Gut Microbiome in Nutrition and Health

Course content

The course will focus on the role of the human gut microbiome in nutrition and health. The course will include lectures on how food is digested and absorbed throughout the gastrointestinal tract, how diet shapes the gut microbiota composition, functionality and metabolism throughout life, how gut microbes digest our food, how gut microbes and microbial molecules interact with our physiology (e.g. gut barrier function and immune system), and how personalized diets, functional foods and probiotics can target the gut microbiome and thereby modulate host-microbial cross-talk. In addition, the course will contain a workshop on innovation of sustainable microbiome solutions.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

By completing the course, the student will be able to:

  • Explain how food is digested and absorbed throughout the gastrointestinal tract
  • Describe and explain how diet shapes the gut microbiota composition, functionality and metabolism in infants, adults and elderly
  • Describe how food is metabolized by the gut microbiota into small molecules and explain how microbes and molecules are sensed by the human body
  • Describe different mechanisms by which the gut microbiome may be linked to disease and health
  • Describe formal scientific demands for placing a health claim on foods and regulations for microbiome solutions

 

Skills:

  • Identify gaps in existing knowledge in the field of gut microbiome and nutrition and propose studies for investigating diet-microbiome interactions; hereunder choose relevant scientific methods for evaluating effects of diet/food component intervention on the gut microbiome.
  • Ability to see opportunities and discuss challenges for translating existing knowledge into future sustainable and innovative therapeutic and nutritional products that target the gut microbiome and thereby modulate health
  • Communicate (orally, in writing and through visual presentation) topics concerning the gut microbiome in nutrition.

 

Competences:

  • Independently retrieve and critically evaluate information from scientific papers concerning the gut microbiome in nutrition
  • Critical compare, evaluate and discuss different strategies for modulating the gut microbiome
  • Work independently and efficiently together in a team on a joint project focusing on aspects of the gut microbiome and nutrition.
  • Pitch and present diet-microbiome-health concepts to professionals.

The course will be a combination of lectures, exercises, a workshop and group work. In groups, students will investigate based on the literature how a diet or food component may affect digestion, gut microbiota composition, functionality and metabolism, metabolite-host receptor interactions and ultimately gut health (i.e. intestinal metabolism, intestinal barrier function, immune system). The workshop on innovation of sustainable microbiome solutions will allow the groups to discuss how their obtained knowledge on a given diet/food component could be translated into an innovative and sustainable gut health solution/product. Each group will summarize their findings in a report and in the form of an info-graphic poster, which the groups will present at a poster session towards the end of the course (Time will be allocated for the making of the poster.) Academic research group leaders and companies will be invited for the poster session.

Course literature will mainly consist of peer-reviewed articles and reviews. See Absalon for a list of course literature.

Knowledge of fundamental cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and microbiology is recommended – corresponding to 3rd year of a BSc in e.g. Food Science (Health and Nutrition or Quality and Technology specialisations), Biology, Biochemistry and similar.

Oral
Collective
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Students give feedback to each other on the report during the course

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Description of examination: Assessment of report and oral examination. The report has to be handed in the last Friday before the exam-week. Two weeks before the exam week approximately 10 questions related to curriculum will be uploaded to Absalon. During the examination the student will pick one question, which together with the report (where the students have examined the effects of a given diet/food component on the gut microbiome and health) are discussed during the examination. The evaluation will be based 50% on the discussion of question picked and 50% on the report as well as the discussion of the report.
Aid
Only certain aids allowed

The student's own written group report and notes prepared for the 10 questions are allowed, but no other curricular material.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 37
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Exercises
  • 6
  • Project work
  • 102
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206