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From the Director

Balz Frei, Ph.D.
Director & Endowed Chair
Linus Pauling Institute

Photo of Balz Frei at his desk, with a portrait of Linus Pauling in the background

We have made substantial progress in the last two years, and I am pleased to report that we now have all our faculty on board. Earlier this year, Drs. Tory Hagen and Maret Traber joined the Institute, and in August, Dr. Roderick Dashwood arrived from the University of Hawaii. Dr. David Williams, an LPI/OSU Faculty Affiliate Investigator and Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, has joined the Institute as Chief of our newly created Cancer Chemoprevention Program. This program will explore the potential for phytochemicals, vitamins and other dietary constituents to inhibit or prevent cancer. Initially, the program will investigate the mechanisms of action of such agents utilizing fish and mammalian models. The long-term objective is to expand these studies from animal models to human clinical trials. The establishment of this program within the Linus Pauling Institute is a further step towards our goal to understand the role of micronutrients, vitamins, and phytochemicals in maintaining optimal human health and to utilize these compounds in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Cathy Abney has joined LPI as our new accountant, and several scientists and students have joined my laboratory or come to the Institute with the new faculty. As a result, we now have 17 permanent scientists and staff and 3 graduate students. We are also starting to attract faculty from other universities to spend a sabbatical or fellowship in LPI. For example, Dr. Roland Stocker, a professor from the Heart Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, was here for 3 months this summer and generated exciting new ideas during his collaboration with LPI scientists in the laboratory.

Recently, Maret Traber and I have been advising the government on the new recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for vitamin C and vitamin E. Maret Traber is a member of the "Panel on Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds" of the National Academy of Sciences' Food and Nutrition Board, which is charged with establishing new RDAs for antioxidant vitamins. I have testified before this panel on two separate occasions on the beneficial effects of vitamin C and have also been asked to write an extensive review article with a new proposed RDA for vitamin C. In that article, Dr. Anitra Carr, a research associate in my laboratory, and I argue that the RDA for vitamin C should be doubled from the current 60 mg/day to 120 mg/day, based on the extensive scientific evidence for antioxidant and health benefits of vitamin C in humans. While this may seem like a small increase and still is much lower than what Dr. Pauling endorsed (and many of us take), it would, nevertheless, for the first time represent an acknowledgment by the government and the Food and Nutrition Board that vitamin C is required not only to prevent scurvy, but also for optimal health and to help prevent chronic diseases.

In this newsletter, you will find articles on the recent study published in Nature claiming that vitamin C supplementation causes genetic damage, on colon cancer and its prevention by dietary constituents, the therapeutic properties of New Zealand and Australian tea trees, and the many aspects of dietary fats. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did and agree with me that Stephen Lawson, our newsletter editor, again has done an outstanding job!

Last updated November, 1998

Honoring a Scientific Giant with Research Toward Longer, Better Lives

Return to Fall/Winter 1998 Table of Contents Return to LPI Home Page Please send any comments, suggestions, or questions about The Linus Pauling Institute to lpi@oregonstate.edu