LPI Graduate Fellows

Each laboratory at LPI sponsors a Ph.D. candidate who pursues his or her degree through research in the Institute. These Fellowships of two-years’ duration are funded by donations to LPI from individuals, corporations, and private foundations. Each Fellow receives full tuition and a stipend; sponsored travel to two scientific conferences; a two-month stay at another institution in the Fellow’s field of study; a research allowance for books, software, and equipment; publication of a research article in the LPI newsletter; and a two-week residency in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers at OSU’s Valley Library. 

There are currently four LPI Fellows: Alexander Michels, Yu Zhen, Angela Mastaloudis, and Jung Suh.

Alexander MichelsAlexander Michels hails from the south suburbs of Chicago and until now has lived his entire life in Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an undergraduate, where he received his B.S. in Biochemistry, graduating with high distinction. After working briefly in a molecular biology laboratory at the University of Chicago, he came to Oregon State University as an LPI fellowship student. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Alex works in Dr. Tory Hagen’s lab, under the broad scope of understanding the changes in oxidant production and anti-oxidant status during the aging process. He is concentrating on vitamin C, especially its decline in older animals. The reason for this decline in vitamin C is unknown and could be due to a variety of factors that change during the aging process. Specifically, he is investigating the transport and levels of vitamin C and its oxidized counterpart, dehydroascorbic acid, in cells isolated from rat organs. This research will help us to understand how antioxidant defense changes during the aging process as the amount of free radicals increases.

Yu ZhenYu Zhen earned her B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Biology in 1994 from the Department of Environmental Science, Nankai University, P.R. China. She worked as an engineer in the Environmental Protection Agency of Yantai, Shandong province, P.R. China from 1994 to 1996. For the next three years, she studied the etiologic hypothesis of Kashin-Beck Disease, an endemic osteoarthrophy in China, at the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Yu Zhen is presently a Ph.D. student in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and works in the cancer chemoprotection program in LPI, which focuses on the study of phytochemicals as cancer prevention agents. Initially she studied whole wheat, refined wheat, and wheat bran as inhibitors of the heterocyclic amines, also known as cooked-meat mutagens, using both the Salmonella mutagenicity assay and the rat colonic aberrant crypt focus assay in Dr. Dashwood’s lab. She now focuses on possible cancer chemprotection by the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol, found in cruciferous vegetables, against transplacental cancinogenesis in mice. She carries out these studies in Dr. David Williams’s lab.

Angela Mastaloudis Angela Mastaloudis earned her B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1992. She then spent six years in the recreation industry working for the forest service, fishing in Alaska, and teaching snow skiing and snow boarding. In 1998 she returned to school, earning her M.S. degree in Nutrition Science at Oregon State University in 2000. She is working on her Ph.D. in Exercise and Sport Science, with a focus on Exercise Physiology. 

Angela studies the role of oxidative stress in exercise. For her master’s thesis project, she conducted an experiment with 14 runners in a 50 km ultramarathon race. She observed an increase in markers of oxidative stress and an increase in the rate of vitamin E utilization during the race. For her doctoral thesis project, she plans to supplement a similar group of runners with vitamin E and/or vitamin C for six weeks prior to the 50km run. This will allow her to test whether or not prior supplementation with antioxidants can attenuate the increase in levels of oxidative stress markers and slow the rate of vitamin E disappearance that was reported for the first ultramarathon race. Angela is an LPI fellow in Dr. Maret Traber’s laboratory.

Jung SuhJung Suh first came to the U.S. in 1987 from Thailand to attend a small high school just outside New Haven, Connecticut. He received his B.A. in biology from Boston University in 1994. He then entered the School of Public Health at Boston University to study epidemiology and biostatistics. After receiving an M.P.H. in 1996, he joined Dr. Balz Frei’s laboratory as a technician and later became a graduate student studying with Dr. Frei at Boston University School of Medicine. Jung moved with Dr. Frei to Oregon State University to continue studies under his mentorship. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics studying under both Drs. Balz Frei and Tory Hagen.

The central aim of Jung’s dissertation project is to establish the mechanism(s) by which antioxidants, such as ascorbate and lipoic acid, protect against iron-mediated oxidative stress. Iron is a vital micronutrient, but its aberrant accumulation is highly deleterious because it can convert less reactive oxygen species like hydrogen peroxide into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals that can damage macromolecules, such as proteins, lipids, and DNA, and lead to myocardial dysfunction or neurodegeneration. Jung has studied the antioxidant and possible pro-oxidant effects of vitamin C. His results indicate that even under conditions where iron and hydrogen peroxide were added to human blood, ascorbate protects against rather than enhances iron-dependent lipid and protein oxidation. He has also shown that lipoic acid supplementation in old rats can lower the level of free iron in the brain and restore their short-term memory. In the rat heart, he has found that lipoic acid supplementation can lower oxidative stress and restore the level of other antioxidants.

Last updated May, 2001

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