New Pilot Project Awards

Four OSU professors have been awarded one-year LPI Pilot Project awards of $20,000, beginning March 1, 1998:

Dr. George Bailey, Distinguished Professor and LPI affiliate investigator, will conduct studies to evaluate the inhibition of chemical carinogenesis by dietary chlorophyll, the green pigment present in many vegetables. Dr. Bailey and his colleagues will feed derivatives and extracts of chlorophyll to fingerling trout exposed to a chemical carcinogen and then measure tumor formation after forty weeks. In some trout, they will also check the amount of chemical carcinogen bound to DNA, with the expectation that chlorophyll will reduce the amount of DNA-carcinogen adducts formed as well as decrease the incidence of tumors.

Dr. David Williams, Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and LPI affiliate investigator, and his colleague will investigate the anticancer effect of six abundant ginsenosides, which are compounds present in both Asian and American ginseng. Crude extracts and purified compounds will be tested in human breast cancer cells grown in culture. Since the ginsenosides possess estrogen-like properties, their effect as hormones will also be evaluated to determine beneficial as well as possible detrimental effects.

Dr. Ching Yuan Hušs project will focus on the inhibition of adipogenesis, or generation of fat tissue, by retinoic acid, which is a naturally occurring form of vitamin A. Using mouse cell cultures, Dr. Hu and his colleagues will check the influence of retinoic acid on the gene regulatory role of a protein (COUP-TF) that inhibits the maturation of preadipocytes into fat cells. Retinoic acid is known to play an important role in cell differentiation (development of normal, mature function), and this project will add to our understanding of the physiological mechanisms of retinoic acid. With new understanding of the interplay between COUP-TF and retinoic acid, it may be possible to devise innovative ways to reduce obesity. Dr. Hu is a Professor of Animal Sciences.

Dr. Anthony Vella, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and LPI affiliate investigator, has designed a project to help understand the nature of immune reactions involved in arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. He and his colleagues will test the influence of inflammatory molecules on the death of certain immune system cells called T lymphocytes that are involved in cell-mediated immunity. T cells originate in the bone marrow and then mature in the thymus, which is a small organ located near the heart. Tolerance, the ability of the body not to attack its own constituent molecules, is dependent upon normal T cell behavior. B lymphocytes are components of humoral immunity and produce antibodies by a reaction with an antigen. Their activation results in the clonal expansion of these cells and the release of soluble antibodies, which in turn stimulate the production of complement (serum proteins that nonspecifically bind to foreign molecules). In contrast, T cells have receptors on their surface that interact with antigens presented on the surface of foreign cells. Interactions between B cells, various types of T cells, and complement are very complex. Dr. Vella will study the influence of complement on the survival and death of T cells as well as other aspects of T cell activation.

--Stephen Lawson

Last updated May, 1998

Honoring a Scientific Giant with Research Toward Longer, Better Lives

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