Balz Frei

From the Director

Balz Frei, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics
Director and Endowed Chair
Linus Pauling Institute

We have had another busy summer at the Linus Pauling Institute, with new personnel joining the Institute, our annual two-day retreat to review our scientific progress, and new data and publications coming out from the Institute’s laboratories. You can read about some of these new results in this Research Report. We are also enthusiastically planning the third LPI conference on “Diet and Optimum Health,” which will be held in May 2005 in Portland, Oregon. As in the past, the conference will focus on the latest research on the promotion of health and the prevention of disease by lifestyle and diet, including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; and the role of oxidative stress and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, in human health and disease. The last day of the conference is open to the public and will feature a discussion of the food pyramid and the question of what constitutes an optimal diet. For more information on the conference, please see the detailed program inside this issue.

During the summer months, Professor Francesco Visioli from the University of Milan, Italy, visited the LPI laboratory of Dr. Tory Hagen. Dr. Visioli is an expert on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, especially omega-3 fatty acids in fish and antioxidants in olive oil, tomatoes, and red wine. He has shown that these foods and nutrients can promote the normal functioning of blood vessels and help lower heart disease risk. How aging affects blood vessel and heart function and thereby increases the risk of heart attacks and heart failure are also topics of great interest to the Hagen laboratory. While in the Institute, Dr. Visioli worked with Anthony Smith, one of Dr. Hagen’s graduate students, and helped make significant progress in understanding the mechanisms by which aging impairs normal functioning of the endothelial cells that line the arteries.

Another graduate student, Mindy Myzak, who works in Dr. Rod Dashwood’s laboratory and is supported by one of our generous donors, Dr. George Whatley, discovered anew way in which broccoli might help prevent cancer (see her article in the Spring/Summer 2004 LPI Research Report). In recognition of this exciting discovery, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) selected Mindy for a prestigious Scholar-in-Training Award, enabling her to present these important findings at the Association’s fall cancer chemoprevention meeting in Seattle. Mindy was also invited to give a presentation at the main AACR meeting in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year.

We have just finished renovating a laboratory for Drs. Weijian Zhang and Gayle Orner, Research Assistant Professors. This upgraded facility will be critical for their research, and we thank you for providing the financial support for this project. We have also recently established the oxidative/nitrative stress laboratory that will provide analytical services to intramural and extramural investigators. This lab is managed by Alan Taylor, who joined LPI early in 2004.

I am also very pleased to announce that Scott Palmer has joined LPI as our new Development Director. He is replacing the interim fund-raiser, Brent Ditto, who has done a marvelous job at maintaining our outreach and development efforts since the departure of Kim Thompson last December. Scott is a very experienced development officer with thorough knowledge of all aspects of fund-raising and public relations, having worked for 15 years as vice president for external affairs and foundation director at Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City, Oregon. Scott has a professional attitude and a very pleasant personality, and I am sure all of you who will meet him in the coming years will agree. We are excited to have Scott join our team and look forward to a long-lasting and productive relationship.

Faculty, staff and students of the Linus Pauling Institute

Last updated November 2004


Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health

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