How science has improved our health


The 70’s are the new 60’s!! This is largely due to advances in biochemistry and biotechnology that have increased our understanding of genetic disorders and of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and elevated cholesterol. This knowledge formed the basis for the recent development of improved therapies. The course will discuss the advances in basic science that have lead to current understanding of the human genome. It will also discuss recent medical advances and the mechanisms by which new drugs and immunotherapies have resulted in improved outcomes in major diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

 INSTRUCTOR:  Norm Curthoys received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and conducted basic biomedical research with over 40 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health. During this time, he also taught biochemistry to undergraduate, graduate and medical students.

Sept. 20 – Lecture 1 – DNA

–  A code consisting of 4 letters that determines our genetics.

–  How DNA is sequenced and why it is important.

Sept. 27 – No Class

Oct. 4 – Lecture 2 – Genetic Defects

–  Why changes in DNA sequence can lead to genetic defects.

–  Potential therapies to correct genetic defects.

Oct. 11 – No Class

Oct. 18 – Lecture 3 – Obesity

–  Overview of normal metabolism of sugars, fats and proteins.

–  Hormonal regulation of appetite.

Oct. 25 – Lecture 4 – Diabetes

–  Normal regulation of glucose metabolism.

–  Causes and treatments of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Nov. 1 – Lecture 5 – Cancers

–  Cancer is not a single disease, but has multiple causes.

–  Rapid growth of cancer cells requires alterations in metabolism.

Nov. 8 – Lecture 6 – Cancer Therapies

–  New drugs that target the unique metabolism of cancer cells.

–  Immunotherapies that stimulate an immune response.

Nov. 15 – Lecture 7 – Cholesterol Metabolism

–  How bad and good forms of cholesterol are made and transported in the blood.

–  Therapies that lower bad cholesterol levels.