WELCOME TO NUTRIGENOMICS

The Nutrigenomics Program started as a collaborative effort between multiple universities to promote research and education in nutritional genomics. The program was founded by investigators from the University of Arizona, University at Buffalo and Thomas Jefferson University. Areas of expertise included bioinformatics, human disease states, drug discovery and model validation. The program has since expanded to include a broad range of researchers and topics that reflect the current technological environment.

New areas of research and instruction include nanotechnology, bio-recognition, nutritional genetics and innovation in life sciences. Additional education program offerings provide students with a comprehensive learning curriculum in nutritional genomics. Development of the educational component of the program was sponsored in part through the USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants Program.

DIET GENETICS FOOD NUTRIENTS BIOLOGY : active components in the
Prevention and Intervention of disease.

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NUTRIGENOMICS

INTRODUCTION

The elucidation of the human genome has created a unique opportunity to utilize nutrients and bioactive food components to improve quality of life through the use of diet. By understanding the interaction of nutrients or bioactive food compounds with genes, there exists great potential for diet-based modulation of human disease states.

The program focus is nutrigenomics application as it relates to the disease prevention or intervention by understanding how regulating food components affects homeostasis in the body at the biochemical and organ systems levels. The ability for nutritionists and healthcare professionals to create an optimal diet requires understanding innumerous interactions between nutrients and genes, proteins and metabolic pathways regulate disease pathways.

RESEARCH

Understanding how interactions between nutrients and genes regulate disease pathways and health may ultimately provide nutritionists and healthcare professionals with the ability to create an optimal diet for individuals or targeted groups with a genetically identified dietary need thereby improving quality of life.

This is a multi-institutional collaborative effort that includes centers of excellent and researchers with areas of expertise in nutrition, disease therapeutics and bioinformatics. Research programs combine their expertise into a united yet diverse spectrum of study with the ultimate goal to develop specific diets and therapies to treat disease.

EDUCATION

In order for future students to be relevant in contemporary biological, medical or nutritional fields, they must understand genetic interactions as well as current techniques, mechanisms and data analysis used in modern science and clinical practices. The educational goal of the program is to provide students in food, agriculture and life sciences with training in nutrigenomics to increase interest and understanding.

Nutrigenomics training will enable nutritionists and healthcare professionals to understand the potential optimized or individualized diets necessary to improve quality of life for individuals. This project unites colleges and centers of excellence specializing in individual components of nutrigenomics to provide formal online courses in nutrigenomics for the study of disease prevention and intervention. Detailed descriptions can be found here at the Course Website.

PROGRAMS IN DEVELOPMENT

Nanotechnology 2020 is an expansion of the Nutrigenomics Program with the goal of creating a tri-university consortium that is designed to foster nanotechnology research and instructional activities specific to solving problems in agriculture. The consortium will include nanotechnology centers and expert instructors from the University of Arizona (UA), Northern Arizona University (NAU) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU). JHU will provide the consortium with a strong foundation, as a long-term leader in medical nanotechnology, while the UA will provide an agricultural focus and NAU will anchor the cross-disciplinary learning efforts and problem-based learning structure. Specific deliverables of the consortium will include module-based, interdisciplinary courses that are highly adoptable by national and international nanotechnology programs. Opportunities for capstone research projects that bring students from multiple universities together to solve common problems confronting agricultural nanotechnology and symposia that promote diverse student and faculty participation will bring further value to the consortium and prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of agricultural nanotechnology in 2020 and beyond.


The Diet Genes and Nutrition (NSC 375) course falls is offered by the nutrigenomics program at the UA. The 375 version is designed for individuals without any previous knowledge innutrition. Students will develop an understanding of nutritional genomics and its individual components. They will develop up-to-date knowledge in the role of nutrition and gene interactions as they relate to population- and individual- disease prevention and intervention. Students will develop their scientific inquiry techniques identifying appropriateness and understanding methodologies and scientific inquiry in the field.

New Faculty and Courses

Randy BurdPh.D.

Nutrigenomics

Maria Izquierdo-PulidoPh.D.

Nutrigenetics

Robert IvkovPh.D.

Nanotechnology

Joy WinzerlingPhD

Biorecognition

Luz VazquezPh.D.

Bioreconition

Mathew MarsPh.D.

Innovation

Donella LeeM.S.

Data Science

Ash Scheder BlackM.S.

Data Science and Visualization

Nutrigenomics Project Contributors

Project originators and contributors include the following individuals:

Randy BurdPh.D.

University of Arizona Cancer Center

Marc S. Halfon, Ph.D.Ph.D.

University of Buffalo School of Medicine

Susan Lansa-JacobyPh.D.

Thomas Jefferson University Kimmel Cancer Center

Adam P DickerPhD

Thomas Jefferson University Dept of Radiation Oncology

David MountPh.D.

University of Arizona Cancer Center

Course OUTLINE

The following is an outline of NSC 475 Nutrigenomics for Disease Prevention and Intervention which is offered online at the University of Arizona in the Fall.
Scroll down for course DETAILS and video syllabus. Students who are not enrolled at the UA can still register but must contact Randy Burd, Ph.D

Introduction to
Nutrigenomics

  • - Overview of Nutrigenomics
  • - Control of Gene Transcription
  • - Bioactive Food Components
  • - Interaction of Molecules with Genes

Nutrition, Disease, and Associated Target Genes

  • - Overview of Disease and Nutrition
  • - Inflammation and Associated Target Genes
  • - Obesity and Associated
    Target Genes
  • - Diabetes and Associated
    Target Genes
  • - CVD and Associated
    Target Genes
  • - Cancer and Associated
    Target Genes
  • - Osteoporosis and Associated
    Target Genes
  • - Cancer and Associated
    Target Genes

Screening for Bioactive Nutrients and Compounds

  • - Introduction to Genomic Screening
  • - Introduction to Control of
    Gene Expression
    (beginner level)
  • - Introduction to
    DNA Microarrays
  • - Introduction to
    Bioinformatics and Databases
  • - Genome Annotation/Gene Prediction,
    DNA Motifs
    (Predication and Discovery)

Methods for
Target Validation

  • - Introduction to Target Validation
  • - Models of
    Transcriptional Activation
  • - Fruit Fly Models
  • - Zebrafish Models
  • - Mouse Models

Course DETAILS

Below: details on each section of the course (NSC 475 Nutrigenomics for Disease Prevention and Intervention.)

Nutrigenomics for Disease Prevention and Intervention
The Nutrigenomics Program is a collaborative effort between multiple universities to promote research and education in Nutritional Genomics. The core course is Nutritional Science (NSC) 475, which was developed by a broad range of investigators with expertise in the individual components of nutrigenomics.

Students who take NSC 475 will develop an understanding of nutritional genomics and its individual components. They will develop an up-to-date knowledge of the role of nutrition and gene interactions as they relate to disease prevention and intervention. Students will develop the ability to understand bioinformatics and genetic data pertaining to gene-nutrient interaction. Additionally, students will be able to identify the appropriateness of studies and techniques in this field by understanding methodologies and scientific inquiry. Other courses and options are also available: uaccess.arizona.edu
This is an online course which consists of 4 core units or modules and explores nutrition, disease, bioinformatics and validation models in depth. The Units were designed by the various collaborating universities across the country. To view the video syllabus click here.
The four units consist of the following areas:

1) Introduction to Nutrigenomics. These modules will introduce students to the background of nutrigenomics and answer the question “what is nutrigenomics and how can I use the information to improve quality of life?”

2) Bioinformatics: Screening for Bioactive Nutrients and Compounds. These modules will answer the question how is screening for compound performed, what are the latest technologies, and how do I interpret and process the data?

3) Nutrition, Disease and Associated Target Genes will answer the question what diseases can be best addressed by using nutrigenomics and what are the genes and gene products that are of importance in the diseases.

4) Methods for Target Validation will introduce students to various validation models, such as cell line testing, the zebrafish model, and animal models. Coursework will introduce students to the concept and practical application of nutrigenomics, including high throughput genomic screening, bio-informatics, data management, control of gene transcription and screening models.

In the graduate level version, the addition of a real-time virtual online laboratory will give students practical experience in the techniques associated with the study and application of Nutrigenomics. These courses can be taught in whole or in parts and can be integrated into existing or new courses to suit the needs of any program or institution. Any interested university can obtain and implement these courses because of their modular framework.
Traditional research hypotheses arise from observations and questions that develop from those observations. However, there are many relationships between bioactive compounds and gene expression that go relatively unnoticed due to the overwhelming plethora of contributing factors. For example, there may be a relationship between magnesium intake and insulin expression, but the connection would not be immediately obvious due to more prominant relationships like macronutrient intake, adiposity, and age.

Fortunately, new technology has allowed for the opportunity to take a model and screen for transriptional up and down regulations literally within days of obtaining a viable protein sample. In this way, a sample is analyzed and a computer genetic map is generated which color codes individual genes. Significant changes can be picked up in minutes by scanning for the right color indicating a lage up or downregulation in a particular gene. If a novel transciptional change is noted, an entire new field of study could be opened up from that single array analysis.

This module will explore the concepts of bioinformatics and provide examples and exercises that demonstrate the various techniques and procedures involved in the study of bioinformatics.

Module Sections
Introduction to Genomic Screening
Introduction to Control of Gene Expression (beginner level)
Introduction to DNA Microarrays
Introduction to Bioinformatics and Databases
Genome Annotation/Gene Prediction, DNA Motifs (Predication and Discovery)
Lecture Materials

Reading Assignments
Journal Articles
Slides
Video Lectures
Module Assignment
Bioinformatics exercise
Assessment
When the body exists in ideal environmental conditions and consumes ideal nourishment, disease and sickness are minimalized. While existing in an ideal environment is not usually possible, consuming a nourishing diet can offset environmental conditions. The body relies on six nutrients; water, carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Of these six nutrients, only three provide energy: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. All of the nutrients provide bioactive compounds which serve to maintain body functions, support growth and maintenance of body tissues, and strengthen immunity. As these nutrients and environmental parameters interface with genes it is important to understand the consequences of the interactions in a particular genetic profile.

Imbalance in nutrient intake, utilization, or excretion can develop to a number of detrimental side effects. The body is equipped with mechanisms to regain homeostasis without consequence, however in some cases, these imbalances can lead to disease states, unchecked inflammation, differential gene expression and in the most severe of cases, death. It is important to know the nutrition basics in relation to the genome, proteome and metabalome so that imbalances can be identified and possibly addressed.

This module explores nutrient-gene/protein interactions that induce or promote several disease states. Identification of how diet could be used to prevent or intervene in the disease will be identified.

Module Sections
Overview of Disease and Nutrition
Inflammation and Associated Target Genes
Obesity and Associated Target Genes
Diabetes and Associated Target Genes
CVD and Associated Target Genes
Cancer and Associated Target Genes
Osteoporosis and Associated Target Genes

Lecture Materials
Reading Assignments
Journal Articles
Slides
Video Lectures
Module Assignment
Assessment
Public interest in the use of dietary supplements, nutraceuticals, and dietary practices is at an all time high and is a multi-billion dollar industry. The use of nutrient and herbal supplements is particularly high in individuals with chronic diseases. The key question is whether the observable response to diet or dietary compounds can be measured or compared in different genotypes or individuals. For example, soy isoflavones reduce breast cancer incidence in China; yet it is still questionable whether the protective effect exists in other populations. The methods to validate the interactions of diet or dietary components with the response involve an integration of nutrition, molecular biology, and genomics.

The criteria used for validation may vary from the effect of the dietary component on mutation or methylation of a gene or expression level in a tissue or tumor to providing evidence that the dietary component alters cancer cell growth in one or more experimental systems. In addition to in vitro systems mice, zebra fish, and fruit flies are examples of animal systems used to study the effect of diet or dietary components on disease outcome (see papers by Tenenbaum, Feitsma, White, and Green). All of these models can be manipulated to study gene differences so that reliable nutrition targets can be validated.

This module will explore the use of validation models to determine the relevance of dietary components on gene/protein interaction.

Module Sections
Introduction to Target Validation
Models of Transciptional Activation
Fruit Fly Models
Zebrafish Models
Mouse Models

Lecture Materials
Reading Assignments
Journal Articles
Slides
Video Lectures
Module Assignment
Laboratory Exercise
Assessment