Photo of Balz Frei



From the Director

Balz Frei, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics
Director and Endowed Chair
Linus Pauling Institute

As you look at this issue of the Linus Pauling Institute “Newsletter”, you will notice that its title has changed to “Research Report.” We made this change because this publication mainly describes results from the research projects in the Institute’s laboratories, rather than providing advice abstracted from recent publications by investigators elsewhere. In presenting this work, our objective is to provide you with in-depth information on the role of vitamins, micronutrients and phytochemicals in promoting health and preventing disease. While this information sometimes gets a little complicated, it is our hope that it will help you better understand and appreciate the complex interactions between diet and health.

The popular media, limited by space and short attention span, often focus on and oversimplify the latest findings from a single study. These latest findings may or may not be consistent with earlier results, or may or may not be confirmed by future research. When this information becomes contradicted by a newer study, also oversimplified by the mass media, the consumer ends up confused and frustrated. When “even the experts can’t agree”, consumers may decide not to heed any dietary advice. This is tragic because diet and lifestyle are keys to good health and disease prevention. To solve the health care crisis in this country, we must focus on disease prevention, and that means focusing on improving and optimizing everyone’s diet and lifestyle. This complex subject, like others in science, is full of nuance and distinctions that can be better understood only when we look beneath the surface. And that’s the reason why we want to provide you with balanced, evidence-based information, even if it sometimes takes a little work to understand. We hope that the Linus Pauling Institute Research Report will allow you to make your own informed decisions on what’s best for you and your loved ones. And, of course, we try our best to respond to questions about the information we provide.

It is also my pleasure to introduce three new faculty in the Institute. Photo of Emily HoDr. Emily Ho recently was appointed Assistant Professor in Oregon State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Management and holds an affiliate “Scientist” appointment in the Institute. Dr. Ho, like LPI Principal Investigator Dr. Tory Hagen and myself, received post-doctoral training in Dr. Bruce Ames’ laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley. Before that, she earned a Ph.D. degree in Nutrition from The Ohio State University under the guidance of now-LPI “Senior Scientist” and Dean of OSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences, Dr. Tammy Bray (see article). Dr. Ho’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which antioxidant nutrients inhibit the initiation and progression of chronic disease. She is particularly interested in the link between low zinc intake and increased oxidative DNA damage, which may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer. Amazingly, ten percent of the US population consumes less than half of the recommended dietary allowance for zinc (8 and 11 mg/day for adult females and males, respectively). Therefore, Dr. Ho’s research has important public health implications.

Photo of Fred StevensThe second recent faculty to join LPI is Dr. Fred Stevens, who is a Research Assistant Professor in the Institute and also has an appointment in OSU’s Department of Chemistry. Dr. Stevens earned his Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Groningen University in the Netherlands. His research interest is in the chemistry and biochemistry of flavonoids and other natural products. Dr. Stevens did extensive work on the antioxidant and anti-cancer activities of hop flavonoids. He is now investigating novel antioxidant functions of vitamin C and uric acid, a natural breakdown product of DNA.

Photo of George BaileyFinally, Dr. George Bailey recently joined LPI as a full member and Principal Investigator. Dr. Bailey has been an affiliate member of the Institute for many years and has made very significant contributions to cancer research at OSU and LPI (see lead article in the Fall/Winter 2002 Newsletter). Dr. Bailey is a Distinguished Professor at OSU and served for over 10 years as Director of its Marine Freshwater/Biomedical Sciences Center, which is now headed by LPI Principal Investigator Dr. David Williams (see article). Dr. Bailey was instrumental in establishing LPI at OSU in 1996, and it is an honor to have him formally join the Institute. Drs. Bailey and Williams, together with LPI Principal Investigator Dr. Rod Dashwood, were recently awarded a very large grant from the National Cancer Institute. This grant will help support Dr. Bailey’s research program on the relationship between diet and cancer, specifically the chemoprevention of cancer by chlorophyll and other dietary components. I am very pleased and excited to have Drs. Ho, Stevens, and Bailey join the Institute to further advance our research into the role of diet in health promotion and disease prevention.

Last updated May, 2003

Micronutrient Research for Optimum Health

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