Leadership Bios

Meet Our Leadership

The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center is led by an interdisciplinary team internationally recognized for their work in the wellness field.

  • Daniel Bessesen, MD

    Daniel Bessesen, MD

    Daniel Bessesen, MD - Director & Professor

    Daniel Bessesen, MD, associate director of the Center, is professor of medicine of endocrinology, metabolism and diabetes at CU, the director of fellowship training in endocrinology and the director of the Clinical Intervention and Translation Core of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

    Dan received his MD with honors from CU. He completed residency and fellowship training at CU and has been on CU’s faculty since 1991.

    Dan, who conducts studies in dietary fat metabolism, appetite and the clinical problem of obesity, has published more than 90 scientific articles and book chapters and is the coauthor of three books, including Treatment of the Obese Patient published in 2014.

  • Marc-Andre Cornier, MD

    Marc-Andre Cornier, MD

    Marc-Andre Cornier, MD - Associate Director & Professor

    Education & Certifications

    • BS, Vanderbilt University
    • MD, Medical College of Georgia
    • Residency/Internship, Georgetown University
    • Endocrinology Fellowship, University of Colorado

    Areas of Specialization

    • Obesity
    • Food intake regulation
    • Neuroimaging
    • Insulin action



    Personal Notables

    • Associate director, CU Adult Diabetes Program
    • Director, University of Colorado Health LDL Apheresis Program
    • Medical director, My New Weigh meal-replacement weight-loss program
    • Staff physician, Denver Health
    • Active volunteer for the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, the Endocrine Society and the Obesity Society

  • Jeanne Paradeis, MBA

    Jeanne Paradeis, MBA

    Jeanne Paradeis, MBA - Director of Finance & Administration

    Jeanne Paradeis joined the Center in 2015 as the director of finance and administration, overseeing the fiscal management of funds as well as human resources, IT, grant administration, facilities and general operations.

    Jeanne has been with CU more than 20 years. Before joining the Center, she served as the assistant dean of administration in the School of Public Affairs for eight years and was with the campus Finance department before that.

    Jeanne has an MBA and a BS from CU Denver. She was born in Mitchell, South Dakota—home of the world’s only Corn Palace—and has one son who lives in San Francisco. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing and basically anything outdoors.

  • Luciana Smith, MSO, MCPH

    Luciana Smith, MSO, MCPH

    Luciana Smith, MSO, MCPH - Assistant Director of Finance & Administration

    Luciana has been the Clinic Director in the CU Wellness Clinic since May 2015, and has been working at the University of Colorado for more than 11 years. She started in the Pediatric Clinic at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes before moving into the Division Manager role with the Department of Surgery to support the GI, Bariatric, Trauma, General and Oncology surgeons, and assisted with the first multi-disciplinary surgical oncology programs at the University of Colorado Hospital Cancer Center. Additionally, she managed the academic affairs, recruitment and clinical income for the division. From there she become the Director of Ambulatory Services at UCHealth where she worked with more than 50 ambulatory practices on room utilization and clinic workflows, and innovating process improvement tactics for increasing patient access.

    In her role as Assistant Director of Finance & Administration for the center, she is responsible for cohesive operations of the clinic, fitness center and programs in line with the overall vision and mission of the Center.

    Luciana has four boys ages 2-20 years old. She enjoys climbing in the summer and climbed four 14ers in one day with her husband to celebrate their 14thwedding anniversary several years ago! She enjoys running and ran the Boston Marathon in 2013, and has also been accepted to run the NY Marathon November 2019.  She enjoys teaching the violin and piano to local community students and families to help cultivate the fine arts in rural communities.

  • John C. Peters, PhD

    John C. Peters, PhD

    John C. Peters, PhD - Professor & Chief of Strategy and Innovation

    John Peters, a leading researcher and strategist in nutrition, obesity and diabetes, is charged with developing groundbreaking research and programming in nutrition, exercise and healthy behavior.

    Prior to joining CU, he spent 26 years in food and beverage, health care, and corporate new business research and development for Procter & Gamble Company.

    He is also involved in public health initiatives promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. He is co-founder and chief executive officer of America on the Move and past president of the International Life Science Institute Center for Health Promotion. Peters has published over 130 scientific papers and reviews and co-authored The Step Diet book.

  • Nancy Nickless, MPA

    Nancy Nickless, MPA

    Nancy Nickless, MPA - Manager of Finance, HR, and Operations

    Nancy joined the University of Colorado in 2014 as a sponsored research administrator specializing in subcontracts, pre and post-award accounting, human resources and operations management for both the Office of Grants and Contracts and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.  With strategic goals in mind, Nancy ensures fiscal compliance, excellent customer service, and fosters a positive workplace culture.

    Some of Nancy’s past work experience includes working at Arapahoe Community College (ACC) as the Supervisor of Student Financial Services and later established ACC’s Veteran program, to include writing and receiving a grant for Veterans’ while earning Program of the Year by the State Board of Education.  Nancy currently sits on three boards (Palos Verdes Civic Association, Centennial Council of Neighborhoods (CENCON) and Treasurer for National Christ Child Society) and has become an advocate for the smart development of her city of Centennial.

    Nancy is responsible for the Finance, Grants & Contracts, Building Operations, Human Resources – along with the Center’s School of Medicine consultant, AHWC information technology and audio/visual and supporting the NORC (Nutrition Obesity Research Centers) http://cunorc.org/.

    Nancy and her husband, Paul have three kids (Jacob 25, Luke 23, and Natalie 22) one dog and three chickens. She enjoys life with adult children and spends time working in the yard, hiking with girlfriends and her dog Lucy, and reading good books.


  • Jeanne Anne Breen, MS

    Jeanne Anne Breen, MS

    Jeanne Anne Breen, MS - Director of Clinical Trials

    Education and Certifications
    BA, Psychology, University of California at Davis
    MS, Clinical Counseling and Family Psychology, California State University at Hayward

    Areas of Specialization

    • Clinical Research Management
    • Experience in clinical trials related to weight loss, weight loss maintenance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, physical activity, and health

    What goes around, comes around. Be kind.

    Personal Notables

    • Enjoys spending time with husband and teenage sons
    • Enjoys taking her dog on walks
    • Enjoys playing basketball, kickball and softball with sons
    • CU basketball fan

  • Holly Wyatt, MD

    Holly Wyatt, MD

    Holly Wyatt, MD - Medical Director & Associate Professor

    A physician and clinical researcher, Holly has extensive experience in weight loss using medications and behavioral, dietary, physical activity and surgical treatments.

    Holly is co-author of State of Slim, revealing how Coloradans get and stay slender. As medical director of Extreme Weight Loss, she uses these principles to guide cast-member journeys.

    Her research interests include resting and total energy expenditure, fat oxidation and activity levels in weight-reduced populations. She studies the effect of diet on long-term success, as well as weight loss with Atkins’ vs. low fat-high carb diets and diet composition, exercise patterns and breakfast consumption in the National Weight Control Registry.

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Fitness Center: 303-724-WELL (9355)
Wellness Clinic: 303-724-9030

12348 E Montview Blvd.
Aurora, CO 80045

Fitness Center Hours

M-Th: 5am-10pm
F: 5am-9pm
S-S: 7am-5pm