Research Appreciation Day

Torri Igou, OMS III, and Mary Savarese, OMS II, preset their research during the poster session.
Torri Igou, OMS III, and Mary Savarese, OMS II, present their research during the poster session.

For the seventh year in a row, RVU celebrated students, faculty and staff and their dedication to research and the advancement of medicine during Research Appreciation Day. The event took place on November 6th, and showcased the research students and faculty have presented at conferences and symposiums in the past year.

DSC_0060Diego Restrepo, PhD, Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, kicked-off the neuroscience themed event with the first plenary talk. Dr. Restrepo’s past research endeavors include developing approaches to image and modulate brain function with the BRAIN Initiative and the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant and Export program of the State of Colorado. Dr. Rebecca Ryznar, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology at Rocky Vista University, and Dr. Robert Valuck, Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy, led the subsequent plenary talks of the day. Dr. Ryznar’s research is focused on molecular mechanisms of cellular injury and neurodegeneration following traumatic brain injury and Dr. Valuck’s work addresses the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States through the Colorado Consortium for DSC_0094Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.

The poster session displayed numerous abstracts in the hallway outside of the auditoriums. The RVU community had the opportunity to talk to the authors about their research in medical education, public health, and much more. Following the poster session, students gave oral presentations of their research to fellow classmates, faculty and staff in a number of research categories including biomedical, clinical and epidemiology research. RVU student presenters were eligible to win one of seven monetary prizes for Outstanding Performance for their research presentations. The event concluded with a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres.

The following students received awards for their research presentations:

Oral Research Presentation

  • 1st Place Outstanding Performance: William (Tyler) Crawley, OMS II
  • 2nd Place Outstanding Performance: Jason Christy OMS II

Research Poster

  • 1st Place Outstanding Performance: Haseeb Rahat, OMS I
  • 2nd Place Outstanding Performance: Michelle Kautz, OMS III
  • 3rd Place Outstanding Performance: Karl Riecken, OMS II
  • 4th Place Outstanding Performance: Paulina Altshuler, OMS IV
  • 5th Place Outstanding Performance: Rachel McLaughlin, OMS II

To view more photos from the event, visit RVU’s Facebook page at

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