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Maintaining the Balance
Basic Research in CHORI's Center for Nutrition & Metabolism

Bruce Ames, PhD is among the few hundred most cited scientists in all fields. Most well known for pioneering the Ames Test, which identifies potentially carcinogenic substances, Dr. Amesí current research goals match those of the Nutrition Center: to understand the impact of nutrition and its role in maintaining the delicate balance between health and disease.

Recent breakthroughs include Dr. Ames' study on acetyl carnitine (ALC) and R-lipoic acid (LA), which he has shown can reverse oxidative mitochondrial decay, a major contributor to aging and associated degenerative disease. Dr. Ames and his colleague, Hani Atamna, PhD, are currently investigating the role of heme synthesis in mitochondrial decay associated with aging, neural decay and cancer and whether such decay could be alleviated by proper nutrient intake necessary for mitochondrial health.

Mark Shigenaga, PhD, focuses his research on delineating the role of diet in modulating bacterial translocation, a process involving invasion of gut bacteria or their proinflammatory byproducts to extraintestinal sites. Dr. Shigenaga hypothesizes that this leakage of bacteria due to poor gut nutrition may be a potent trigger for the systemic inflammation underpinning insulin resistance, vascular dysfunction, and other metabolic derangements of aging and chronic disease.

Finding novel approaches to address disease from a nutritional angle is a common theme in the Center; Elizabeth Theil, PhD, Leader of the Council for BioIron at CHORI (CeBIC), focuses her research on the structure and function of the iron protein, ferritin, and the regulation of ferritin mRNA and genes in relationship to iron deficiency anemia. Responsible for discovering ferritin as a bioavailable food source, Dr. Theil's current research goals include determining the molecular basis for absorption of ferritin iron from food sources and finding new ways to treat global iron deficiency.

These are but a few examples of the ways in which basic researchers in the Center for Nutrition & Metabolism strive to further elucidate the interconnections between health, nutrition and disease. Explore the sidebar menu to discover all that CHORIís Center for Nutrition & Metabolism is doing to impact nutritional health world-wide.

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