News Archive

First Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Features Dr. Emily Ho Discussing the Science and Nutrition Behind Cancer Prevention

The Center for Research on Families was pleased to host Dr. Emily Ho who gave the first Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture of the year on February 1, 2013. Dr. Emily Ho, Ph.D., Endowed Director of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health Associate Professor and Principal Investigator

in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, gave a presentation on “Dietary Histone DeacetylaseInhibitors for Cancer Prevention” to a full room of faculty and students about how cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can prevent cancer. She was invited to campus to meet with Family Research Scholar Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, who studies breast milk to gain insight into the causes and development of breast cancer.


In this lecture, Ho explained her process of using epigenetics which are the compounds outside of DNA that can cause problems and contribute to cancer. Her work on this topic began when she noticed the similarities between medications used to treat prostate cancer and the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables that she was studying in her nutrition lab. By examining these compounds, Ho's research supports that broccoli can help prevent and reverse cancer-causing changes in our bodies that occur at a molecular level. Her research profile at Orgeon State can be found here.


Ho explained that the wonderful thing about nutrition is that you can start in a Petri dish and quickly progress to making an impact in people’s lives. She started this work six years ago and highlighted that no other drug can go from the basic science to a clinical trial in such a short time.  She has also been conducting tests that compare broccoli supplements with the real sprouts themselves. By looking at the body’s response to these vegetables and supplements, it is clear that the supplements simply do not have the benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables themselves. So when all of the science is said and done, Professor Ho concluded: eat your broccoli.



As part of the Center for Research on Families (CRF), the Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series brings nationally recognized speakers with expertise in family research to campus each year. The speakers provide public lectures, highlighting the importance of research on the family and its implications for public policy, and provide research consultation to CRF Family Research Scholars. The lecture series began in 1999 though an endowment established in memory of Tay Gavin Erickson.



The second Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture entitled, “Can Meanings be Modeled? Exploring a Neural Networks Model of Culture” will feature Dr. Christine A. Bachrach on Thursday, February 21, 2013. For a complete list of the lecture series, visit our upcoming events page.


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