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Research Newsletter-Fall/Winter 2013

Balz Frei, Ph.D.


Balz Frei, Ph.D.
LPI Director and Endowed Chair
Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Joan H. Facey LPI Professor

What are the most pressing health problems that will face our society in the coming decades?

How can the Linus Pauling Institute contribute to the resolution of society’s most pressing health problems?

Which knowledge-based tools and skills will be necessary for LPI to successfully address our most pressing health problems in innovative ways, especially as they involve LPI’s research, outreach, and communications efforts?

In 1996, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, California, and Oregon State University that established the Linus Pauling Institute on the OSU campus. Over the past 17 years, thanks to the outstanding faculty, staff, and students who joined the Institute, we have enjoyed considerable growth and remarkable successes in scientific research and many other areas, capped in 2011 by the completion of our new building, the Linus Pauling Science Center. Now that we have achieved the main goals and objectives set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding, it is time to once again carefully plan for the future.

To move LPI successfully into this next phase, we have embarked upon a process to determine our strategic direction for the next five years. Our process is designed to help us consider where we would like to be in 10 to 15 years and then determine how we can achieve our aspirations. Our strategic plan will help us build upon our strengths and enhance excellence, which includes meaningful impact to meet the health needs of our society.

Key participants in this planning project include LPI’s faculty and staff, other OSU faculty and administrators, our peers and scientific colleagues at other universities, and our donors and advocates of the work we do at the Institute. In March, we met with key supporters of the Institute whom we asked the three questions with which I began this column. Next, we identified a steering committee consisting of select LPI faculty and staff, OSU’s Vice President for Research and the former Dean of Research, and two donors and representatives from the private sector. Gathering the input of all LPI faculty was the next step, as well as the deans of the colleges comprising OSU’s division of health sciences and the directors of related research centers and institutes on campus.

Taking the advice from all of these stakeholder groups under careful consideration, I prepared a document in which I identified the emerging key strategic areas for LPI’s future and proposed eight task forces that each will develop three to five initiatives to address these key strategic areas in depth. The task forces are aligned with the major research and outreach/education programs in LPI, namely: Cancer Chemoprotection Program, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, Healthy Aging Program, Translational Research, Micronutrient Information Center, Healthy Youth Program, Communications, and LPI Operations. The task forces are chaired by LPI faculty and staff and consist of up to 10 members drawn from LPI faculty, staff, and students; other OSU faculty; and several outside experts, primarily scientific peers from other institutions.

As we keep up the momentum, I encourage you to contact me with questions and ideas about our strategic planning project. In the next Newsletter, I will update you on our progress and the emerging key initiatives for the Institute’s future. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading this Newsletter, which contains summaries of our Diet and Optimum Health conference last May and recent publications by LPI investigators. As always, here’s to your good health!

Last updated October 2013