The Linus Pauling Institute Endowed Chair and Directorship
The Linus Pauling Institute Endowed Chair at OSU was created soon after the institute moved from Palo Alto to Corvallis in 1996. As a result of negotiations between OSU officials and the Board of Trustees of the original Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, the institute’s cash assets were donated to the OSU Foundation, creating an endowment to perpetuate the chair. The donation was matched by the state of Oregon.
The endowment continues to grow as a result of donations from friends of the Linus Pauling Institute. Funds from the endowment support the research of an internationally recognized expert in nutrition, and the promotion of nutrition and health-related issues around the world.
Linus Pauling, a 1922 OSU graduate in chemical engineering, remains the only person ever to win two unshared Nobel Prizes. Acclaimed as one of the greatest scientists in history, Pauling co-founded the institute as a nonprofit research organization in 1973. LPI is renowned for its scientific work in the fields of nutrition and human health, and has made notable contributions in the fields of aging, heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
At the time of the institute’s move to OSU, former university president John Byrne called it “extraordinary news for Oregon State and the state of Oregon. We believe having the Pauling Institute at OSU will help to focus international attention on the quality of research in the Pacific Northwest. We are also confident it will stimulate new opportunities for scholarly exchange and the creation of new knowledge at Oregon State.”
After an international search for a director of the Linus Pauling Institute, Balz Frei was chosen as the first holder of the Linus Pauling Institute Endowed Chair in 1997. At the same time, he was hired as a professor in OSU's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Before coming to OSU, Balz Frei was an associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine.
Director Frei is an internationally recognized expert on the role of antioxidants, including vitamin C, in atherosclerosis and heart disease. His primary area of interest lies in the role of nutritional factors in maintaining optimal health and preventing and treating disease, a subject at the center of Linus Pauling’s concerns for the last twenty-five years of his career. While Director Frei’s goals for the institute as a whole include improving public health by discovering new ways of preventing and treating various diseases by nutritional means and by promoting health education around the world, his laboratory research, in particular, is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms by which oxidative stress and antioxidants affect cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
After completing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Balz Frei worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Bruce N. Ames at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1990 to 1994, Professor Frei held faculty positions in nutrition and toxicology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and from 1994 to 1997 faculty positions in medicine and biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine.
Balz Frei has been honored with many grants and awards from various government and industry organizations and serves as a member of peer review committees of the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. He also has chaired numerous scientific conferences, including the Gordon Research Conference on Oxygen Radicals in Biology, and edited the book, Natural Antioxidants in Human Health and Disease. He has published many research articles, reviews, and book chapters. He is a Fellow of the Council on Arteriosclerosis of the American Heart Association and a past president of the Society for Free Radical Biology & Medicine.
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