About this subject

Metabolic diseases, sometimes referred to as ‘lifestyle’ diseases, and typically associated with excessive food intake compared to energy usage (exercise), are becoming an increasing burden on healthcare services in the West.

This programme examines three such diseases in depth – diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity – outlining the pathological consequences of these diseases, exploring how these effects can be mitigated by drugs, and discussing the ethics of treating what many consider to be self-inflicted illnesses.

Learning outcomes

After studying this subject you will understand:

  • The mechanism of glucose uptake into cells, and the action of insulin.
  • How blood glucose levels are maintained in the body.
  • The roles of the liver, pancreas and small intestine in energy homeostasis.
  • The structure of lipoproteins and their roles in the metabolism of fats and cholesterol.
  • The nature and action of adipokines (leptin, adiponectin) and incretins (glucagon like peptide).

Who is this subject suitable for?

This subject would suit students with a background in Medicine, Life Sciences, or related fields. There are no specific prerequisites but some university level experience of organic chemistry is recommended.

Teaching faculty

Prof David Harris DPhil is an Emeritus Fellow in Biochemistry at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford.

Dr Carol Lole-Harris is a Lecturer in Biochemistry and Medical Sciences at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, formerly a family doctor, and has a particular interest in medical ethics.

Dates and availability

This subject is available as a residential programme:

Session Two: 17th July 2022 to 6th August 2022

This subject is available as an online programme:

Session Two: 18th July 2022 to 5th August 2022

Expand your programme

You can expand your programme by taking more than one subject.

We recommend combining this subject with:

Diseases of the 21st Century: Covid-19 and Tuberculosis

Diseases of the 21st Century: Cancer

Apply now

Find out more about the admissions criteria, programme fees, and how to apply.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please do get in touch here.