centrosomes and its function
  • 17. Anagha Inguva — The Role of BCL2 Mediated Calcium Signaling in Leukemia Stem Cell Metabolism and Function
  • 18. Andy Tekriwal — Conditions surrounding movements alters peri-movement neural activity in human SNr
  • 19. Rachel Ancar — Exploring RIG-I Activation by Self-RNA
  • 20. Soraya Shehata — Degrading the C9orf72 Repeat Expansion RNA
  • 21. Ashley Denney — Selective functional inhibition of a tumor-derived p53 mutant by cytosolic chaperones identified using split-YFP in yeast
  • 22. Faye Camp — Investigating MicroRNA-Mediated Changes in the Immunopeptidome of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Excellence in Service Award

This award aims to recognize an outstanding student in the University of Colorado MSTP that improves the lives of their fellow classmates and the experience of the MD/PhD training through their actions. Whether this person serves in an official role (eg: admissions, second look, curriculum committees) or takes initiative in an unofficial capacity (hosts dinners, brings people together across program years), his or her efforts are an example of selfless service. Congratulations to the 2020 EiS Winner, Taylor Soderborg! (Voting link below.)


Questions for Keynote Address
Inquiries welcome!
Excellence in Service Nominations
Vote here!
Post-Retreat Mixer
Join us for networking and fun between 4-6 PM!