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Research Newsletter-Spring/Summer 2008


Download a PDF of the Spring/Summer 2008 Research Newsletter

LPI Pilot Project Grants

The LPI Pilot Project Grants are designed to stimulate innovative research by Oregon State University scientists relevant to the mission of the Institute. These one-year awards, made possible by financial support from LPI donors, enable investigators to obtain preliminary results that can be used to support research grant applications to federal funding agencies for more extensive projects. Last year, the awards were increased from $20,000 to $25,000.

Three proposals were funded in 2008:

  • Jane Ishmael (Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Kathy Magnusson (Department of Biomedical Sciences) for "Dietary zinc levels influence NMDA receptor properties in the elderly"
  • Carmen Wong (Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences) for "Protective effects of green tea in suppressing autoimmune type 1 diabetes"
  • Robert Tanguay (Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology) for "Epigenetic modulation of micro RNAs expression during embryonic development"

Please look for articles about these projects in future LPI Research Newsletters.

LPI Public Lecture

Dr. Lenore Arab, professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, presented the 2008 LPI Public Lecture, "Personalizing Your Nutrition," on April 9th. The LPI Public Lecture series is designed to allow internationally renowned scientific and medical authorities to present reviews of important health subjects for the lay public.

Dr. Arab discussed dietary strategies to achieve our genetic potential and reduce the risk of disease, especially cancer. There is quite a lot of genetic variation among people, and the environment, including diet, can influence how genes are expressed. For example, the "copy cat" clone of a kitten that shares identical genes developed into a cat with a very different phenotype—its physical and psychological characteristics were different from those of its "twin," illustrating that dietary and other environmental factors influenced its gene expression and development. Dr. Arab also noted that consuming a high carbohydrate diet or a high protein diet dramatically changes gene expression in white blood cells in humans.

Dr. Arab recommended a diet based on plant foods, getting 30-60 minutes of exercise each day to maintain lean body mass, and limiting intake of salt, alcohol, and red meat. She stressed the need to record family history of disease and the importance of choosing diets that may help prevent disease versus diets for those who may already have disease. She also recommended avoiding the direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits because of their inaccuracies and potential for harmful disclosure that may affect insurance, employment, and family members.

Giving to the Linus Pauling Institute
Gifts in support of research efforts can be made at any time. Checks should be payable to OSU Foundation for Linus Pauling Institute. Information on giving is available through the OSU Foundation, 1-800-354-7281, or by writing to the Institute.