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A grape discovery; singin' through the slowdown

Tampa columnisthooper
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© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 1, 2001

A researcher working out of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute has found that grapes may contain a natural agent to battle cancer, and the researcher just happens to be a King High student.

Anu Kotha's research of the compound resveratrol recently won her first place in the Medicine and Health category at the 51st International Science and Engineering Fair. Kotha, who will be a junior in King's International Baccalaureate program, has been conducting experiments for two years under the supervision of Dr. Richard Jove, professor of oncology, biology and pathology.

Anu approached Jove after deciding to delve into the French Paradox, which tries to explain why the French have a lower rate of heart disease despite enjoying rich foods. She said she occasionally has to leave her home and go to Moffitt at midnight or 1 a.m. to check on experiments. She also has maintained an A average while participating in several clubs at King, dancing for the Telegu Association of Tampa Bay and serving on Mayor Dick Greco's Youth Advisory Board.

It all makes me ask, "Is she for real?"

"She's 100 percent real and her research is gold-medal material," Jove said. "She's done a spectacular job and I'm so thrilled about how it has developed."

Anu found that resveratrol can eliminate cancerous cells in mice. Now the experiments have to be extended to human cell lines, so there are years of work left to be done. However, Jove said the study has become a "major effort" for Moffitt.

And to think, the only research I did when I was a high school junior involved pickup lines and how to drive a car with a one-handed, oh-so-cool lean.

* * *

The Tampa Bay Chapter of the NFL Players Association is looking for folks to become sponsors of its inaugural "Bowl With The Pros" event set for Saturday, July 14, at Regal Bowling Lanes.

Former players and other celebrities will participate with proceeds going to the two Youth Education Town Centers in Tampa that will serve at-risk youths. It's not every day you get a chance to best a Hall of Famer like Lee Roy Selmon and contribute to a good cause. For more information, call (727) 410-8369.

* * *

You could call it a corporate retreat, because every time one of the folks from T. Rowe Price got on stage to sing karaoke at the Green Parrot in Carrollwood Friday night, people retreated to the bathroom.

I'm only joking. The spirited group of about 30 employees bolstered an already boisterous crowd Friday night by showing they can belt out tunes as well as they manage mutual funds. Zach McGrath led the way with his inspiring rendition of Clarence Carter's Stroking, but the real highlight was a chorus of 15 ladies from T. Rowe Price. After hearing them do Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, I'm thoroughly convinced we're going to recover from this economic downturn.

* * *

Congratulations to friend and colleague H.A. Branham. After 21 years of work for The Other Paper's sports department, Branham is moving on to become a communications manager for NASCAR's Winston Cup series.

Herb, as we call him, gathered with friends for a farewell celebration Friday night at Carmines. I have to admit that the man who was once fondly described as a well-fed Rod Stewart really didn't look old enough to have covered sports in this area for more than two decades.

* * *

I'm going to Denny's this morning. Not because I'm enamored with the service, not because George and Weezy Jefferson are doing commercials for the restaurant and not because I love the food (although some friends are still laughing about my fondness for the Moons Over My Hammy sandwich).

No, I'm going because for the second year in a row, Fortune magazine has ranked the parent company of Denny's as the best for minorities. My, how times have changed. Give it up for Denny's, and an incredible comeback.

- Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or His column appears on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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