HAP-31806 Molecular Regulation of Health and Disease


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Course coordinator(s)dr. VCJ de Boer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. EG Zoetendal
dr. ir. LA Afman
prof. dr. ir. IMCM Rietjens
prof. dr. ir. J Keijer
prof. dr. J Wells
dr. VCJ de Boer
Examiner(s)dr. VCJ de Boer
prof. dr. ir. J Keijer

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Human and Animal Biology I; HAP-20306 Human and Animal Biology, part 2; CBI-20306 Cell Biology and Health or equivalent.

Continuation courses:

Thesis at HAP, TOX, HMI, MIB, HNE.


Molecular regulation of health and disease focuses on regulatory mechanisms that have a central role in human and animal health. Detailed knowledge on the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that are central in the functioning of a healthy organism will be provided by comparison of a healthy condition versus a diseased condition. This is done from 5 perspectives. i) The molecular regulation of energy and nutrient metabolism of cancer cells for understanding a healthy cellular energy and nutrient metabolism, ii) The mechanisms that relate the molecular ecology of intestrial microbes to health and disease iii) The mechanistic role of immune signalling in the maintenance of the homeostasis of the intestine and in chronic inflammatory disease, iv), The mechanism involved in maintenance of vascular endothelial health and in the development of vascular disease, v) The food (chemical) relevant mechanisms of epigenesis for heritable alterations in phenotype. The focus of this course will be on human health and functioning. The mechanisms are applicable to a wide variety of mammals and will also be explained using findings in model organisms, in particular mouse and rat. Relevant methodology and techniques will be explained. The students will also learn to read and interpret current scientific literature.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the regulation of the homeostatic shift in cancer cells and normal cells with regard to the energy and nutrient metabolism and infer how this translates to nutritional and pharmaceutical anti-cancer intervention;
- explain the mechanisms of the development of vascular (endothelial) disease and how nutrition has a role in development and prevention;
- explain how chemical-induced epigenetic changes can adversely affect development and play a role in carcinogenesis;
- describe the molecular mechanisms that link the molecular ecology of microbes to health and disease;
- discuss the role of immune signaling in gut barrier function, tolerance and immunity and explain how disturbance leads to disease;
- read, interpret and integrate data from scientific literature.


- lectures and literature training;
- lectures about each of the perspectives in the course.
In addition, the students have to read and interpret one primary research paper and present this (or an aspect) as if it is his/her own research, including explanation of the methodology. In addition the students have to read several primary research papers and prepare questions about the paper.


Written examination with open questions.


Reader (available at WUR-shop) and on Blackboard.

Compulsory for: MBIBiologyMScF: Health and Disease1MO
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScH: Molecular Development and Gene Regulation1MO
MBTBiotechnologyMScC: Medical Biotechnology1MO
MASAnimal SciencesMScE: Molecule, Cell and Organ Functioning1MO
MASAnimal SciencesMScE: Molecule, Cell and Organ Functioning1MO
MASAnimal SciencesMScA: Genetics and Biodiversity1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Epidemiology and Public Health1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScF: Food Digestion and Health1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology1MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Nutritional Physiology and Health Status1MO