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Research Newsletter-Spring/Summer 2008


A special event at Oregon State University on April 22nd celebrated the new endowed Burgess and Elizabeth Jamieson Chair in Healthspan Research in LPI. Dr. Tory Hagen, director of LPI's Healthy Aging Program, will hold this Chair. Dr. Hagen joined LPI in 1998 after finishing a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Ames at the University of California-Berkeley. Dr. Ames, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is a recipient of the National Medal Of Science and the LPI Prize for Health Research. Prior to joining Dr. Ames's lab, Dr. Hagen received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Emory University in Atlanta. He is an LPI Principal Investigator and an associate professor in OSU's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Tory M. Hagen

LPI Director Balz Frei, OSU Foundation President Mike Goodwin, and OSU President Ed Ray thanked the Jamiesons for their transformational gift. Ed Ray saluted Burgess Jamieson as a venture capitalist and co-founder of Sigma Partners in California who "shared two beliefs that Linus Pauling certainly would have held: pursue great ideas and invest in creative, productive people who can translate these ideas into realities."

Dr. Hagen worked on glutathione, an important biological antioxidant, in Dr. Dean Jones's lab at Emory. He published papers on the bioavailability of glutathione and its protection of tissues from oxidative damage, and started to think about oxidative stress in mitochondria, the organelles in cells that produce chemical energy, and aging. In the Ames lab, Dr. Hagen worked on age-related mitochondrial dysfunction and its remediation in old rats with the dietary supplements acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid. Drs. Hagen and Ames found that supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine, a nonprotein amino acid that shuttles fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are burned to generate energy, increased physical activity and improved cognitive function in old rats by restoring mitochondrial activity. They also found that co-supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid, a mitochondrial antioxidant, further improved performance. Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid normalized vitamin C status in old rats, which was found to decline with age.

Dr. Hagen and his colleagues have more recently been investigating the age-related decline in the efficiency of a cellular vitamin C transporter, as well as the roles of alpha-lipoic acid in cell signaling apart from its antioxidant function, in protecting the liver from toxic insults, and in cardiac, brain, and endothelial function.

The Healthy Aging Program was recently established at LPI to help everyone achieve their maximum healthspan through optimum health. In the expansion of this initiative, LPI will recruit three new faculty to explore and better understand the biological causes of aging and how they are affected by diet, micronutrients, and lifestyle.

The Jamieson's extraordinary gift will allow LPI to accelerate the development of our Healthy Aging Program, and we are grateful for their generous support to create the Jamieson Chair.

Last updated June 2008