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Biotechnology applied to Food Security and Nutrition, curriculum Biotechnologies for Food Science

Course Description

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Biotechnologies for Food Science

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the University of Padova inaugurated a new curriculum of the Master Degree “Biotechnology applied to Food Security and Nutrition” (Second Cycle Degree) entitled “Biotechnologies for Food Science " to be entirely taught in English.
The “Biotechnologies for Food Science " Master degree (MSc) is an interdisciplinary and research-oriented Master of Science Programme and explores how to produce healthier and safer food following a cross-cutting, farm/field-to-fork approach. It is focused on the application of advanced biotechnologies in food production and safety and it is the ideal trait-d’union between the requests of consumers, of producers in the agro-food sector and research applied to production and food-safety.
The course has a strong component on cutting-edge methods, such as genomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, metabolomics, nanotechnologies, all in the context of animal and crop production as well as food quality and safety. Theoretical lessons are mixed with practical training, offering hands-on experience in advanced DNA, RNA, and protein analysis together with substantial lab sessions in bioinformatics. Lectures will deal with food production, hygiene and quality, molecular methods of agro-food analyses, effects of agro-biotech products on human beings and environments. Moreover environmental stresses, disease mechanisms, pathogens and pests will be treated as essential to understand how to protect crop and farm animals and how food might impact on human health: the lectures move across animal infectious disease, immunology, microbiology, plant pests and pathogens as well as abiotic stresses to show how biotechnology might help preventing disease and improve food production. As consumers are increasingly worried about the presence of contaminants in food and on the real origin of what they eat; the Programme includes a course in food toxicology and regulation, and one on traceability for food authentication.
Our Programme is based at the Agripolis campus, where are located four departments of the School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine of the University of Padova, all of which contribute to the MSc course, offering the best opportunities for a rich, cross-disciplinary experience in a highly qualified scientific environment.

Who is the MSc candidate?

This programme is open to Italian and foreign students from the EU and abroad, interested in learning and implementing effective value-added practices for the production of high-quality food products both in the EU and in international markets. English knowledge must be minimum at B2 level (CEFR). Applying students might possibly have a three-year Bachelor’s degree in a field connected with the Master’s curriculum. Good background in molecular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology is requested.

How is the programme organised?

Biotechnologies for Food Science is a 2-year Master programme (120 ECTS, equivalent to a Master of Science). Requirements for graduation include courses and preparation and defense of the Master thesis. Students will be encouraged to spend a period of their studies abroad, through Erasmus+ or other local programmes and agreements. Financial support to meet part of the cost for thesis work is granted to best students.
Visit the MSc “Biotechnologies for Food Science” page on the Università di Padova web-site (http://www.unipd.it/en/biotecnologie-alimentazione) for more details.

Teaching methods

Teaching takes place in an international environment and includes lectures and laboratory activities, practical exercises and seminars by experts; opportunities for intensive tutoring and for master thesis-related stages of at least six months duration will be available with outstanding companies in the sector of the food industry or with other relevant organisations in the private or public sphere. The Programme assists students to find suitable internship opportunities with qualified laboratories in Italy and abroad.
Examinations are written or oral and assess students’ participation also through reports, presentations, and group work.

Course structure

During the two-years MSc course students attend the following 12 course units

Applied genomics for animal and crop improvement
Applied Bionformatics
Food Microbiology and Food Microbial Biotechnology
Molecular basis of disease, immunology, and transmissible diseases
Laboratory of advanced DNA, RNA, and protein analysis
Biotechnology for crop production
Epidemiology and risk analysis
Traceability tools for species authentication  
Advanced technologies for the agrifood sector (nanotechnologies, proteomics, metabolomics)
Biotechnology for plant protection
Food toxicology and food regulation
Foreign language (English)

First year
During the first year of the programme the student will acquire knowledge on animal and crop genomics, focusing on the most advanced methods for high throughput genomic analysis (transcriptomics, genome-wide SNP analysis, epigenomics) and on the most recent approaches for selective breeding (genomic selection, genomic prediction). In parallel, the student will learn how bioinformatics tools might be applied to manage large sets of data, how biological data bases are organized and how to link different types of data. Extensive practical training in bioinformatics will be offered with various sessions in a dedicated lab. Food-borne pathogens and the positive role of microorganisms in food processes will be examined in an integrated microbiology course, while the molecular basis of pathology, host-response to infection, epidemiology, and diagnostics of transmissible diseases will form the basis of two courses. A course on biotechnology for crop production will introduce the molecular and physiological basis of crop production. Biotechnological approaches to improve crop yield, with particular attention to fruit production, and to reduce impact of abiotic stresses will examined. Molecular tools for food traceability and an intensive practical lab in DNA/RNA/protein analysis applied to food control will conclude the first year.

Second year
In the second year, the first semester have three courses. One will focus on novel technologies (proteomics, metabolomics, nanotechnology) and their application to food production. A second one will extend knowledge on plant biotechnology exploring advanced technologies for crop disease and pest management. A third one will deal with contaminants in food and food legislation. The second semester is completely dedicated to lab internship. It is possible to join a research lab in the campus or to have a working stage in the private sector.
link to the Campus descriptions:

Visit the Biotechnology applied to Food Security and Nutrition, curriculum Biotechnologies for Food Science page on the University of Padova website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Open access with admission requirements: Direct access for student having a BSc degree in Biotechnology (Class L-2) or Biology (L-13) of the Italian System.Access is granted for Italian and Foreign students not having specific BSc degree in Biotechnology and Biology but with specific knowledges in Genetics and Molecular Biology. Number of non-EU students resident abroad: 20 of which Chinese ("Marco Polo" Programme) 1

Course Fees

Indicatively from 600 to 2,500 € per year

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