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Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


  • Christopher Rhodes, Medicine


  • Maria-Luisa Alegre, Medicine
  • John Alverdy, Surgery
  • George Bakris, Medicine
  • Graeme Bell, Medicine
  • Deborah Burnet, Medicine
  • Eugene Chang, Medicine
  • Anita Chong, Surgery
  • Suzanne Conzen, Medicine
  • Nancy Cox, Medicine
  • Anna DiRienzo, Human Genetics
  • David Ehrmann, Medicine
  • Murray Favus, Medicine
  • Bana Jabri, Medicine
  • J. Michael Millis, Transplant Surgery
  • Deborah Nelson, Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Physiology
  • Louis Philipson, Medicine
  • Victoria Prince, Organismal Biology and Anatomy
  • F. Gary Toback, Medicine
  • Eve Van Cauter, Medicine
  • Roy Weiss, Medicine

Associate Professors

  • Marc Bissonnette, Medicine
  • Matthew Brady, Medicine
  • Alexander Chervonsky, Pathology
  • Ronald Cohen, Medicine
  • Helen Kim, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics
  • Yan Chun Li, Medicine
  • Kay Macleod, Ben May Department for Cancer Research
  • Jeremy Marks, Pediatrics
  • Vivek Prachand, Surgery
  • Xiaoxi Zhuang, Department of Neurobiology

Assistant Professor

  • Lev Becker, Pediatrics
  • David Boone, Medicine
  • John Kwon, Medicine
  • Brian Roman, Radiology
  • Robert Sargis, Medicine
  • Esra Tasali, Medicine
  • Barton Wicksteed, Medicine

Emeritus Faculty

  • Godfrey Getz, Pathology

Research Associate (Professor)

  • Catherine Reardon Alulis, Pathology

Research Associate (Assistant Professor)

  • Mark Musch, Medicine

The Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition is a dynamic and interactive research unit of the University of Chicago offering interdisciplinary doctoral training in the molecular basis of biological processes as they relate to nutrition and human disease. The graduate program in Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition offers a program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition. Faculty expertise includes the areas of insulin secretion, diabetes genetics, nutritional regulation of epithelial cell biology, intestinal absorption, adaptation, and malabsorption, water/nutrient/electrolyte transport, nutriceuticals, atherogenesis, abnormalities in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, vitamin D research, insulin metabolic signaling, transcription factors and adipogenesis, impact of nutrition on reproductive biology, glucocorticoid action and sleep research. A mixture of nationally recognized senior faculty and dynamic junior faculty provide a stimulating and supportive environment designed to guide graduate students through course work and research training. Major resources include transgenic mouse facilities, flow cytometry, microscope imaging suites, microarray and gene chip facilities, computational labs and facilities for human research. The Committee works closely with the government sponsored Diabetes Research and Training Center, Digestive Disease Research Core Center, Training Program in Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, and the Clinical Research Center to offer a broad array of choices for research topics.

The Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition is a member of the Biomedical Sciences Cluster, which also includes graduate programs from the Committee on Cancer Biology, the Committee on Immunology, the Committee on Microbiology and the Department of Pathology’s Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program. The five academic units share several common courses, a seminar series, and additional common events for students and faculty within the cluster. The goal of the cluster system is to encourage interdisciplinary interactions among both trainees and faculty, and to allow students flexibility in designing their particular course of study.


Students interested in obtaining the Ph.D. in Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition should submit an application to the Biological Sciences Division by December 1st of each year; indicate their cluster of interest as Biomedical Sciences and select Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition as their proposed degree program.


The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Ph.D. requirements include:

  • Completion of 9.5 course credits consisting of basic science, metabolism and elective courses.
  • A preliminary exam in the form of a mock NIH-style grant proposal.
  • A dissertation based on original research.
  • A final thesis examination.

Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition Courses

MOMN 30901. Molecular Basis of Metabolic Disease. 100 Units.

This course selects topics in nutrition in which modern molecular and cell biology provide a greater understanding of the regulation of these metabolic pathways.

Instructor(s): B. Wicksteed     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MPMM 30901

MOMN 30910. Grant Writing. 100 Units.

Students will gain extensive exposure to the grant writing and review processes.  Several speakers will lecture on the various funding agencies, types of grants, and general approaches to grant writing.  Students will read funded applications from CMMN faculty to learn the proper approaches for successful grant writing, including responding to reviewers’ critiques.  Students will be expected to complete a 20-25 page R01 style grant application by the end of the quarter, which will fulfill the mock grant proposal requirement for the CMMN students.  The course culminates with a mock grant review panel in which the students read and critique each other’s applications.

Instructor(s): M. Brady     Terms Offered: Winter

MOMN 36500. Molecular Nutrition I. 100 Units.

Students are exposed to a comprehensive review of nutritional physiology and requirements, including the regulated digestion, synthesis and/or metabolism of vitamins, minerals, lipids, proteins and carbohydrates.  Various lecturers specialized in specific areas of metabolic research participate throughout the quarter.  The course culminates with the students writing a comprehensive paper linking several of the topics covered throughout the quarter.

Instructor(s): C. Reardon and staff     Terms Offered: Autumn

MOMN 36600. Molecular Nutrition II. 100 Units.

This course is an extension of Molecular Nutrition 1 and investigates the physiological control of systemic metabolism. Heavy emphasis is placed on the coordinate regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism by skeletal muscle, liver, adipose tissue, pancreas and brain. The format of the course is a combination of lectures and student presentations of primary literature. At the end of the course, students are expected to write a grant application to investigate a current area of metabolism research and then present and defend the proposal to the lecturers and students

Instructor(s): M Brady, C Reardon, Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MPMM 36600

MOMN 40200. Topics in Nutrition Research. 100 Units.

This course is conducted as a seminar series.  Students will broaden their exposure to metabolism related research through bi-weekly faculty and student presentations of research data and primary literature.  Additionally, prominent researchers from other institutions are invited to give a seminar and meet alone with the students to discuss their career paths, experiences in running successfully funded labs and use of cutting edge experimental approaches. Attendance is mandatory for first and second year students but all students are strongly urged to attend.

Instructor(s): C. Rhodes     Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer

MOMN 40300. Systems Analysis of Proteins and Post-Translational Modifications. 100 Units.

Proteins play a major role in all cellular processes and their modification represents a major vehicle for expanding the genetic code of the cellular proteome (the inventory of all protein species in a cell). Given the crucial roles in the major cellular pathways and diseases such as cancer, proteins and PTM studies are a critical aspect of most biological projects. This course will cover concepts (including biochemistry, proteomics/systems biology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics), and practical techniques for identifying and quantifying proteins and PTMs. Topics include, but are not limited to quantification of protein interactions, abundances, modifications including phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and lysine acetylation, and subsequent discussion of biochemical and functional roles of proteins and PTMs in regulating biological networks.

Instructor(s): R. Jones, Y. Zhao, P. Nash     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 20200
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 21346,CABI 40300,IMMU 40300