American Society For Nutrition

“Chemistry for Combating and Preventing Disease”

“Chemistry for Combating and Preventing Disease”

Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice

“Chemistry for Combating and Preventing Disease”
A Joint Meeting with the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the American Chemical Society (ACS)
August 22 – 26, 2010
Boston, MA

ASN has developed an educational program with the Agriculture and Food Division of the American Chemical Society. The series of symposia and events within “Chemistry for Preventing and Combating Disease” will delve into obesity, antioxidants, brain issues, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In addition to access to the symposia, panel discussion, poster receptions, exposition and a special plenary featuring Dr. Susan Roberts, Tufts University; Dr. Bruce Ames, Oakland Children's Hospital; and Deborah Sheely, Deputy Administrator NIFA Competitive Program round out the program. Attendees will also have access to videotaped sessions.

Symposia Descriptions:

Plenary Session Speakers

  • Dr. Susan Roberts, Tufts University, will discuss how childhood obesity relates to health outcomes later in life and how food chemistry, nutrition and medicine can come together to improve the outcomes.
  • Dr. Bruce Ames, Oakland Children's Hospital, will talk about new understanding of the relationships of diet and chronic diseases.
  • Dr. Deborah Sheely, Deputy Administrator NIFA Competitive Program, will discuss how NIFA funding programs will help influence and support research at the juncture of Chemistry, Nutrition and Medicine.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Diabetes
Speakers: Dr. Augustin Scalbert, INRA, UnitÉ de Nutrition Humaine, Centre de Recherche de Clermont-Ferrand/Theix; Dr. Paul E. Milbury, Tufts University, Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging; Dr. Kevin D. Croft, University of Western Australia, School of Medicine and Pharmacology; Dr. Bruce A. Watkins, Purdue University; Prof. David Jacobs, University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Dr. Peter C. H. Hollman, RIKILT - Wageningen University; Dr. G. Harvey Anderson, Dept. of Physiology, University of Toronto; Dr. James W. Anderson, Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine, University of Kentucky

One of the major negative outcomes of obesity is diabetes, which frequently leads to cardiovascular diseases. This symposium brings together an international group of speakers who will address risk factors, biochemical causes and how diet improvements including fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components in foods can reduce risk of diabetes and CVD.

Nutrition, Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease – Dedicated In Memory of Dr. James Joseph of USDA Tufts Center on Aging
Speakers: Dr. Gregory M. Cole, VA Medical Center; Dr. Donald K. Ingram, Nutritional Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Center; Dr. Elizabeth Head, University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

This symposium was originally organized by James Joseph of USDA Tuft's Center on Aging. Unfortunately, Dr. Joseph died unexpectedly, so the Symposium will be memorial to Jim's outstanding work in brain biochemistry. The symposium will provide evidence that diet could play an important role in increasing “brain health span” and prevent or forestall age-related neuronal deficits. The inclusion of fruits (e.g., berryfruit), beverages (e.g. red wine), fish or walnuts containing compounds with antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties may prevent neurodegenerative disease and promote healthy brain aging.

New Perspectives on Antioxidants
Organized by Dr. John Finley, National Program Leader in Human Nutrition, USDA/ARS

The in vivo significance of antioxidants derived from dietary sources is their ability to ameliorate oxidative stress, and putatively to retard aging and reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. The primary action of antioxidants has traditionally been considered to be sequestration or removal of oxygen radicals at the site of injury, thus preventing oxidative stress. To this end, numerous putative antioxidant substances have been investigated for health benefits in humans, however, many human supplementation trials have shown either no benefit or even health detriments. Such results have led to the alternative hypotheses that a) small amounts of oxidative stress are actually beneficial to health, and b) some important antioxidants from foods do not function by direct absorption of an oxygen radical, but rather via inducing a variety of genes/transcription factors that then induce enzymes that function to remove pro-oxidants and/or oxygen radicals.

This symposium will focus on three primary areas. One focus will be on the emerging research area of "mitohormesis," the hypothesis that a small amount of oxidative stress is actually healthy and necessary for prevention of some chronic diseases such as diabetes. The second area of focus will be on a specific gene activation pathway that a large body of research is proving to be extremely important in control of intra-cellular oxidative stress and serves as a model for other potential mechanisms, the NRF2-Antioxidant Response Element axis. Some talks will elucidate the biochemical mechanism of this pathway whereas others will focus on its in vivo significance. Finally, the third area to be discussed will be natural products that activate antioxidant enzymes, especially those in the NRF2 pathway. The overall significance of the symposium will be to spotlight emerging research showing that antioxidant benefits may be derived from foods, but many of the benefits are through biochemical pathways not associated with traditional oxygen radical sequestration. The food and nutrition industry should carefully examine such research when developing products that claim “antioxidant” or “anti-aging” potential.

Agricultural and Food Derived Natural Products for Preventing and Combating Disease
Speakers: Dr. Bhimu Patil, Director, Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center, Texas A&M University; Dr. Navindra P. Seeram, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Rhode Island; Dr. G.K.Jayaprakasha, Research Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University; Dr. K.N.C. Murthy, Texas A&M University

The symposium provides an integrated approach to address the chemistry of natural products for their application in disease prevention through in vitro and human intervention studies. The ever increasing health care costs and desire to live a healthy lifestyle reiterate the importance of research on innovative ideas to prevent diseases. Like any innovative science the fundamental reasoning of the cause and effect of these natural products can only be made possible through researching the structural properties and their putative health beneficial properties. This field of research is not geographically limited and is being pursued globally. Scientists from all over the world with common interests are scheduled to come together and exchange ideas and results. The symposium has four main sessions: 1) Purification and characterization of natural compounds, 2) In vitro model for prevention and combating disease, 3) In vivo model for prevention and combating disease, and 4) Human intervention studies for prevention and combating.

Small Wonders: Peptides for Disease Control
Speakers: Dr. Kanniah Rajasekaran, USDA‐ARS‐SRRC; Dr. Jeffrey Cary, USDA‐ARS‐SRRC; Dr. Jesse Jaynes, Tuskegee University

Naturally occurring and synthetic peptides have a plethora of functions as a) antimicrobial/anticancer agents, b) immunomodulators, and c) signaling molecules/hormones throughout plant and animal kingdoms. The advent of automated peptide synthesizers and combinatorial peptide chemistry has made it possible for rational synthesis of stable and to target specific peptides with increased efficacy to control diseases. The symposium highlights recent advances on the structure/function and use of small peptide molecules to control plant and human diseases.

Antioxidant Analysis: Challenges and Critical Issues
Speakers: Dr. Luke Howard, Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas; Dr. Dave Luthria, MIB, Food Composition and Methods Development Lab, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, USDA/ARS

Antioxidants are phytochemicals that are ubiquitously distributed throughout the plant kingdom.  Antioxidants may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable free radicals. The session entitled “Antioxidant Analysis: Challenges and Critical Issues” will present research from nine internationally known scientists from different regions of the globe.  The presentations included during this session will deal with factors influencing extraction of antioxidants from different plants and food matrices. Application of different antioxidant methodologies currently used by different researchers will be presented with focus on issues and challenges associated with each antioxidant assay.

Antioxidants and Health
Speakers: Dr. Lucy Yu, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland; Dr. Rong Tsao, Research Scientist, Chemistry & Biochemistry of Phytochemical Antioxidants, Guelph Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; and others TBD

The roles of phytochemical antioxidants in maintaining human health and preventing chronic diseases have been well accepted in both the scientific community and the general public.  The mechanisms behind effects of most antioxidants on lipid oxidation and other oxidative processes involving vital biomolecules such as protein and DNA are also fairly well understood. The antioxidant activities of individual or a group of phytochemicals such as polyphenols and carotenoids have been mostly confirmed by in vitro models, however, the antioxidative effect in the actual human body is a collective and combinatorial result of all phytochemical antioxidants. The mechanism of the antioxidants involving multiple phytochemicals is therefore far more complex. 

The aim of this symposium is to provide a forum for the leading scientists to update and share their most recent scientific discoveries in the area of phytochemical antioxidants and their roles in human health.