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Research Initiatives

The Cancer Chemoprotection Program

The Cancer Chemoprotection Program identifies previously unstudied phytochemicals (chemicals from plants that may affect health) and develops existing phytochemicals as supplements that can protect against different types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, prostate, and liver cancer. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for the anticancer effect of certain dietary compounds, such as tea catechins, sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, allyl sulfides, chlorophyll, and zinc. We are also interested in epigenetic effects that modulate cancer risk across the lifespan, from the fetus to adulthood.

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases

The work performed in the laboratories of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases program is aimed at a better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases (primarily heart disease, stroke, and hypertension), metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease, and type II diabetes. The role of oxidative stress and inflammation in the causation of these diseases is being investigated, as well as the protective effects of micronutrients and other dietary factors or supplements, such as vitamins C and E, lipoic acid, fish oil, and flavonoids.

The Healthy Aging Program

The goal of the Healthy Aging Program is to move geriatric medicine from reactively responding to disease, when it is costly and difficult to treat, to proactively discovering and substituting strategies that prolong healthspan by compressing morbidity and reducing mortality from chronic diseases. Fundamental research initiatives are aimed at understanding the “vitality assurance” processes at the cellular and molecular level that maintain health during aging, and discovering “age-essential” micronutrients and dietary regimens that can limit the risk for developing age-associated diseases.