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.

Public Health Relevance

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.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases B Subcommittee (DDK)
Program Officer
Densmore, Christine L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Berkeley
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
United States
Zip Code
Ikon, Nikita; Ryan, Robert O (2017) Barth Syndrome: Connecting Cardiolipin to Cardiomyopathy. Lipids 52:99-108
Napoli, Joseph L (2017) Cellular retinoid binding-proteins, CRBP, CRABP, FABP5: Effects on retinoid metabolism, function and related diseases. Pharmacol Ther 173:19-33
Ikon, Nikita; Shearer, Jennifer; Liu, Jianfang et al. (2017) A facile method for isolation of recombinant human apolipoprotein A-I from E. coli. Protein Expr Purif 134:18-24
Counihan, Jessica L; Duckering, Megan; Dalvie, Esha et al. (2017) Chemoproteomic Profiling of Acetanilide Herbicides Reveals Their Role in Inhibiting Fatty Acid Oxidation. ACS Chem Biol 12:635-642
Nguyen, Truc B; Louie, Sharon M; Daniele, Joseph R et al. (2017) DGAT1-Dependent Lipid Droplet Biogenesis Protects Mitochondrial Function during Starvation-Induced Autophagy. Dev Cell 42:9-21.e5
Ikon, Nikita; Ryan, Robert O (2017) Cardiolipin and mitochondrial cristae organization. Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr 1859:1156-1163
Counihan, Jessica L; Ford, Breanna; Nomura, Daniel K (2016) Mapping proteome-wide interactions of reactive chemicals using chemoproteomic platforms. Curr Opin Chem Biol 30:68-76
Ikon, Nikita; Ryan, Robert O (2016) On the origin of 3-methylglutaconic acid in disorders of mitochondrial energy metabolism. J Inherit Metab Dis 39:749-756
Jha, Amit K; Tharp, Kevin M; Browne, Shane et al. (2016) Matrix metalloproteinase-13 mediated degradation of hyaluronic acid-based matrices orchestrates stem cell engraftment through vascular integration. Biomaterials 89:136-47
Thompson, Airlia C S; Bruss, Matthew D; Price, John C et al. (2016) Reduced in vivo hepatic proteome replacement rates but not cell proliferation rates predict maximum lifespan extension in mice. Aging Cell 15:118-27

Showing the most recent 10 out of 59 publications