Purdue University-University of Alabama at Birmingham

Botanicals Center for Dietary Supplements Research

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Purdue-UAB Botanicals Center for Dietary Supplements Research
"Polyphenols and Age-Related Diseases"

Because of unprecedented use of botanicals-based dietary supplements by the American public in recent years following the 1994 DSHEA Act, the National Institutes of Health has mandated rigorous scientific study of botanicals-based dietary supplements. In 2000, NIH through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) established a Botanicals Centers program. After the first five years of funding, the Botanicals Centers underwent a competitive renewal. A total of five Botanicals Centers have been funded in 2005 for another five years (http://nccam.nih.gov/news/2005/040705.htm). Two of these, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Purdue-UAB consortium were renewed. New Botanicals Centers have been established at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, the Memorial-Sloan-Kettering , Cornell and Rockefeller Universities consortium, and the Wake Forest University - Harvard University consortium. In 2002, Iowa State University joined the Botanicals Centers program.

The Purdue-UAB Botanicals Center for Age-Related Disease is directed by Dr. Connie Weaver from Purdue University. Dr. Stephen Barnes from UAB is the Associate Director. The mission of the Purdue-UAB Center is to study the efficacy and mechanisms of action of those botanicals-based dietary supplements enriched in polyphenols, which have been shown to have anti-oxidant activities generally beneficial for human health. Polyphenols are compounds such as the soy isoflavones in soy and in kudzu root and the proanthocyanidins enriched in grape seed preparations, three common types of dietary supplements already marketed.

There are three principal projects within the Purdue-UAB Botanicals Center:
Project 1: Polyphenols and osteoporosis (Connie Weaver, Purdue);
Project 2: Cardio- and neuroprotective mechanisms of polyphenols (J. Michael Wyss, UAB);
Project 3: Singlet oxygen, polyphenols and lens proteins (Stephen Barnes, UAB).

The projects are supported by several cores:
Core A: Administrative and Biostatistical core (Connie Weaver, Purdue, )
Core B: Botanicals and Education Outreach core (James Simon, Rutgers)
Core C: Analytical: clinical, AMS, BAS (Richard Mattes, Purdue)
Core D: In vivo bioavailability (Stephen Barnes, UAB; Elsa Janle, Purdue)

A very important function of the Botanicals Center is the annual symposium, held alternately at the Purdue or UAB campuses. See "Symposium page" for details of the Program.