Nutrigenomics and nutrimicrobiomics

A.y. 2018/2019
Overall hours
BIO/18 BIO/19
Learning objectives
The course will be divided in two teaching units, aimed to provide an overview of research approaches of nutrigenomics and nutrimicrobiomics.
Objectives of the course are as follows:
1) For the nutrigenomics teaching unit (3CFU), the objective is to understand how diet influences gene expression and chronic diseases, which are the research approaches undertaken in nutrigenomics to evaluate the effect of specific nutrients in combating chronic diseases and how gene variants influence our response to diet.
2) For the nutrimicrobiomics teaching unit (3CFU), the objective is to understand the role of microorganisms both in promoting health and in causing foodborne diseases.
Expected learning outcomes
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Course syllabus
The program will be divided in two parts held in the following order.
Teacher: Katia Petroni (Email:
Dipartimento di Bioscienze, Via Celoria 26, Milano

· Definition and research approaches of nutrigenomics.
· Introduction to "omic" technologies applied to nutrigenomics.
· Effect of diet on epigenetic modifications of the genome in animal models and humans (nutriepigenetics).
· Mechanisms of action of nutrient sensors: examples of direct and indirect regulation of gene expression.
· Importance of breast milk in the development of newborns.
· Effect of diet on genome stability: role of micronutrient deficiencies in DNA damage and cancer.
· Effect of diet on the incidence of chronic diseases. Functional foods and their use on animal models to study prevention of chronic and age-related diseases (obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases).
· Caloric restriction and longevity. Examples of nutrigenetics.

Moira Paroni (Email:
Dipartimento di Bioscienze, Via Celoria 26, Milano

· Microorganisms: taxonomy, virulence factors and pathogenicity.
· Role and relevance of microorganisms in foods.
· Properties and immunobiological effects of Prebiotics and Probiotics.
· Food-related diseases: virulence factors and pathogenic mechanisms, bacterial toxins, adherence and invasion mechanisms.
· Gut Microbiota: microbial-microbial and host-microbial interactions.
· Dysbiosis: microbiota alterations in human diseases and immune evasion strategies of pathogenic microorganisms.
· "OMICS" technologies in Nutrimicrobiomics: metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.
· Analysis and characterization of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of different chronic inflammatory diseases.
· Immunomodulatory effects of Probiotic and Autobiont strains: possible clinical application in Inflammatory bowel disese.

Reference Material
During the course, an updated bibliography of teaching subjects, consisting of original articles and recent reviews, will be provided. Teaching materials (lecture slides, articles, links to web sites) will be available on Ariel.

Prerequisites and examination procedures
Microbiology, Genetics
The exam of Nutrigenomics is written and consists of multiple choice tests and open questions.
The exam of Nutrimicrobiomics is written and consists of open questions.

Teaching Methods
Teaching method: Traditional. Lectures.
Attendance: strongly recommended

Language of instruction

Recommended Prerequisites

Program information
Languages required for the understanding of teaching materials: italian and english.

WEB pages
BIO/18 - GENETICS - University credits: 0
BIO/19 - MICROBIOLOGY - University credits: 0
Lessons: 48 hours
upon request of an appointment