Experimental Nutrition Physiology

Course content

This course aims to provide theoretical knowledge on, and practical experience with, a variety of fundamental nutrition research techniques (e.g. indirect calorimetry, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) and novel methodologies (e.g. chromatography, mass spectrometry, immunoassays, and omics methods) utilized in academia and industry. The students will work in one or more groups to conduct a small research project, during which they will act as research subjects and provide physiological measurements (e.g. weight, height, body composition, energy metabolism) and biological samples (e.g. blood, urine, stool) for analysis. The results of the project will be disseminated in a written report and an oral presentation.

Education

MSc Programme in Human Nutrition

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

  • key factors that can influence the validity of an experiment and the quality of sample analysis (including biological and analytical sources of error)
  • principles, pros and cons of methods used for assessing energy expenditure and substrate oxidation and body composition.
  • terminology used in description and characterization of analytical methods for nutritional applications.
  • principles, pros and cons of various wet lab analytical methods.
  • problems occurring during the preparation and analysis of biological matrices.

 

Skills:

  • to use and critically evaluate all the mentioned methods used for nutrition research studies.
  • to perform, document and present a nutrition research project.
  • to critically evaluate common laboratory methods in nutritional science.
  • to know the workflow in ‘omics’ technologies.
  • to systematically evaluate analytical results.

 

Competences:

  • to work in a proactive manner, both independently and within a group, to assure own and common learning outcomes.
  • to evaluate and critically judge analytical results and methodologies in nutritional studies.
  • to be able to choose suitable analytical approaches for specific purposes.

The course includes three main teaching frameworks: lectures, group work sessions, and exercises. Group work sessions and exercises are performed in groups of 4-5 students in laboratories, lecture halls, or other available space.

The course flow is mimicking an actual research study flow, from getting an idea and forming a hypothesis, to testing it, to getting results, to interpreting them, and finally disseminating them. Students will be required to act as research subjects themselves, and provide physiological measurements (e.g. weight, height, body composition, energy metabolism) and biological samples (e.g. blood, urine, stool). Not all students will provide all measurements and samples, but each student will be required to provide at least some measurements and samples; this assignment will be finalized at study start by the course responsible. To generate the physiological and biological data, students will need to utilize the various methodologies taught in the course. After obtaining the results, students will write a report and present the results orally at a mock mini-conference.

Exercises will consist of both theoretical preparations (e.g. experiment design and calculations) and practical laboratory work. The actual experimental testing will be performed by the students themselves and measurements will be obtained by them or with supervision of a teacher or lab assistant. Results will be summarized in scientifically written protocols and reports and presented orally during mock mini-conferences. The students will act as opponents for other groups, but the supervisors and the course responsible will do the final judgment of the reports and oral presentations.

Core literature for the course will be announced at study start on Absalon.

The students will be required to find additional literature on their own to use during project dissemination.

Course in nutrition physiology is recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Written
Individual
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

At the group work presentations late in the course, we use a combination of structured peer feedback from other students and oral feedback from the supervisor or course responsible.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
At the examination, a selected topic will be presented from the students as oral presentation, the results from the written assignments will be discussed and general knowledge on theoretical and practical aspects of laboratory work will be tested.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Practical exercises
  • 60
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206