Experimental Targeting of the Metabolic Syndrome
Fourth Annual Short Course:

An Organ Systems Approach to Experimental Targeting of the Metabolic Syndrome

July 16 - 26, 2012
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville TN

Course Director: Owen P. McGuinness PhD

Course Philosophy:
The short Courses in Integrative and Organ Systems Pharmacology are funded through the National Institutes of Health. The two week course will be an intensive hands-on experience. The Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of metabolic risk factors that when they occur together increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These risk factors include insulin resistance, central obesity, dyslipidemia and hypertension. This is challenging to study because it is a condition that involves organ system cross talk and understanding it requires knowledge of integrated physiology. The objective of the course will be to give students the tools needed to assess whether an experimental intervention (pharmacologic, genetic, dietary, or environmental) alters macronutrient metabolism, energy balance, cardiovascular homeostasis or animal behavior. Students will learn how to measure whole body and tissue specific kinetics, the principles of which can be applied to the kinetics of drugs, substrates and hormones. To accomplish this we will use a combination of lectures, hands on laboratories, demonstrations and data problem sessions. Three guiding principles thread through the course components. 1) organ systems do not function in isolation; 2) primary mechanisms can best be identified by disrupting compensatory feedback loops using tools such as a "glucose clamp." 3) proper animal care is critical to good outcomes. With regard to the last the privilege of animal research is accompanied by the responsibility of treating animals humanely. Students will learn that the quality of data obtained in animal models is directly related to the health and well-being of the animals.

Target audience (class size 20 students)
This course is designed specifically for the graduate students (PhD level), postdoctoral fellows and young faculty either in the academic or industrial sectors who seek a basic understanding of animal handling, physiology, behavior and experimental techniques relevant to understanding the interaction between metabolic, cardiovascular and behavioral systems.

Course objectives:
The purpose of the proposed course described will be to lay the foundations for how metabolic, cardiovascular and behavior systems are regulated and interact with each other. We hope to give students the state of the art tools needed to parse the complex interactions between these systems. We will use clinical literature as the foundation for understanding the metabolic syndrome and human physiology. We want the students to think more globally so that they can understand how knowledge gained at the bench can be moved to the bedside and observations made at the bedside can be defined at the cellular level at the bench to understand fundamental mechanism of disease.

In this course we look at four systems: animal behavior, blood pressure regulation, glucose and lipid metabolism and energy balance. Our goal is to help students see that these systems do not act in isolation. One example we will use to demonstrate this connection is activation of the adrenergic system. Students will be able to see how one hormone alters animal behavior, blood pressure, cardiac function and glucose homeostasis. We hope that they will have in their tool box the screening skills necessary to evaluate animal behavior, to perform and interpret glucose tolerance tests, to evaluate changes in lipid homeostasis, to measure blood pressure and understand the factors that determine blood pressure, to measure energy balance and be able to design studies to assess causes of changes in body weight and/or composition. Students will learn how to de-convolute the complex system into individual components. A systematic approach to evaluate the impact of a genetic, pharmacologic, hormonal or nutritional manipulation on a target organ will be taught.

Course design:
Vanderbilt is internationally recognized for its excellence in translational research that uses bench to bedside research to improve drug therapy for human disease. The course will take advantage of the strong core resources at Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center (VDRTC), the Vanderbilt Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (VMMPC) and the newly renovated Murine Neuro Behavioral core.

Web site for information and registration: www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/diabetes/msshortcourse/

Registration deadline: April 13, 2012
Request for information: msshortcourse@vanderbilt.edu

Contact Information
For additional information contact:
Fran Tripp
Phone: 615-343-1065
Owen McGuinness PhD
Phone: 615-343-4473
For more details on the course, including the course application, see http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/diabetes/msshortcourse

This is funded by a grant from the NIH (R25 GM086771)