Greetings from the Interim Director

Donald J. Reed, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of
Biochemistry and Biophysics

Donald J. Reed

Linus Pauling, with his genius and leadership in science and world peace, has been a great inspiration to me. It is my good fortune to help establish the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and to participate in the research in honor of the life and work of Linus Pauling. I will work toward the continued success of the Institute and provide some of the guidance that will ensure that your support provides outstanding value, not only to you but to humans around the world. Your participation in the research programs that are devoted to your health needs will ensure the success of this exciting opportunity. Let us hear from you as we build for a better future.

Donald J. Reed's Research Activities

One of the major functions of vitamin C and other antioxidants is to protect the body against the adverse effects of various processes based on oxygen. We have learned that the antioxidant vitamins C and E and the antioxidant glutathione are capable of supporting the functions of each other to a very great extent. For example, we are now able to predict better the consequences of a deficiency in one of these antioxidants resulting in dependence on the remaining two.

Glutathione, which is composed of three amino acids, glutamic acid, glycine and cysteine, is used as the carrier for cysteine in the blood to enable all cell types to reconstitute intracellular glutathione, thus maintaining their balance of antioxidant capability.

Recently, we have heard much about the importance of vitamin E in human health. Researchers in my laboratory have discovered the mobilization of vitamin E in the liver in response to enhanced bile flow. We are currently examining the relationship between vitamin E in bile flow, glutathione and other antioxidants, including vitamin C.

We are also studying organelles known as mitochondria, which are the power plants of mammalian cells. These highly specialized components of cells provide critical cellular energy that drives bodily processes and need a high level of antioxidant protection, provided by vitamins C and E and glutathione. Failure to supply an adequate level of these antioxidants causes the mitochondria to begin to fail, leading to loss of energy as less of the cellular currency, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), is made to power the many energy-requiring functions of the body. Maintaining mitochondrial integrity as we age or become ill is very important.

This critical relationship between antioxidants and energy level is an extremely exciting area of research. New knowledge has the potential of improving our understanding of many diseases as well as the adverse effects of life-giving oxygen.

Last updated November, 1996

Honoring a Scientific Giant with Research Toward Longer, Better Lives

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