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Dr Henning Wackerhage

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  • 1. Dr Henning Wackerhage Why study a MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology?
  • 2. Why Molecular Exercise Physiology?
  • 3. Foreword Exercise science has started on the whole organism level and subsequently the organ, cell, biochemical and molecular levels have been added. Each new level has made research in our field more mechanistic and has increased the quality of knowledge. For example we have moved from the discovery that exercise increases stamina to the molecular mechanisms that regulate stamina-increasing adaptations such as mitochondrial biogenesis or angiogenesis. The organism, organ and sometimes biochemical levels are taught well as part of undergraduate courses in sports and exercise science in the UK and abroad. This is, however, not the case for molecular techniques and molecular exercise physiology knowledge. We have thus developed a MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology with the aim to teach graduates ‘hands on’ in key molecular techniques that are of relevance for exercise science and to give an introduction into this new field which we call molecular exercise physiology.
  • 4. What is Molecular Exercise Physiology? Molecular Exercise Physiology is an abbreviated version of the term Molecular and Cellular Exercise Physiology which was used by Booth on the title of a review paper in 1988. We define this field as follows (for now): ‘Molecular exercise physiology is the study of genetics and signal transduction in relation to exercise. Molecular exercise physiologists aim to identify the genetic determinants of human performance on a molecular level and characterize the mechanisms responsible for adaptation of cells and organs to exercise.’ Spurway and Wackerhage (2006)
  • 5. So why should you study a MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology?
  • 6. Because top exercise physiologists say so When asked ‘ where do you see the exercise field […] heading in the next 20 years? ’ leading exercise physiologists answered: David L Costill David L : This field has moved from whole body measurements […] to molecular biology […]. To fully understand the physiology of exercise, the answers lie at the subcellular level. Students need solid training in chemistry and molecular biology to contribute to knowledge over the next 20 years. Claude Bouchard : […] the field of exercise will incorporate the advances of molecular biology and genetics, something that it has failed to do in the past 10 years. Steven N Blair : Genetic epidemiology will make important contributions to our understanding of which individuals are at greatest risk of a sedentary way of life. From McArdle WD, Katch FI & Katch VL: Exercise Physiology. 5 th ed. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins 2005.
  • 7. Because it is published in top journals Mitochondrial biogenesis AMPK and protein synthesis Myostatin ‘super’ toddler PGC-1  marathon mice Myoglobin-free mice Titin kinase and muscle growth Calcineurin & fibre type
  • 8. Because you will have a unique set of skills Classical exercise physiology and sports science techniques (Your undergraduate degree) + Molecular biology and biochemistry skills (MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology)
  • 9. And because it makes the big news A very muscular baby …. (Myostatin mutation) 'Marathon' mouse keeps on running (PPAR mice) All pain, no gain? (Exercise genetics)
  • 10. Because it is practically relevant Example 1 : Genetic disorders are often responsible for sudden death during exercise. Genetic testing can be used to diagnose athletes that are at risk. Example 2 : AMPK activates mitochondrial biogenesis and inhibits protein synthesis. It is inhibited by glycogen among other. Thus we can promote endurance training adaptations by training low on glycogen and muscle growth by training high on glycogen. Example 3 : Certain variations in the ACTN3 gene are not found in elite speed and power athletes. Thus genetic testing for this gene can potentially be used to identify those that are unlikely to become an elite speed and power athlete. Is such testing ethical, though?
  • 11. MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology at the University of Aberdeen
  • 12. Course content PY5001 Mechanisms that regulate adaptation to exercise . Mechanisms that regulate adaptation to endurance and resistance exercise. Athlete’s heart versus pathological cardiac hypertrophy. PY5002 MEP techniques . ‘Backbone’ of the programme; hands on training in key biochemical and molecular techniques. MB5002 Genetic techniques. Cloning, PCR, linkage analysis: the tools for genetics. MB5004 Human Population genetics. Links genes to traits. PY5501 MEP topics . Various topics including bioinformatics for exercise physiologists, evolutionary origins of adaptive responses and mechanisms by which exercise improves disease. PY5503 Research project in Molecular Exercise Physiology . Project to apply the knowledge gained throughout the course.
  • 13. Techniques that you will learn ‘hands on’ DNA, RNA extraction, genetic testing & RT-PCR Fibre typing methods, enzyme assays Protein extraction & Western blotting Introduction to ‘wet’ lab work followed by …
  • 14. What is Aberdeen like? University facts : Founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen. Old Aberdeen campus with ‘Oxbridge’ atmosphere, Mecial Sciences are taught on the Foresterhill campus with hospital. 13000 full time students. See: www.abdn.ac.uk Aberdeen facts : 200,000 inhabitants, chief commercial centre and seaport in the north-east of Scotland. Often referred to as the oil capital of Europe. Airport (top 10 in the UK by number of flights) just outside the city. Aberdeen climate : Aberdeen lies in the rain shadow of the Cairngorms (i.e it is relatively dry) and lies by the sea. For climate stats see: http://uk.weather.com/weather/climatology/UKXX0001 Sport : Aberdeen FC defeated Real Madrid to win the UEFA Cup winners cup in 1983. Lots of sport facilities. Aberdeen is close to the great outdoors: long sandy beaches locally and the Scottish Highlands begin just outside the city.
  • 15. How do I apply? If you have questions regarding the course, contact Henning Wackerhage: [email_address] Questions about how to apply: [email_address] MSc website: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sms/postgraduate/molecular-exercise-physiology.shtml Application form: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sras/word_docs/pgapp.doc Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Further reading: or
  • 16. The end