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Molecular Basis of Nutrition-related Diseases

Universität Potsdam via iversity


Over the past decades world hunger has been joined by a second nutrition problem: chronic over nutrition and lack of exercise in industrialized and developing countries. The ensuing overweight and obesity pose a severe health problem. Picking the most relevant examples, this short course will analyze the biochemical basis of the development of diseases associated with the so called metabolic syndrome. Among others, the steps towards the development of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis will be discussed.

This course is divided into 4 chapters. In each chapter one particular nutrition-related disease will be discussed on three levels.

What will I learn?

Level 1: Basic understanding of how poor lifestyle impacts on the regulation of physiological processes.

Level 2: Understanding of the major biochemical principles underlying selected examples of nutrition-related diseases.

Level 3: Sound understanding, which experimental evidence supports the current views on the development of certain nutrition-related diseases.

What do I need to know?

Level 1: Basic knowledge in biology

Level 2: Basic knowledge of biochemical principles

Level 3: Advanced knowledge in biochemistry

Course Structure

Chapter 1: Insulin Resistance. You will learn, how overweight and obesity cause insulin resistance in the different organs.

Chapter 2: Type 2 Diabetes. You will learn about the current ideas, how reversible insulin resistance irreversibly proceeds to type 2 diabetes and how the late complications of type 2 diabetes develop.

Chapter 3: Dyslipidemias. You will learn, how lipids are carried in our blood and distributed throughout the body, what controls their levels and how this control is impaired in disease.

Chapter 4: Atherosclerosis. You will learn, how different risk factors, among others type 2 diabetes, dislipidemia and hypertension, contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and its consequences like stroke and heart attack.


Approximately 2- hours per week for watching video lectures, taking quizzes and completing homework assignments.

Taught by

Gerhard Püschel

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