Science Café Cleveland presents


Antioxidants - Direct from the Fountain of Youth?

Are antioxidants the magic elixir of immortality or poisons in disguise?


JANUARY 9, 2012




Dr. John Mieyal and Dr. Mike Maguire

(Professors of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University)




Are antioxidants the key to health and longevity, or a risk to normal body functions?  From the ancient time about 3 billion years ago when oxygen became a major component of our atmosphere, organisms from bacteria to humans have had to adapt to so-called “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) with defense mechanisms to avoid damage to vital cellular functions.  We have learned of correlations between ROS-mediated toxicity and aging.  The diseases of the elderly (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, etc.) have been attributed to ROS being out of control.  Accordingly, society has embraced the notion that antioxidants are crucial to a healthy longevity.  Is this an evidenced based conclusion, or is it a clever marketing ploy?  Are ROS necessary for natural functions in the body, or should they be destroyed at all costs?  A critical look at historical and modern research on the role of ROS in health and disease provides a perspective on the effective use of antioxidants.


ANTIOXIDANTS - A path to immortality or a ride to the grave:




Dr. John Mieyal received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from John Carroll University. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Mieyal did postdoctoral research studies at Brandeis University, and he began his independent academic career at Northwestern University with a joint appointment in the Departments of Pharmacology and Biochemistry.


Dr. Mieyal is Professor and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology where he conducts his research program and oversees the educational mission of the Department. He holds joint appointments in the departments of Chemistry and Environmental Health Sciences, and in the Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also holds a Research Chemist appointment at the Louis B. Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Research Center. Current research emphasis in Dr. Mieyal’s laboratory is focused on mechanisms of alterations in redox regulation in Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular diseases, both prevalent among the elderly.


Dr. Mieyal is recognized internationally for advancing knowledge of redox regulation and signal transduction in health and disease, especially involving the glutaredoxin and thioredoxin enzyme systems. Professor Mieyal has been a featured speaker at many international symposia on Redox Regulation and Thiol Homeostasis in recent years, including those sponsored by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the International Redox Network, and the International Gordon Conferences. He has served on scientific review boards for the American Heart Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and he is currently guest editor for a special Forum Issue of the premier journal Antioxidants and Redox Regulation. Besides recognition for his research, Dr. Mieyal has won several University awards for his medical and graduate school teaching and mentorship, most recently the first annual Inamori Award for Excellence in Mentoring, and he has served on the Pharmacology Committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners.


Dr. Michael E. Maguire is from a small ranching/farming town in the Texas Panhandle, he went to Rice University in Houston majoring in Biology and Chemistry with minors in theater and philosophy on the side, and working as a carpenter summers and other odd times. Serendipitously, he landed a postdoc in the Department of Pharmacology, Univ. Virginia, with Alfred Gilman (I was his first postdoctoral fellow) and participated in the discovery of G proteins for which Al won the Nobel Prize in 1994. After 4 yr in Virginia, had several job offers, took the one at CWRU because it was a small, growing Department. I stayed at Case for 35 years until my retirement on 2011, although I don’t seem to know what the word “retire” means as I’m still working.




WHERE: The Market Garden Brewery

(Located at 1947 West 25th Street next to the West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio)


WHEN: January 9, 2012

Drinks at 6:30 pm, discussion starts around 7:00 pm


WHO: Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN

ideastream, and the Market Garden Brewery



click here to download a pdf of the event flyer