This course is discontinued

ERN3120 – Molecular, cellular and clinical nutrition

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course gives basic and evidence based knowledge on the uptake and turnover of minerals and vitamins and clinical nutrition related to nutritional screening and treatment of several different dietary disorders.

Learning outcome


You will acquire knowledge about:

  • Water-soluble vitamins: biochemistry, requirements and recommendations, and links with disease
  • Vitamin A: metabolism, role in vision, effects of deficiency, toxicity
  • Vitamin D and vitamin K: calcium metabolism, bone biochemistry, rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis
  • Essential minerals and trace elements: iron metabolism, deficiency and overload; roles of and requirements for Zn, Mg, Se, I, Cr, Cu etc.
  • Vitamin E: biochemistry, role in maintaining health; introduction to oxidative damage and antioxidant protection
  • Cancer and nutrition: molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis; DNA damage and repair; nutritional epidemiology of cancer
  • Other micronutrients: non-essential components of the diet, with beneficial effects on health
  • Food toxicology: principles of toxicology; natural toxins, food mutagens, environmental contaminants of food; risk assessment and management
  • Genetic variation and nutrition: genetic elements in common diseases (obesity and diabetes as examples); single nucleotide polymorphisms and responsiveness to diet
  • Identifying undernourished patients and patients at risk with regard to nutrition, with the help of nutritional screening.
  • The use of different anthropometric methods for monitoring and evaluation of malnutrition; calculation of energy, protein and fluid needs.
  • Indications and contraindications for enteral nutrition
  • Access routes for enteral nutrition
  • The technique for inserting a naso-gastric tube
  • Nutrition recommendations and factors that determines the nutritional needs in different population groups such as infants, children, youth, elderly, pregnant, immigrants and vegetarians.
  • Factors that influence the need for energy, macro-and micro nutrients, fluids and electrolytes associated with training.
  • Nutrition recommendations and needs in patients with cystic fibrosis, Chrohns diseases and different gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease and lactose intolerance


You will learn how to

  • Read, understand and summarize scientific literature
  • Critically assess conflicting evidence and arguments relating to nutritional topics
  • Write a dissertation of around 5000 words, based on an individual literature search
  • Plan a nutritional intervention trial
  • Carry out an experiment to measure DNA damage in lymphocytes. Stain and examine slides from DNA damage experiment and record and analyse results
  • Be able to use nutrition screening tools.
  • Perform anthropometric measurements including skinfold thickness in patients
  • Calculate energy, protein and fluid needs in patients for monitoring of nutrition status.
  • Plan and calculate a correct schedule for administration of enteral nutrition
  • Assess and evaluate which factors influence the diet for different population groups.
  • Assess which factor that influence the nutrition needs in athletes and which factors that influence restitution.
  • Evaluate the nutrition needs in patients with cystic fibrosis, Chrohns disease and other gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and coeliac disease and evaluate the complications associated with malnutrition in relation to intestinal function.


You will be able to

  • Perform self-directed studies based on e-lectures
  • Make oral presentations on nutritional topics, based on literature reviews
  • Take part in team-based learning, involving close co-operation with colleagues
  • Present  controversial topics,
  • Write in a scientific style, observing the conventions of a typical journal regarding layout, citations etc.
  • Asses and evaluate the nutrition status in patients by the use of nutrition screening tools including skinfold thickness and identify patients at risk and initiate precautions.
  • Use different methods to monitor and evaluate malnutrition including calculation of energy, protein and fluid needs.
  • Prescribe treatment and prepare a plan to supply enteral nutrition to patients in need of this and implement such a plan.
  • Give specific dietary recommendation to different population groups.
  • Calculate the nutrient requirements (including energy, macro-and micro nutrients, fluids and electrolytes) for active athletes (including top-level sports athletes).
  • Advice and implement nutritional treatment and follow-up patients with cystic fibrosis, and different gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and coeliac disease.


Forbeholdt studenter på Klinisk ernæring (master - 5 år)


Formal prerequisite knowledge

If you have been absent from the study program for two consecutive years or more, you may be required by the Faculty to redo previously approved mandatory activities and/or exams.


Teaching will take the form of lectures, PBL-assignments, literature searches and reporting, practical experience in the clinic and the laboratory, group work and seminar presentations. Certain elements of the course are obligatory, and must be completed before proceeding to the examination.

Mandatory exercises

A mandatory assignment is a task which must be completed and approved before a student may appear for the final examination in a course. Students may also be required to attend some lectures, discussions or take part in some group exercises. The students are responsible for getting signatures from the lecturer for being present in the obligatory parts of the course. The signed confirmation should be delivered to Solvor Horrig Helland by the end of the course, and everybody must have the attendance booklet approved  by Solvor in order to be allowed to take the exam. All students will receive an attendance booklet in the beginning of the course. A minimum of 80% attendance at the obligatory parts of the course is required in order to be allowed to take the exam. That does not include mandatory assignments, all of which must be delivered and approved in order to take the exam.


The first 11 weeks will cover topics in nutrition biology, and will be followed by a 4-hour exam. The rest of the semester will deal with aspects of clinical nutrition, and will be tested with 4-hour exam. Each exam will contribute 40%. Futhermore, an individual assignment will be written during the first half of the semester. It will be graded (A-E) and a pass will be necessary to be allowed to take part 2 of the exam

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A student may sit this exam up to 3 times. If a student wishes to withdraw from the exam, s/he must do so in StudentWeb.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course




Spring and autumn


Spring and autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian and English