Combined Bachelor's + Master's degree in Medicine and Surgery

Nutritional Epigenomics: a bridge between DNA and disease  (Corso Elettivo)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Simonetta Friso
Simonetta Friso
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Corsi elettivi 2° semestre dal Feb 20, 2017 al May 26, 2017.

Lesson timetable

Corsi elettivi 2° semestre

Not inserted.

Learning outcomes

Main objectives of the teaching course:

After attending the teaching course the student will know:
1) basic knowledge on epigenetics and mechanisms of gene-nutrient interactions affecting epigenetics;
2) main mechanisms through which some nutrients may alter gene expression by modifying epigenetic phenomena;
3) relationships between genes and nutrients and epigenetic mechanisms in major diseases;
4) main strategies on how to approach disease prevention by way of modifying gene expression mechanisms through epigenetics using a correct nutritional approach.


- Introduction to Epigenetics
- Effects of nutrients on DNA methylation and histone modifications
- Gene-nutrients interactions and epigenetics: models from major chronic diseases
- Methods of approach to the study of epigenetics and epigenomics

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Sang-Woon Choi, Simonetta Friso Nutrient-Gene Interactions in Cancer (Edizione 1) CRC Press,Taylor and Francis Group 2006 9780849332296 Features Provides the latest epidemiological evidence on the interactions between nutrients and gene polymorphisms affecting cancer development Describes interactions that affect colorectal, breast, lung, prostate, liver, and other gastroenterological cancers, as well as hematologic malignancies Gives an overview of nutrient-gene interaction mechanisms and explores specific biomarkers Offers striking examples of the interaction between genetics, epigenetics, and nutrition in many different types of cancer Summary The complete mapping of the human genome, along with the development of sophisticated molecular technologies, has accelerated research on the relationship between nutrients and genes. This has led to compelling evidence garnered from epidemiological and experimental observations supporting the idea that the interaction between nutrients and genes is one of the most important mechanisms influencing carcinogenesis. Nutrient-Gene Interactions in Cancer brings together leading authorities in the field who provide an overview and look specifically at the mechanisms known to underlie each nutrient and gene interaction. The book examines the multi-functional relationship linking nutrition and cancer development, including the complex role nutrients have in modulating cancer growth via interactions with specific genes, and the emerging new strategy for cancer chemoprevention that is based on a deepened understanding of this relationship. The authors also provide freshly illuminating information on many well-known interactions. The first part of the book includes chapters on the basic elements of biology and pathobiology of gene-nutrient interactions with a focus on mechanisms and biomarkers. This is followed by chapters, which detail specific gene-nutrient interactions, offering numerous examples supported by recent investigations. The final chapter looks to the future, considering the potential for further investigation by outlining new perspectives in this rapidly growing area of medical science. While this work is especially valuable to science investigators, it will also be of great interest to clinicians who manage cancer patients, in that it presents useful tools that advance the clinical value of gene-nutrient interaction research in medical nutrition and oncology.
Sang-Woon Choi and Simonetta Friso Nutrients and Epigenetics (Edizione 1) CRC Press,Taylor and Francis Group 2009 9781420063547 Features Presents research on the relationship between nutrition and epigenetics Describes how nutrients affect pathologic and physiologic processes Explains epigenetic phenomena including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin remodeling Proposes future direction for research and clinical implications involving nutrition and epigenetics Summary Explores the Newly Discovered Link Between Nutrition and Epigenetics Current research suggests that nutrients are more than just food components and that certain nutrients can impact the expression of genes that lead to the development of chronic diseases. With contributions from experts in both fields, Nutrients and Epigenetics examines the epigenetic phenomena and the fascinating implications of diet on this largely uncharted field. Generously laden with tables and illustrations, many in color, this book addresses how nutrients alter physiologic and pathologic processes in the human body through epigenetic changes without affecting the DNA sequence. It also explains the detailed molecular structures of epigenetic phenomena and closely examines the current knowledge surrounding the biology of aging and embryonic growth regulation. Assesses the Likelihood of Clinical Applicability In one single compendium, this resource delineates the nutritional factors that further much-studied aberrant epigenetic patterns, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin remodeling. The book spotlights the influence of nutrition on epigenetic gene regulation, opening the way for counteracting future disease processes associated with epigenetic phenomena—a step that could potentially change the face of disease prevention and development.

Assessment methods and criteria

Evaluation of idoneity based on tests performed during the teaching course


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