Functional Lipidomics

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Fundamental knowledge of Biochemistry and Cell Physiology.

Teaching Methods

The theoretical concepts will be introduced by presenting experimental data (records, tables and graphs) from various literature sources. Students are asked to interpret the results, draw their conclusions and complement the information gathered in class with literature suggested by the teacher or searched in the internet. n theoretical-practical classes, an opposite strategy will be adopted, students will be asked to plan experiments and develop protocols in order to investigate a specific issue and to test a hypothesis.

Learning Outcomes

This course focuses on the role of lipids in the cell, not only as constituents of biological membranes but also as active participants of cellular signaling pathways. Students should a) recognize how the physico-chemical characteristics of the lipid molecules are correlated with the interactions they establish between themselves and with other molecules, namely proteins; b) identify the biological activity of natural lipid molecules and their metabolites; c) propose and justify pharmacological approaches having lipids as targets; d) analyze and explain changes in membrane lipid composition as an adaptive response induced under environmental pressure, e) predict the biological consequences of changing the relative proportions of lipids (by diet manipulation or in a disease context); f) propose appropriate experimental approaches to the study of lipids and membranes, in terms of composition, molecular structural organization and physical and functional properties.

Work Placement(s)



1. Lipidomics: objectives and relevance in the context of Systems Biology.

2. Basic principles of lipid organization in supramolecular structures. The architecture of the membrane: dependence on lipid composition; disturbing and regulatory agents; the role of lipids in the topological organization of membrane proteins; lipid-lipid, and lipid-protein interactions.

3. Lipid rafts and caveolae.

4. Lipids and membranes as targets for drug action and toxicity.

5. Changes in membrane lipid composition as an adaptive response under environmental pressure (temperature, pressure, dehydration, presence of xenobiotics).

6. Bioactive lipids, mediators or second messengers and cell signaling.

7. Changes in metabolism, homeostasis and lipid trafficking in metabolic diseases, neurological disorders and cancer.

8. Recent advances in functional lipidomics: the mitochondrial lipidome as an example.

Assessment Methods

Participation in theoretical and practical lessons: 5.0%
Oral presentation of topics from the syllabus: 10.0%
Laboratory work or Field work: 10.0%
Synthesis work: 12.5%
Elaboration of a mini-project in the context of Functional Lipidomics: 12.5%
Exam: 50.0%


1. Introduction to Lipidomics: From Bacteria to Man, Leray, C., CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton FL, 2012.

2. The Structure of Biological Membranes, Yeagle, P., CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton FL, 3rd edition, 2012.

3. Functional Lipidomics, Feng, L. and Prestwich, G.D. ed., Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, 2006.

4. Lipid Rafts and Caveolae; from Membrane Biophysics to Cell Biology, Fielding, C.J., ed., Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim, 2006.

5. Membrane Microdomain Signaling, Lipid Rafts in Biology and Medicine, Mattson, M.P. ed., Humana Press, N.J., 2005.

6. Life - as a Matter of Fat; the Emerging Science of Lipidomics, Mouritsen, O.G., Springer-Verlag, N.Y., 2005.