HNH-31106 Practical Tools in Molecular Nutrition Research


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. WT Steegenga
Lecturer(s)CM Mudde
L Smeehuijzen
MM Grootte Bromhaar
BJ Attema
ing. HJ Jansen
dr. WT Steegenga
KCM Manusama
MA de la Rosa Rodriguez
M Defour
Examiner(s)dr. WT Steegenga

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Continuation courses:

Applied Nutrigenomics; Metabolic Consequences of Chronic Diseases, Thesis in this field.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.
See Agenda & Calendar Academic Year. ( -> Registration for Courses.)

To understand how nutrition influences health and disease, insight into the molecular effects of dietary components on the body is required. The primary goal of the course is to acquire practical skills and gain experience in techniques commonly applied in molecular nutrition research. In the course a panel of different molecular techniques will be applied in 1) a short human intervention study and 2) a cell culture experiment. To explore the opportunities and limitations of these two types of experiments in both cases we will start off with gene expression analysis followed by:
1) analysis of the underlying mechanism responsible for the changes in gene expression including nuclear receptor activation, epigenetic changes and protein modifications.
2) study the consequences of changes in gene expression at the level of protein synthesis and circulating biomarkers in plasma.
Techniques included are: qPCR, WesternImmunoblotting, FACS analysis, biochemical assays, DNA methylation analysis by pyrosequencing etc. Theoretical background of each technique will be provided. Each technique will be carried out multiple times to obtain in depth experience in the various methods.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- retrieve background information relevant to the research topic;
- apply molecular techniques, interpret the results, and incorporate the them in a written report;
- have insight in practical procedures, identify the crucial steps and be able to optimize protocols;
- carry out experiments independently;
- carry out several experiments simultaneously;
- complete experiments and write a report as part of a team;
- design experimental strategies to address molecular nutrition-related research questions.


- carry out experiments according to available protocols;
- documentation of obtained results in an electronic lab journal;
- literature search for relevant background information;
- write a report;
- work as a team.


- research competence evaluated by several blackboard tests at the end of the course (20%);
- laboratory skills (20%);
- teamwork (10%);
- lab journal (10%);
- written report (40%).
The minimum mark for each part is a 5.5. 
If the mark obtained for the final version of the reports is <5.5 the team will be offered the opportunity to hand in an improved version. The maximal score that can be obtained for this revised version is a 6.0.

The partial marks will be valid for 6 years.


Will be provided during the course.

Compulsory for: MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Spec. C - Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology3WD