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Women’s History Month Feature: Leslie Root

Leslie Root smiles with Women's History Month graphic in the background.

Closing out Women’s History Month with our final features! Leslie Root started at IBS in March 2021 as a postdoc. She is now an assistant research professor for the CU Population Center and Population Program!

  1. What do you like most about your position at IBS?

Root: Team science! My dissertation was very much a solo effort, and when I was done, I wasn’t sure if academia was really the right fit for me. I’m so lucky that I had the opportunity to join the Colorado Fertility Project team, because it’s a fantastic group of people working together to do really important and innovative research. I’ve learned so much here.

2. What research project are you most excited about?

Root: Our Colorado Fertility Project work in the Rocky Mountain Research Data Center is so cool. We are able to study U.S. fertility patterns in a way that has never been possible before, and use it to study highly consequential social inequalities and the interventions that reduce them.

3. What’s one thing you hope never changes about IBS?

Root: The amazing mix of folks from different disciplines and departments! …I also secretly like those weird little beetles that get into the building when the weather gets cold.

4. What is your favorite pastime outside of IBS?

Root: In my spare time, I sing and play a few different instruments with a local choir called Planina. We perform traditional music from the Balkans, the Caucasus, and other parts of Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Secrets from the Grave: A Portrait of Sharon Dewitte

Sharon Dewitte wears a white lab coat and holds a skull with both hands. She stands near a desk.

Professor of anthropology and faculty/fellow of the Institute of Behavioral Science, Sharon Dewitte, was recently featured in the Coloradan Alumni Magazine. Author Lisa Marshall shares how Dewitte’s research helps us learn more about pathogens, their effects on the body, and the structural inequalities that historically led some groups to be more vulnerable to pathogens than others. Read more about Dewitte and her work in the article here.

Women’s History Month Feature: Angela “Angie” Branson

Angela Branson holds a camera and is looking at us. In the background, it is springtime in Vail, Colorado with bright green foliage everywhere and a road winding into the trees.

Happy International Women’s Day from IBS! In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re interviewing some of our amazing IBS staff. Up first is Senior Program Manager, Angela Branson! Branson joined IBS in September 2022 and helps manage the Health and Society Program, the Population Program, the Program on International Development and the CU Population Center. 


What do you like most about your position at IBS?

Branson: I love the people that I work with along with supporting the impactful research mission of the programs that I support and in IBS as a whole.

What has been the most impactful IBS research you’ve learned about? 

Branson: It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m very supportive of the research work Amanda Stevenson and the Colorado Fertility Project are doing. It seems that women’s (as well as transgender people’s) rights to bodily autonomy are currently under attack in our nation’s politics, especially at the state level in several states and I feel strongly that women and transgender people should have the right to choose what happens with their own bodies with the guidance from their personal physicians, without the government stepping in. I am also partial to any research leading to policy influence related to climate change. 

What’s one thing you hope never changes about IBS?

Branson: I hope that the passion for positive change in the world through the research done and supported by IBS never changes. Every Program and Center is doing highly impactful work all striving toward a better ‘tomorrow’ by looking to the past, present and future for collaborative solutions to real world problems and I love that.

What do you like to do most outside of IBS?

Branson: My favorite pastime outside of IBS is photography. I have been interested in photography since I was a child but have gotten serious about my art starting in about 2014. I have my own company and website, Angela Branson Photography, LLC. I specialize in wildlife art photography as well as portraits/headshots and events professionally as a side gig. If anyone is interested in checking out my work, they can follow me on Instagram:


Tune in next week for another interview with another phenomenal IBSer!

New study coauthored by David Pyrooz correlates police pull back with crime increase

View of downtown Denver at dusk from Gilpin street.

A new study shows crime accelerates when police pull back. The study, published in Criminology on February 9, found property and violent crime reports increased 27.1% and 14.3% respectively in the city and county of Denver after police scaled back their presence during the COVID-19 pandemic and following the murder of George Floyd. Read more of the story on CU Boulder Today.

Daniel Simon, Ryan Masters new study shows institutional failures increased suicide rates

Older woman looks out the window in her apartment.

A new CU Boulder study sheds light on the national upward trend of suicide rates. Authors Daniel Simon, doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and IBS research affiliate, and Ryan Masters, associate sociology professor and director of the Population Program, examined suicide data from 1997 to 2017. They found two institutional bodies contributing to suicide rate increases:

  1. Prescription drug monitoring programs, whose minimal regulations or lack of existence in certain states made access to drugs like OxyContin easier, and
  2. A weaker public safety net offering limited help during economic downturns.

Lisa Marshall, science writer for CU Boulder Today, tells the full story here.