The program in Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley provides interdisciplinary training for pre-doctoral candidates in the concepts, techniques, and implementation in the area of modern biochemical nutrition, which we refer to as Metabolic Biology. This training program aims to cultivate independent and original thinking, and to provide for development of scholarship and skills in research, teaching and professional service. The program has been designed and seeks to attract and nurture qualified students from all sections of society. The program intends to qualify graduates to create, direct and pursue independent investigation in academia, but also recognizes that graduates are prepared to contribute to health-related issues by serving in government and industry. The program emphasizes lab and pre-clinical investigations into metabolic regulation, and mechanisms of nutrient and xenobiotic metabolism and actions in humans, and mammals that serve as models for human physiological processes and diseases. Program faculty are well suited to support this training mission through their multidisciplinary expertise in analytical chemistry and biochemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, clinical studies, and genomics. The training mission is augmented through the well-funded research programs of participating faculty, who study metabolic regulation focused on human nutrition, nutrition-related diseases, mechanisms of nutrient action, and toxicology (as it applies to food-borne toxicants or chemical intentionally ingested by humans, such as ethanol). Program faculty have Ph.D. degrees in chemistry, nutrition, biochemistry, molecular biology, and several have earned MD or dual MD/Ph.D. degrees. These factors foster an interdisciplinary environment and provide opportunities for collaboration to focus different perspectives and skills on metabolic health-related issues. In addition, the program is expanding its expertise from LC/MS/MS and GC/MS, as applied to quantification of select metabolites and deuterium isotope studies, to proteomics and metabolomics through the purchase of two new mass spectrometers and hiring faculty and support personnel. The interdisciplinary training program in Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition is distinctive on the Berkeley campus: it is the only program devoted to Metabolic Biology, i.e. metabolic biochemistry, modern experimental nutrition, and food-based toxicology in higher vertebrates. Thus, the goals and nature of the program, the faculty, the resources, and the environment provide a unique opportunity on the Berkeley campus for interdisciplinary training in metabolic studies pertaining to common human diseases and disease risk.
As our population increasingly incurs diseases related to aging, poor nutrition, and literally "sickening" lifestyles, there is growing need to train scientits who meld the entire "tool chest" of biological techniques to study the metabolism and function of nutrients, phytochemicals, and diet-borne toxicants, as they relate to human disease risk. The mission of the program in Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley is training scientists capable of generating sophisticated insight into mechanisms of disease and disease risk related to diet and regulation of metabolism.
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