Summer 2006

SCIE 634
Biology of Nutrition

Wolfe,Jason S.

06/26/2006 - 08/10/2006
Tuesday & Thursday 09:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Shanklin 201

This course studies how food substances affect the biological function, health, and well-being of human organisms. We will consider "average" nutrition, malnutrition, excessive or mal-adaptive nutrition, and supplemental nutrition for disease prevention. We will also explore how nutritional needs vary with age, pregnancy, and athletics. Our focus will be on the specific chemical substances of foods that contribute to the operation and survival of cells--or their deaths--and, in turn, the physiology of organ systems and overall health and well-being of the organism. We will review the composition of the major food nutrients such as lipids, carbohydrates and proteins, and how cells use these substances for their structure and metabolism. We will probe how vitamins and minerals function at a biochemical and cellular level and the consequences of deficiencies in our diets. We will also study specific foods' chemicals that are increasingly available as supplements, such as CoQ10, carnosine, and alpha lipoic acid, as well as particular food substances such as resveratrol (red wine), curcumin (turmeric), and catechins (green tea) for their potential and effectiveness in disease resistance. As we explore fundamental issues of nutritional biology, we will analyze the questions and theories at stake in contemporary debates about the effects of foods and diets on public health.

Classes will include lectures, discussions, and oral presentations. Much of the course involves discussing biological chemistry, and the instructor will present topics and explain concepts so that students with or without a background in the sciences can understand and participate in discussion.

Readings include a text suitable for the non-specialist, Nutrition, From Science to Life by Mary B. Grosvenor and Lori A. Smolin, and selected articles from the scientific review literature, such as: Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis and Bowen, "Role of lycopene and tomato products in prostate health," Biochim Biophys Acta (2005) 1740:202-5.

Students will be responsible for leading class discussions, delivering an oral presentation, writing an in-depth term paper, and taking a concluding exam.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Jason Wolfe (B.A. Rutgers University; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is professor of biology and primary or contributing author of 45 publications. His laboratory is involved in research on cell reproduction, cell interactions, and cell death. The team has been examining such topics as cell recognition and adhesion, as well as cell differentiation and morphogenesis, by studying sexual interaction in the single-celled organism, Tetrahymena thermophila. In recent years, the team has begun to exploit a novel developmental property of this cell-type to also study the regulation of nuclear death as it relates to the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and autophagy, or self-digestion. Click here for more information about Jason Wolfe.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Mary Grosvener and Lori Smolin, NUTRITION: FROM SCIENCE TO LIFE (Harcourt), Hardcover


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