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Research Newsletter-Spring/Summer 2007

Developments

Scott Palmer
LPI Director of Development

Dr. Tory Hagen has an implacable foe: aging. He and the other members of his lab are looking at the role that "age-essential" micronutrients play in helping people live longer, healthier lives. The Institute believes that an optimum diet is critical to achieving maximum healthspan.

Tory is an LPI principal investigator (PI) working in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases, one of three major core areas of research here at the Institute. The other two core research areas are Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases and Cancer Chemoprotection and Therapy. Currently the Institute has ten PIs—four in Cancer Chemoprotection and Therapy, four in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, and two in Healthy Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Our long-term goal is to have five PIs in each of our three core areas of research. Over the next five years we hope to add three investigators in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases and one each in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases and Cancer Chemoprotection and Therapy.

One of our first priorities for expansion is in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases, with a particular focus on healthspan extension. Adding an additional PI to work with Tory is a key element in our effort to expand our research into aging, but we face some unique challenges.

Part of the reason for the Institute's success has been a focus on collaboration and quality. Bringing top scientists from different disciplines together and creating an environment that strongly encourages an interchange of ideas and concepts has been one of the hallmarks of the Linus Pauling Institute.

As we continue to grow there are some important issues that we need to address. From where are we going to recruit our new PIs? How much will it cost to recruit them, and where will we get the money? And where will we put them when they get here?

The answer to the first question is relatively easy. The Linus Pauling Institute has an enviable international reputation within the scientific community. The quality of our research, the collaborative environment, and the academic independence PIs enjoy at the Institute and Oregon State University (OSU) has always been a strong magnet for top scientists.

The answer to the second question is more problematic. We often find ourselves competing with other leading research universities for the best and brightest scientists. For a top scientist, the "start-up package" that a research institute offers is an important part of the decision-making process as to where they will go. Start-up costs include computers, office and lab furniture, scientific instruments, supplies, staff support, and relocation expenses. Not surprisingly, there is a direct relationship between the sophistication and complexity of the research being conducted and the cost of the equipment.

The typical start-up package a highly recruited scientist is offered at a more well-known university is generally higher than OSU is able to offer. That's where the support of our many friends plays a crucial role for us. While we will likely never be able to match dollar for dollar top-end recruitment packages, the unrestricted donations and gifts we receive from people like you enable us to offer competitive start-up packages. The Institute has used, and will continue to use, donated funds to help attract and recruit the best scientists.

The third question is the most difficult to answer and will likely determine the future growth of the Institute more than any other issue. When Dr. Linus Pauling founded the Institute in 1973 he envisioned a physical environment where the different PIs would be working in relatively close proximity. That way a biophysicist in one lab could easily collaborate with a chemist in another lab to find an answer to a problem that neither one could solve by themselves.

Due to the Institute's ability to secure the necessary funding and then recruit outstanding PIs over the past ten years, we now have labs and scientists spread out all over the OSU campus. Now, one of the unfortunate realities that we face is that the only time that all of our scientists and researchers are together at one time in a collaborative environment is during the annual LPI scientific retreat that is held every August.

Tory's lab is located on the first floor of a fifty-year-old building. Quality research space at OSU is at a premium and when we are able to recruit another PI to work with Tory on healthspan extension, there is no guarantee that scientist and their lab would even be in the same building as Tory, let alone on the same floor.

The good news is that the leadership of OSU is very supportive of the Linus Pauling Institute. The University is working closely with the OSU Foundation to develop a permanent long-term solution to the Institute's future growth needs. If successful, Tory will be working side-by-side with other PIs in state-of-theart research space—an objective that will benefit anyone who is interested in aging research.

The Power of Planned Giving

This past year, the Linus Pauling Institute passed two important milestones. On November 1, 2006, we celebrated ten years here at Oregon State University. A few weeks after our celebration, we were notified that the Institute was the beneficiary of two large, unexpected bequests. Since 1996, including these two latest gifts, the Linus Pauling Institute has received more than $14 million in bequests and planned gifts from friends who included the Institute in their will or estate plan.

Quite simply, the Institute would not be in existence today without the amazing generosity and foresight of all of those who have provided for the Institute in their will or estate plan. Unlike research into new medical treatments, very little of what we do has the potential to be patented and then licensed to a commercial company. As a result there is no incentive for companies to fund innovative, new research in the field of orthomolecular medicine. Without the strong, ongoing philanthropic support of you and our other donors, the work of the Institute would come to a halt.

Your gift does make a difference. For our donors and supporters who will be 70 1/2 years old this year, there is a new, easy way for you to support the Institute. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 allows individuals aged 70 1/2 or older to make gifts up to $100,000 to qualified charitable organizations like ours using funds transferred directly from their IRAs. Someone who does give money from their IRA does not have to pay taxes on the amounts transferred.

For more information on how to give to the Linus Pauling Institute from your IRA, or how to include the Institute in your will or estate plan, please contact me at (541) 231-6751, or by email at scott.palmer@oregonstate.edu.

LPI is grateful for the bequests we have received from the following friends this past year:
Audrey J. Blanchard Arthur Kahn
Nancy J. Bradford Marian M. Kiger
Evelyn H. Bullock Sarah Kupchik
Dorothy Epstein Rosanne McVay
John F. Holterhoff Karla Pepe
David B. Holtzman Martha A. Winn

Last updated May 2007