FBMLNP-Lifestyle, Nutrigenetics and Personalised Nutrition

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Vimal Karani

Email: v.karani@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module deals with human nutrition during the life cycle in health and disease and links this to nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics, epigenetics and personalised nutrition. Throughout the module you will study a selection of current issues in nutrition which impinge on lifestyle (diet and physical activity), health, genetic susceptibility and disease and matters relevant to the interface between human nutrition and food science.


  • To analyse nutritional requirements throughout the life cycle in individuals with and without the disease

  • To inform students of the subject matter relevant to the interface between nutrigenetics and personalised nutrition

  • To acquaint students with a balanced account of current issues in nutrition which impinge on diet, health and disease

  • To provide the student with an understanding of topical issues in nutritional sciences which have made major advancements over the last decade including the areas of diet-gene-chronic disease interactions, nutrigenomics, epigenetics and personalised nutrition.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the course, students should be able to: 

  • Discuss the major issues of nutrition during the life cycle;

  • Discuss the scientific base of controversial issues of nutrition: e.g. the dietary aetiology of heart disease, immune function, bone disease, diabetes and cancer;

  • Critically assess positive and negative influences on health of various diets, food components and nutrients;

  • Appraise the contribution of genetic variation to disease risk and the impact of lifestyle factors, in particular diet, on the association between genotype and disease;

  • Discuss gene-diet and gene-physical activity interactions on metabolic and cardiovascular disease-related outcomes and the contribution of foetal nutrition to later disease development;

  • Propose strategies for implementing personalised nutrition and developing functional foods based on nutrigenetics findings;

Additional outcomes:

On completion of the module the student should

  • Critically assess the usefulness and limitations of risk markers for chronic diseases; 

  • Have developed a number of key skills such as critical evaluation, use of on-line databases, presentation and writing skills.

Outline content:

During the Autumn Term the module deals with issues of nutrition during the life cycle and how lifestyle factors (diet and physical activity) modify the relationship between the genetic factors and disease development. Specific topics include: Introduction to gene structure and regulation and gene discovery methods in genetic epidemiology, gene-lifestyle interactions on obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, epigenetics, foetal origin of adult disease, gut microbiome and metabolomics and personalised nutrition. In addition, the module covers topics relating to the role of lifestyle factors in various chronic diseases, including cancer, bone disease, obesity and diabetes. The module will also include tutorials on the basics of genetics.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module consists primarily of tutorials (weeks 1-3), lectures (weeks 4-5), student presentations and invited speaker talks (weeks 7-9). The coursework comprises student presentations (weeks 7-9) and non-lab based practicals on statistical genetics (weeks 10-11). The module will be primarily taught as informal small group interactive lectures given by academics who have active research groups in the area. In addition, students will have an opportunity to critically appraise research articles and present the discussion in groups (weeks 1-3). . There will be a non-lab based practical session where students will be provided with a dataset and will get the opportunity to run statistical analysis pertaining to gene-diet interactions (nutrigenetics) using the available statistical softwares.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 20
Tutorials 5
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 70
    Wider reading (directed) 35
    Preparation for presentations 10
    Revision and preparation 40
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Practical skills assessment 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

2 hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • Presentations given by individual students. Submission Deadline: End of Autumn Term (weeks 7-9))

  • Non-lab based practical class test on Statistical Genetics. Submission Deadline: End of Autumn Term (weeks 10-11)

Formative assessment methods:

Question and answer session during lectures, tutorials and non-lab based practical sessions.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Pass mark for the module is 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 27 September 2019


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