Está en la página 1de 18

Why study a MSc in Molecular

Exercise Physiology?
Porque debemos aspirar a un MSc. en
Fisiologia Molecular del Ejercicio?

Dr Henning Wackerhage
adaptado por
Carlos Saavedra, MSc.
• Pasaron los tiempos en que el cambio de la condicion o
capacidad fisica se explicaba por intermedio del cambio
en el volumen sistolico o de la capacidad vital. Pese a
eso, en nuestro continente, aun se ensena una
fisiologia del ejercicio anacronica que permite un triste
discurso de quienes no estiman necesario ponerse al
dia o actualizarse en esta area.

• Tambien es necesario estimular a los jovenes

estudiantes a tomar riendas en esta area para los cual
las generaciones anteriores no estamos en condiciones
de asimilar este maravilloso mundo molecular en que
se basa cualquier conocimiento cientifico serio que
permita explicar los multiples fenomenos de
adaptacion que experimenta el
ser humano al ejercicio.
C Saavedra, MSc.Univ. Laval, Canada
• Entrego parte de la informacion enviada por
colegas y profesores extranjeros, que estimo
que puede orientar a estudiantes a exigir y
buscar el conocimiento contemporaneo en
esta area del conocimiento.
• Aun no me explico porque siempre vamos
detras de la ciencia y no al lado de ella
existiendo hoy tanta facilidad al acceso del

• Respeto el idioma en que fue enviada ya que

sin idioma ingles es como ser un sordo/mudo
en el mundo de la ciencia actual.

C Saavedra, MSc.Univ. Laval, Canada

Why Molecular Exercise Physiology?
Exercise science has started on the whole organism level and
subsequently the organ, cell, biochemical and molecular levels have
been added. Each new level has made research in our field more
mechanistic and has increased the quality of knowledge. For example
we have moved from the discovery that exercise increases stamina to
the molecular mechanisms that regulate stamina-increasing
adaptations such as mitochondrial biogenesis or angiogenesis.
The organism, organ and sometimes biochemical levels are taught
well as part of undergraduate courses in sports and exercise science in
the UK and abroad. This is, however, not the case for molecular
techniques and molecular exercise physiology knowledge. We have
thus developed a MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology with the aim to
teach graduates ‘hands on’ in key molecular techniques that are of
relevance for exercise science and to give an introduction into this new
field which we call molecular exercise physiology.
What is Molecular Exercise Physiology?
Molecular Exercise Physiology is an abbreviated version
of the term Molecular and Cellular Exercise Physiology
which was used by Booth on the title of a review paper
in 1988.

We define this field as follows (for now): ‘Molecular

exercise physiology is the study of genetics and
signal transduction in relation to exercise. Molecular
exercise physiologists aim to identify the genetic
determinants of human performance on a molecular
level and characterize the mechanisms responsible for
adaptation of cells and organs to exercise.’

Spurway and Wackerhage (2006)

So why should you study a MSc in Molecular
Exercise Physiology?
Because top exercise physiologists say so
When asked ‘where do you see the exercise field […] heading in
the next 20 years?’ leading exercise physiologists answered:
David L Costill David L: This field has moved from whole body
measurements […] to molecular biology […]. To fully understand
the physiology of exercise, the answers lie at the subcellular level.
Students need solid training in chemistry and molecular biology to
contribute to knowledge over the next 20 years.
Claude Bouchard: […] the field of exercise will incorporate the
advances of molecular biology and genetics, something that it has
failed to do in the past 10 years.
Steven N Blair: Genetic epidemiology will make important
contributions to our understanding of which individuals are at
greatest risk of a sedentary way of life.
From McArdle WD, Katch FI & Katch VL: Exercise Physiology. 5th
ed. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins 2005.
Because it is published in top journals

PGC-1α marathon mice Mitochondrial biogenesis

Myoglobin-free mice AMPK and protein synthesis

Myostatin ‘super’ toddler Titin kinase and

muscle growth

Calcineurin & fibre type

Because you will have a unique set of skills

Classical exercise physiology
Molecular biology and biochemistry skills
and sports science techniques
(MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology)
(Your undergraduate degree)
And because it makes the big news
A very muscular baby ….
(Myostatin mutation)

All pain, no gain?

(Exercise genetics)

'Marathon' mouse keeps on

running (PPAR mice)
Because it is practically relevant

Example 1: Genetic disorders are often responsible for sudden death

during exercise. Genetic testing can be used to diagnose athletes that
are at risk.

Example 2: AMPK activates mitochondrial biogenesis and inhibits

protein synthesis. It is inhibited by glycogen among other. Thus we can
promote endurance training adaptations by training low on glycogen
and muscle growth by training high on glycogen.

Example 3: Certain variations in the ACTN3 gene are not found in elite
speed and power athletes. Thus genetic testing for this gene can
potentially be used to identify those that are unlikely to become an elite
speed and power athlete. Is such testing ethical, though?
MSc in Molecular Exercise Physiology
at the University of Aberdeen
Course content
PY5001 Mechanisms that regulate adaptation to exercise. Mechanisms
that regulate adaptation to endurance and resistance exercise.
Athlete’s heart versus pathological cardiac hypertrophy.
PY5002 MEP techniques. ‘Backbone’ of the programme; hands on
training in key biochemical and molecular techniques.
MB5002 Genetic techniques. Cloning, PCR, linkage analysis: the tools
for genetics.
MB5004 Human Population genetics. Links genes to traits.
PY5501 MEP topics. Various topics including bioinformatics for exercise
physiologists, evolutionary origins of adaptive responses and
mechanisms by which exercise improves disease.
PY5503 Research project in Molecular Exercise Physiology. Project to
apply the knowledge gained throughout the course.
Techniques that you will learn ‘hands on’
Introduction to ‘wet’ lab work followed by …

Fibre typing
methods, enzyme

DNA, RNA extraction,

genetic testing & RT-PCR
Protein extraction
& Western blotting
What is Aberdeen like?
University facts: Founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop
of Aberdeen. Old Aberdeen campus with ‘Oxbridge’ atmosphere,
Mecial Sciences are taught on the Foresterhill campus with hospital.
13000 full time students. See:
Aberdeen facts: 200,000 inhabitants, chief commercial centre and
seaport in the north-east of Scotland. Often referred to as the oil
capital of Europe. Airport (top 10 in the UK by number of flights) just
outside the city.
Aberdeen climate: Aberdeen lies in the rain shadow of the
Cairngorms (i.e it is relatively dry) and lies by the sea. For climate
stats see:
Sport: Aberdeen FC defeated Real Madrid to win the UEFA Cup
winners cup in 1983. Lots of sport facilities. Aberdeen is close to the
great outdoors: long sandy beaches locally and the Scottish
Highlands begin just outside the city.
How do I apply?

If you have questions regarding the course, contact Henning

Questions about how to apply:
MSc website:
Application form:
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
The end