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Energy and Metabolism

Course Directors

Course Description


The overall goal of the Energy and Metabolism Master Course is to introduce first-year students to topics broadly related to digestive diseases and endocrinology. The course is designed to provide an integrative approach, with faculty drawn from Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, Cell Biology, Pathology, Epidemiology, History of Medicine, and from clinical disciplines including Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Diagnostic Imaging. The objective is to provide for learning in a cohesive fashion, so that students will understand how health and disease reflect the interplay of physiology, environment, nutrition, genetics, psychology, sociology, and economic and other factors. The topics that are covered are linked to the intake, absorption and metabolism of food, the generation and storage of energy, and other topics related to gastroenterology and endocrinology. The schedule for the course maintains a thematic sequence, covering anatomy, cell biology and physiology, then introducing disease states. Emphasis is given to how alterations in one system can have effects on others.


A variety of teaching methods are used, including lectures, team-based learning, interactive workshops, simulations, and laboratories.



  • Optional weekly quizzes
  • One mandatory, mid-course self-assessment


  • End-of-course, pass/fail qualifier

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the normal physiology of the lumenal gastrointestinal (GI) tract and hepatobiliary system, recall the pathology and pathophysiology of diseases affecting these systems, and discuss the clinical management of these diseases.
  • Discuss the epidemiology of benign and malignant diseases involving the GI tract and hepatobiliary system, and of the role of socioeconomic factors in disease prevalence.
  • Recognize the clinical presentations, complications, and pathology of common diseases, across the human life span, of both the lumenal GI tract (including the exocrine pancreas) and the hepatobiliary system.
  • Discuss the diagnosis of diseases involving the lumenal GI tract and hepatobiliary system, and the roles of laboratory tests, imaging studies, endoscopy, and biopsy, based on clinical reasoning.
  • Define the function of the endocrine pancreas, describe the epidemiology and pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, describe complications of diabetes, and discuss treatment and counseling of individuals with diabetes, fatty liver disease, and obesity.
  • List the key elements of a healthy, balanced diet, and describe the roles of vitamins and minerals in whole body metabolism.
  • Define the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary axes in health and disease, recognize signs and symptoms of pituitary disorders, and summarize diagnostic strategies and plans of care for common pituitary conditions.
  • Describe the function of the thyroid gland, recognize signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders, relate pathological findings to these disorders, and outline diagnostic strategies and clinical treatment for common thyroid conditions.
  • Describe the control of mineral metabolism, recognize signs and symptoms of disorders of mineral metabolism, including osteoporosis, and outline diagnostic strategies and clinical treatment for these conditions.