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Research Newsletter-Fall/Winter 2007


Balz Frei, Ph.D.
LPI Director and Endowed Chair
Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Ever since the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine moved from Palo Alto, California, to Corvallis, Oregon, to become the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, one of our highest priorities has been to build a state-of-the-art research facility to house the Institute and serve as a high-profile working memorial for Linus Pauling. Indeed, the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1996 between the University and the Institute stated that "OSU and LPISM acknowledge that a new building with modern facilities would be highly desirable. Construction of such a building will be contingent upon success in developing private gifts and other funding." Now, 11 years later, it gives me great pleasure to announce to you that OSU and LPI have been successful in securing these "private gifts and other funding" and that the Linus Pauling Science Center is scheduled to open its doors on the campus of Oregon State University in 2010!

This building is the centerpiece of the University's first-ever capital campaign and one of its major construction projects. Under the outstanding leadership of OSU's president, Dr. Edward Ray, and the president and CEO of the Oregon State University Foundation, Mike Goodwin, we have been able to raise a total of $62.5 million for the building. All of us at LPI are extremely grateful to Dr. Ray and his leadership team for their unwavering support of the Institute and their tireless—and highly successful—efforts to raise the necessary funds for the building. Dr. Ray believes that "preventive health care is the future of medicine," and he has made "realizing fundamental contributions in the life sciences and optimizing the health and well-being of the public" one of the University's strategic goals for the 21st century.

The lead gift for the building of $20 million was provided by the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation in Oakland, California, in March of this year, and shortly thereafter was followed by a $10.65 million gift from Al and Pat Reser, 1960 graduates of OSU and owners of Reser's Fine Foods. The Valley Foundation has been very generous to OSU in the past and has provided many other significant gifts to the University. The Resers also are exceptionally generous philanthropists who have supported the University for many years. With their gift of over $10 million for the Linus Pauling Science Center, the Resers have shown their strong commitment to the academic programs at OSU, for which we are extremely grateful.

A possible design for the Linus Pauling Science Center—the grand opening is scheduled for 2010.
Rendering of the new Linus Pauling Science Center

The gifts from the Valley Foundation and the Resers, together with significant contributions from a select few other donors, brought the philanthropic total to $31.25 million, half of the projected construction costs. With these commitments in hand, the University was able to request matching funds from the State of Oregon, which were approved by the legislature in July. Thus, the State of Oregon will provide $31.25 million from bond proceeds in March of 2009 towards construction of the Linus Pauling Science Center.

The gifts from the Valley Foundation and the Resers and Oregon's matching funds are truly transformational for OSU and LPI. One of the biggest challenges that the Institute has faced for several years is the lack of high-quality research space. Upon completion of the Linus Pauling Science Center, the Institute will have a new, permanent home that brings together all of our principal investigators for the first time in state-of-the-art research space. For me, this is a dream come true that gives me great pride and satisfaction as director of LPI. This building undoubtedly represents a milestone in the Institute's history that will elevate our research to the next level and establish LPI and OSU as one of the premier institutions in the world for cuttingedge research on diet, micronutrients, and health.

Half of the approximately 120,000-sq. ft. building will be occupied by LPI; the other half will provide teaching and research space for the Department of Chemistry. Hence, the Center will honor Dr. Linus Pauling, our founder and OSU's most distinguished alumnus, by continuing his legacy in orthomolecular medicine and chemistry. The building will be strategically located on campus proximate to relevant departments and research centers and provide a focus for OSU's health and life sciences research. In this way, the Center will create a cohesive interdisciplinary research environment that fosters daily interactions and collaborations among the Institute's scientists and those in chemistry and other departments at OSU, spawning new ideas for research projects and joint grant applications. In addition, the Center will allow expansion of the Institute from its current 11 laboratories to about 15.

With the funding for the building secured, we are now seeking gifts to support the expansion of our research program, which will be focused on a new initiative called the Healthy Aging Program. The goal of this program is to help everyone achieve their maximum healthspan through optimum health—we want people to live better, not just longer. Dr. Tory Hagen, our expert in the biology of aging, said it best: "Aging is not a death sentence; aging is a normal part of life. Successful aging is when a person can continue to lead a healthy and active life even with the normal biological decline that comes with aging."

Over the last few years, discoveries in the fields of immunosenescence (age-related dysregulation of immune function that contributes to increased susceptibility to infection, cancer, and autoimmune diseases) and epigenetics (heritable changes in gene function that occur without a change in the underlying DNA sequence) have revolutionized our understanding of how we age and why some people age more gracefully than others. These remarkable new advances, coupled with the Institute's expertise in age-essential micronutrients, antioxidants, and gene-nutrient interactions, have come together in an extraordinary manner like the pieces of a puzzle to present us with a unique opportunity to look at the biology of aging from a new perspective.

As part of this new initiative, the Institute is planning to hire several faculty and establish new research laboratories in the areas of immunosenescence, epigenetics, and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. These laboratories will be housed in the new building and constitute LPI's Healthy Aging Program, which will be directed by Dr. Hagen. This is a big undertaking, and we will only be successful with your continued support.

LPI's future looks extremely bright, with the construction of a modern research building starting soon and the launch of the Healthy Aging Program. I look forward to leading the Institute through the building process in the coming years, both as it relates to the Linus Pauling Science Center and the expansion of the Institute's research scope. I hope you share my excitement and the excitement of everyone here at LPI over these new developments and invite you to join us at OSU for the Center's grand opening in 2010!

Last updated December 2007