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Stephanie Seneff, PhD
Taurine is a unique nutrient found only in animal-based foods, and absent from plant-based foods. It is considered to be one of the amino acids, and is among the small set of sulfur-containing amino acids, along with cysteine and methionine. However, taurine is structured differently from all other amino acids, containing a sulfonyl group in place of the usual carboxyl group, and likely as a consequence it never shows up in any proteins. It also rarely participates in any reactions. Yet it is one of the most common free amino acids in the body, and it is especially highly concentrated in the heart, liver, and brain, arguably the three most important organs of the body. Reduced taurine levels in the blood are associated with many cancers. In this talk, I will take a hard look at taurine metabolism, and suggest novel ways in which it may play an essential protective role in diseases like cancer and conditions like autism and encephalitis.
Stephanie Seneff, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She has a Bachelor's degree from MIT in biology with a minor in food and nutrition, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, also from MIT.
Throughout her career, Dr. Seneff has conducted research in diverse areas, including human auditory modeling, spoken dialogue systems, natural language processing, information retrieval and summarization, and computational biology. She has published nearly 200 refereed articles in technical journals and conferences on these subjects, and has been invited to give several keynote speeches. Dr. Seneff has recently become interested in the effect of drugs and diet on health and nutrition, and she has written several essays on the web articulating her view on these topics. She is currently developing spoken dialogue systems to support intelligent search and summarization of user-provided reviews in the medical domain. She is the first author of three recently published papers on theories proposing that a high-carbohydrate diet contributes to the metabolic syndrome and to Alzheimer's disease, and that sulfur and vitamin D deficiencies play an important role in autism.