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Biochemistry and physiology of food ingestion

Code: MBE08     Acronym: BFA

Classification Keyword
CNAEF Medicine

Instance: 2022/2023 - 2S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Departamento de Biomedicina
Course/CS Responsible: Metabolism - Biopathology and Experimental

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MBE 10 Current Studies Plan 1 - 3 28 81

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Laura Virginia Pereira Teixeira Ribeiro
Raquel Ângela Silva Soares Lino

Teaching language

Portuguese and english
Obs.: Português (eventualmente inglês e houver estudantes internacionais)


Students should gain knowledge on the physiology of molecular circuitry related to appetite and on orexigenic and anorexigenic hormones involved in appetite control. It is intended that they understand how pathological contexts can modify appetite, how it can be altered by drugs or diet, as well as recognize non-homeostatic influences on appetite control. Students should be able to discuss the mechanisms involved in controlling appetite, considering the importance of these processes in maintaining homeostasis and in triggering, aggravating and perpetuating disease. Students are also expected to familiarize themselves with recent research in the area of ​​appetite control and regulation of energy metabolism, not only in recent knowledge, but also in the methodologies used. Biochemical aspects, focusing on emerging issues in the area of ​​nutrition and food, related to food composition and relation to the regulation of biological processes and influence on the genesis of pathologies will also be addressed.

Learning outcomes and competences

The main physiological pathways involved in regulating appetite will be addressed along with the main molecules involved in the interaction between organs and appetite and energy balance. Food components with a central influence on metabolic regulation will be deepened, as well as their mechanisms of action. Different perspectives will be presented by experts from different fields, from nutrition, psychiatry, endocrinology, biochemistry and pharmacology, to provide information on the different potential determining pathways related to appetite or metabolism, as well as how it can be manipulated by disease, food or habits or with therapeutic purpose.

Working method



Anatomo-physiology of appetite control. Mechanisms of rewarding.

Hormones, neurotransmitters and appetite control

Role of melanocortins in appetite control

Gastrointestinal hormones in the control of appetite and satiety

Pharmacological therapy and appetite control

Molecular aspects of eating behavior disorders

Cognitive and social factors in appetite control

Polyphenols, appetite control and metabolism

Food and epigenetic intake

AGEs - metabolic relevance and pathophysiology of glycation

Folic acid, food intake and fetal programming

Vitamin D and metabolism

Role of minerals in metabolism

Metabolic effects of mineral waters

Mandatory literature

Stipanuk M, Caudill, Eds; Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition, Third Edition. Saunders.2013. eBook ISBN: 9781455754540

Teaching methods and learning activities

Theoretical classes, which include: Lectures, seminars, JClub presentation.

OT: Students should carry out an autonomous bibliographical research work, and write a brief review that will constitute the state of art of a research project (for assessment). The different scientific components (objective, tasks, expected results) of a research project on a current theme will be delineated under the orientation of the coordinator and presented and discussed in seminar sessions.

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Participação presencial 30,00
Apresentação/discussão de um trabalho científico 20,00
Trabalho escrito 50,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Elaboração de projeto 12,00
Estudo autónomo 10,00
Trabalho escrito 10,00
Total: 32,00

Eligibility for exams

Students must attend at least 75% of the classes to achieve frequency.

Students with special status or condition should consult the section "Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)".

Calculation formula of final grade

- 30%, Continuous evaluation: attendance, punctuality, participation and interest in the work, language and demonstrated knowledge, participation in the discussion during the projects presentation;

- 50%, Research project: interest, originality and actuality, potential contribution of question for the area, coherence of state-of-art with the objectives, expected methods, results, text structure and content, scientific integrity, quality/relevance of bibliography;

- 20%, Presentation: consistency with work presented, posture, language, demonstrated knowledge, response to comments

Final score: 0.3*(continuous assessment)+0.5*(research project)+ 0.2* (written work)
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