Eat Your Vegetables

Brian Duling

Medical school professor Janet Cross and Dennis Templeton, chairman of the UVA Department of Pathology, have received a $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study how vegetables like broccoli work to prevent cancer.

After Cross and Templeton discovered that nutrients in broccoli bond with a specific enzyme that is clearly linked to inflammatory disease processes, Cross was able to establish a cancer link when she found that mice who did not have the gene for this enzyme developed far fewer cancers.

“If we can determine that this specific enzyme is the reason the compounds in broccoli work to prevent cancer, then these nutrients or similar chemicals could be turned into anti-cancer compounds,” Cross says.

Top Scientists

Hank Shugart

Brian Duling, a prominent cardiovascular researcher, and Herman “Hank” Shugart Jr., a leading systems ecologist, are the inaugural winners of the University of Virginia Distinguished Scientist Award.

Duling is currently focused on research that has important implications for the overall understanding of the cardiovascular system and associated problems such as hypertension. Shugart’s research employs computer modeling of forests and entire ecosystems to predict the effects of a variety of factors, including climate change.

Road Sick

That hotel guest with the nasty cold will probably leave behind an infectious gift for the next guest—from the phone to the faucet. In experiments conducted in hotel rooms, researchers with the UVA Health System found that adults infected with rhinovirus, the cause of half of all colds, contaminate many objects used in daily life. Most people already know that skin-to-skin contact can result in catching someone else’s cold, but may mistakenly assume that viruses can’t live long on inanimate surfaces like light switches, TV remotes and telephones.