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Rutgers' Tabasco Sauce connection

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. Rutgers University plant scientists are truly into something hot. They are working with a research laboratory named for the late Tabasco Pepper Sauce heir, John S. McIlhenny, and built with a gift from the trust he established, the Coypu Foundation. The lab is part of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, a campus of the Louisiana State University system. At this facility, researchers collaborating with Rutgers colleagues will investigate whether plant extracts can cut risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes or other serious illnesses.

An $8 million, five-year botanical research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will enable Rutgers plant scientists to collaborate with Pennington researchers in forming the NIH Center for Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome, one of five newly funded NIH dietary supplement research centers.

Center researchers will study the effects of plant extracts on metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that predispose a person to potentially life-threatening disorders. Common risk factors include obesity, hypertension and high insulin levels. In combination, the risk factors can produce a whole the syndrome that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

This center is one of five NIH dietary supplement research centers, jointly funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplements, focusing on studies of botanical products.

With $1.4 million from the NIH grant and matching funds from Rutgers, research will be conducted in the laboratory of Ilya Raskin at the Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment on Rutgers' Cook College campus.

"We will grow most of the plants and use biochemistry to isolate the bioactive compounds," said Raskin, professor of plant science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and associate director of the new NIH center. "We will d
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Contact: Joseph Blumberg
blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
3-May-2005


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