At the end of the course the students should demonstrate the understanding of the general logic of metabolism, the consequences of nutrition on health status, the specific characteristics of the metabolism of individual organs and the relationship between nutrition, gene expression and genetics. In detail, the student must be able to:
1) describe the function and structure of biological macromolecules and of relevant molecules of metabolism (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
2) write the chemical structure of the main nutrients (mono- and disaccarhydes, polysaccharides, amino acids and lipids); of the intermediates of the main metabolic pathways; of relevant cofactors and prostetic groups (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
3) describe the main metabolic pathways and explain the chemical logic of metabolism (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
4) describe the biosynthesis of vitamins and write the chemical structure of relevant intermediates (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
5) explain the main mechanisms by which nutrition can influence gene expression (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
6) indicate examples of how gene variants are associated with differential response to nutrients (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
7) identify common themes in the metabolism and establish links in metabolic pathways (APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
8) explain the topics of the course effectively with a language that uses appropriate scientific terminology (COMMUNICATION AND LEARNING SKILLS)
Knowledge of general Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and basics of Anatomy is required.
Course contents summary
Metabolism, bioenergetics and properties of the main classes of biomolecules. Water, ethanol, vitamins and minerals.
The main metabolic pathways, their integration and the molecular mechanisms of the hormonal regulation of metabolism.
Basics of nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics.
Metabolism, bioenergetics and properties of the main classes of biomolecules. The energy function of food.
Macronutrients and micronutrients. Water, ethanol, vitamins and minerals. Bioactive compounds present in food. Nutraceuticals.
Vitamins: synthesis, properties and function of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.
Metabolism of the main nutrients: sugars, lipids and proteins. Lipoprotein metabolism.
Biosignalling, regulation of enzyme activity, transport through membranes. Tyrosine kinase receptors and insulin signaling mechanisms. 7TM receptors and adrenaline and glucagon signaling mechanisms. Nuclear receptors and mechanisms of activation by steroid hormones and bioactive compounds of natural origin.
Elements of nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics. Mechanisms for detecting the state of nutrition and genetic adaptation to dietary changes.
Arienti “Le basi molecolari della nutrizione”, 4° edizione, Piccin
Siliprandi e Tettamanti “Biochimica Medica”, 5° edizione, Piccin
Leuzzi “Biochimica della nutrizione”, Zanichelli
Oral lessons integrated with informatic tools and the support of multimedia
Assessment methods and criteria
Students are required to pass a written exam followed by an oral exam.
The written exam will cover all the topics of the program. The exam will include multiple choice questions and open questions. Grades are between 0 and 30 e lode.