b'2021 Boettcher Investigator Julie Moreno, Ph.D., is inspired by patients with neurogenerative diseases and their families. Photo credit: Bryan Grant / Pixil Studio Photography B Y C U R T I S L . E S Q U I B E LA s a researcher and teacher, Julie Moreno, Ph.D., brings amillion in biomedical research grant funds facilitate the Boettcher combination of dedication and empathy to the study ofFoundations goal to retain Colorados top scientific talent. neurogenerative diseases. Equal to the impact that herThe research award, which is $235,000 per recipient, will help Morenos patients have on her, Moreno gains motivation from the caregiversteam to better understand prion diseases, hopefully through diagnosis who lost a loved one or chose to fight an enemy that almost wins.and treatment. Getting to know those affected by disease is powerful, said Moreno,The Webb-Waring Award, Moreno says, has refueled her. As an early an assistant professor in the Prion Research Center at Colorado Statecareer researcher, she said the at-times cutthroat world of applying University (Fort Collins). I make relationships with these individualsfor research grants can feel overwhelming. and families that are lasting and real. They mean so much to me. The weight of the world is a little off my shoulders, she said. I feel Morenos research focuses on prion diseases, progressive diseasesmore confident in my plans to submit three to four grants in the next with rapid changes in symptoms that can be hard for caregivers tothree months. understandit can feel like Alzheimers on steroids, Moreno says. Being named a Boettcher Investigator has also served as a confi-With her work, Moreno uses patient-specific stem cells that target bothdence boost for Joshua Bear, M.D., M.A., an assistant professor in early and late stages of disease progression. This novel, therapeuticthe department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Anschutz approach is what led her to receive one of six Boettcher FoundationMedical Campus (Aurora). Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards earlier this year. The $1.41 2021-2022 BIOSCIENCECOLORADO23'