The objective of the course is to enable the learners to acquire the biological and molecular knowledge in order to understand gene-nutrition interaction. Unraveling the epigenetic mechanisms that govern the expression of specific genes, will guide the student towards the development of skills suitable for evaluating which nutritional principles and molecules can be important in regulating specific cellular behaviors such as growth, proliferation, cell differentiation , but also senescence and aging. These behaviors generally refer to cellular populations, such as stem cells, but also to the modification of the cellular composition of the adipose tissue, with implications on the level of energy demand. In this regard, the student will have to acquire competences concerning the role of mitochondria and cellular metabolism in assessing individual energy needs. These basic skills will allow him later to be able to design a personalized diet plan both in normal and pathological conditions. These themes will be dissected with in a way that will enable students to have adequate autonomy of judgment and learning and communicative skills that will allow effective interaction with specialized and non-specialized operators and decision makers
Furthermore, the aim of this course in providing a student with a thorough grounding in the basics of human genetics. The student will acquire advanced knowledge about the organization of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes and about DNA variability.
Additionally, the student will learn the classical concepts of inheritance transmission patterns, the principles of genetic characterization and multifactorial traits and diseases.
A special focus of the course will be given on the interaction of genes and environment in the complex biological systems of the human body under normal conditions and diseases: at the end of the course, students will be able to understand how common food ingredients affect health by altering the expression of genes, and how nutrients interact with the genome.
Last, the course will be conducted through an experimental approach to develop the scientific methodology.