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Research Newsletter-Spring/Summer 2011

Balz Frei


Balz Frei, Ph.D.
LPI Director and Endowed Chair
OSU Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

For three reasons, 2011 is a banner year for the Linus Pauling Institute. First, the new Linus Pauling Science Center is nearing completion and will open its doors in August. The architects, general contractor, and project manager have done an outstanding job keeping construction of the new building near-flawless, on schedule, and on budget. The $62.5 million, 105,000-square-foot science center is the most expensive academic building project in the history of Oregon State University and will be a working memorial to our founder and OSU alumnus, Dr. Linus Pauling. The top two floors of the four-story building will be dedicated to the Institute and provide state-of-the-art laboratory space for our faculty, students, and research staff in the Institute’s three major research programs: the Cancer Chemoprotection Program, the Healthy Aging Program, and the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Program. The new building will represent a leap forward for the Institute, bringing together our scientists, students, and administrative staff under a single roof for the first time, promoting increased interactions and new collaborations, and generating scientific discoveries in disease prevention and health promotion through research in nutrition, micronutrients, and dietary supplements.

Second, the new building will also provide laboratory and office space for two new Principal Investigators in the Healthy Aging Program. This program, directed by long-time LPI faculty member and Jamieson Endowed Chair in Healthspan Research, Dr. Tory Hagen, has two principal goals: to better understand the cellular and molecular processes underlying the biology of aging, such as declining energy metabolism and immune function and increased chronic inflammation and oxidative stress; and to identify dietary and lifestyle regimens, including dietary supplements, to postpone age-related diseases and deficits of daily living, thereby extending healthspan. We are currently conducting a national search for a faculty position in "Biochemistry of Aging" and have identified an outstanding candidate with expertise in the role of protein stability and oxidative stress in healthy aging. I am looking forward to introducing our new faculty member to you in the next Research Newsletter. The final position in the Healthy Aging Program, which we hope to fill in the next two years, will focus on the causation and prevention of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

Third, in 2011, we will hold our Diet and Optimum Health conference in Corvallis for the first time, which allows us to showcase the beautiful campus of OSU and the new Linus Pauling Science Center. This will be our sixth Diet and Optimum Health conference, and it will feature some of the most prominent scientists in the fields of nutrition, aging research, and preventive and orthomolecular medicine. The program includes sessions on the role of diet and micronutrients in immune function, cardiovascular diseases, and healthy aging, as well as two sessions focusing on vitamin E and probiotics. The detailed program with all the speakers and topics can be found here. In addition, we will award the sixth Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research, which recognizes innovation and excellence in research relating to the roles of micronutrients, phytochemicals, and dietary antioxidant and antiinflammatory factors in promoting health and preventing disease. The awardee will join our illustrious list of previous winners, Drs. Bruce N. Ames from the University of California, Berkeley, and Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute; Walter Willett from Harvard; Paul Talalay from Johns Hopkins; Mark Levine from the National Institutes of Health; and Michael Holick from Boston University School of Medicine. The fall edition of the Newsletter will provide a summary of the conference and a detailed profile of this year's LPI Prize winner, along with a glimpse of the new Linus Pauling Science Center.

Last updated July 2011