Staff Spotlight – Julianne Torres, DO

Dr. Torres is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

I have been faculty in General Pediatrics since August 2018 after completing my residency here.

At home I have my husband Dias, who is a chef for the university, and our dog Roscoe, who is a lovable crazy puppy.

I love salsa and swing dancing, running, and boxing at Title Boxing. I love to go hiking and exploring with my dog.

I lived in both Ireland and Ecuador during college. I loved both places with their unique culture and beautiful scenery.

My favorite food/restaurant is the pizza from Wig and Pen. I also love the Green Bay Packers.

Fun Fact: I like to learn how to say a few phrases in many languages. I can say ‘hello, how are?’ you in about 10 languages.

Dr. Uc Publishes on Pancreatitis in Children

Congratulations to Dr. Uc on her recent publication in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition on Pancreatitis in children.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to determine the rate of progression from acute recurrent pancreatitis (ARP) to chronic pancreatitis (CP) in children and assess risk factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Children with ARP rapidly progress to CP, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and diabetes. The progression to CP is faster in children who were 6 years or older at the first episode of AP or with pathogenic PRSS1 variants. The factors that affect the aggressive disease course in childhood warrant further investigation.

New Publication for Drs. Bassuk and Ferguson

Congratulations for Drs. Bassuk (Neurology) and Feguson (Rheumatology) on their recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Abstract: Autoinflammatory syndromes are characterized by dysregulation of the innate immune response with subsequent episodes of acute spontaneous inflammation. Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) is an autoinflammatory bone disorder that presents with bone pain and localized swelling. Ali18 mice, isolated from a mutagenesis screen, exhibit a spontaneous inflammatory paw phenotype that includes sterile osteomyelitis and systemic reduced bone mineral density. To elucidate the molecular basis of the disease, positional cloning of the causative gene for Ali18 was attempted. Using a candidate gene approach, a missense mutation in the C-terminal region of Fgr, a member of Src family tyrosine kinases (SFKs), was identified. For functional confirmation, additional mutations at the N terminus of Fgr were introduced in Ali18 mice by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing. N-terminal deleterious mutations of Fgr abolished the inflammatory phenotype in Ali18 mice, but in-frame and missense mutations in the same region continue to exhibit the phenotype. The fact that Fgr null mutant mice are morphologically normal suggests that the inflammation in this model depends on Fgr products. Furthermore, the levels of C-terminal negative regulatory phosphorylation of FgrAli18 are distinctly reduced compared with that of wild-type Fgr. In addition, whole-exome sequencing of 99 CRMO patients including 88 trios (proband and parents) identified 13 patients with heterozygous coding sequence variants in FGR, including two missense mutant proteins that affect kinase activity. Our results strongly indicate that gain-of-function mutations in Fgr are involved in sterile osteomyelitis, and thus targeting SFKs using specific inhibitors may allow for efficient treatment of the disease.

Dr. Sheets Named Interim; Allergy/Immunology Services are now combined with Rheumatology

Effective June 1, 2019, the Division of Rheumatology will now house Allergy and Immunology specialty services. Dr. Diana Bayer, who specializes in allergy and immunology, will transition to the Division of Rheumatology and the new division name will be the ‘Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology’. Dr. Polly Ferguson remains the Division Director.

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology is renamed the ‘Division of Pulmonary Medicine’ in conjunction with this change.

This realignment of services between rheumatology and allergy/immunology reflects not only the complimentary services offered between rheumatology and allergy/immunology, but also matches the structure of these services and how they are aligned at other academic medical centers around the country.


In addition, the Department is happy to announce Dr. Scott Sheets as Interim Division Director of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine effective June 1, 2019 while the search for a permanent Division Director continues.

Dr. Sheets completed his DO from Des Moines University in 1993. He completed his residency in 1996. His fellowship in Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonary medicine was at the University of Iowa from 1996 to 1999. Dr. Sheets was a pediatric pulmonologist at Tripler Army Medicine Center in Honolulu, with his last year as Chief, from 1999-2003. Subsequently, Dr. Sheets moved back to Iowa in 2003 and was a pediatric pulmonologist at Blank for 6 years, the last two years of which he was co-director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Blank. From 2009-2013 he was the Director of Respiratory Medicine at ChildServe in Johnston, IA while becoming a part of Central Iowa Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonary LLC from 2009-2016. From 2016-2018 he was a pediatric pulmonologist at Iowa Pediatric Asthma and Allergy, LLC in West Des Moines.

He joined the University of Iowa in May 2018, and has been the Clinical Director for the Division of Pulmonary Medicine since his arrival. As Clinical Director he has been instrumental in increasing patient access to pulmonology services in the Pediatric Specialty Clinic, and has been very active teaching residents and fellows.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sheets to his new role!

Grant Opportunity from Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can submit two applications to the Curing Kids Cancer Grant mechanism. If you are interested in applying, please respond by Noon on Monday, July 1 with information on your proposed project, as per the terms of the grant.   –Tami Thompson (

Internal Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center deadline Noon, Monday, July 1, 2019

Curing Kids Cancer – limited to two applications per institution.

Sponsor Deadline Sept 9, 2019.

Donna Friel

Angi Roemerman

Staff Spotlight – Tom Scholz, MD

Dr. Scholz is a Professor of Pediatric Cardiology, and Director of the Division of Child and Community Health, among many other leadership roles.

I am Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Division of Child and Community Health and Child Health Specialty Clinics; Director of Community Relations, Stead Family Dept. of Pediatrics.

This July I’ll have been on faculty here for 26 years. I am in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology but also am Director of the Division of Child and Community Health. In the latter role, I also oversee the 14 Child Health Specialty Clinics around that state that provide services for child and youth with special health care needs. I am also Director of Community Relations for the Department. I have had a variety of roles within UIHC and the University during my time here including stints as interim of many positions: Division Director of Pediatric Cardiology (7 years) Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics (2 years) Interim Director, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (1 year) Faculty Fellow, Office of the Vice President for Research (3 years) Interim Director of University Regulatory Affairs (1 year).

Since we have different last names, often people don’t know my wife is Pat Winokur, MD, Executive Dean of the Carver College of Medicine.

I have many hobbies, but top of the list is cycling. I enjoy riding the gravel roads of Iowa and racing cyclocross in the fall. Some of my other hobbies are running, fly fishing, beekeeping, wine collecting, photography, and sprint triathlons (though I really don’t like getting wet).

I am in my dream job – the Child Health Specialty Clinic staff are amazing! They are incredibly dedicated to helping children with special needs and their families. The staff work daily to connect families to services, provide medical support not available in their communities, and make sure every family can succeed to their fullest extent. They also advocate both statewide and in their communities to be sure kids and families facing emotional and medical challenges have a voice and that their needs are considered as practices and policies are put into place.

My favorite meal is sweet potato fries and a salad.

Favorite book? – most any story about nature, like Ed Abbey’s Desert Solitaire or any Sigurd Olson book. Favorite movie? – last time I confessed to my favorite movie, the Dean at that time made a poster and would sing every time I saw him in the hallway…Ok, it’s Sound of Music…

Staff Spotlight – Kristen Sandgren, MD

Dr. Sandgren is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

I am a Pediatric Hospitalist within the division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. I have been fortunate to have all of my training at the University of Iowa including my undergraduate studies, medical school studies, and pediatric residency training. I began as a Pediatric Hospitalist in July 2018 after graduating residency.

I have been married to my wonderful husband Jeremy for 4 years now. Jeremy is completing his MD/PhD through the MSTP program here and will be starting as a pediatric resident to complete his training. We are kept busy by our 15 month old son, James, and his partner in crime, Meatball, our French bulldog.

My free time is mostly spent as family time, which lately has included a lot of running around, playgrounds, bubbles, reading board books, and riding carousels. We do love to watch Food Network as a family and James is so obsessed with helping out in the kitchen when we cook and bake that he has earned his own apron and the title of “Little Chef”.

I can honestly say that I currently have my dream job. I love my job and one of the best parts is the amount of education I am able to take part in. But, if I had to choose something other than my job I would say a Zoo Vet or Zoo keeper in the mammal division. I love watching television shows that go behind the scenes of zoos and I am fascinated by just how similar to adult and pediatric medicine it can be.

My husband and I had the fortune to take a trip to Rome and Florence, Italy in 2017. The landscapes were gorgeous, the art and architecture was spectacular, and the food was amazing. I would love to go back in the future.

Favorite sports team? The Hawkeyes of course, GO Hawks! You can’t live in Iowa City for over a third of your life and not get caught up in the fanfare that is Hawkeye Nation. My husband is from Wisconsin so he also managed to convert me to be a Cheese-head. Go Pack Go!

My favorite book would include any and every Jane Austen novel.

Fun fact: My son decided to make himself the ultimate Christmas present for 2017. I wasn’t due until the first part of January, but he decided to make his spectacular entrance 3 weeks early on Christmas Eve. My husband and I joke that he learned from his mama that on-time is late and early is on-time.