Diabetes - a Global Challenge

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Course Date: 02 September 2014 to 07 October 2014 (5 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

Diabetes is a growing health problem in rich and poor countries alike. With this course you will get updated on cutting-edge diabetes research including biological, genetic and clinical aspects as well as prevention and epidemiology of diabetes. All provided by high-profile scientists from one the world's leading universities in diabetes research.

Estimated Workload: 3-5 hours/week

Course Instructors

Jens Holst

Professor Jens Juul Holst is a Professor of Medical Physiology and Deputy Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. He is also Research Director at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.

Professor Holst's research focus is the regulatory peptides of the pancreas and gut and their importance in the regulation of the functions of the gastrointestinal tract and metabolism. With special interests in blood glucose and appetite regulation, obesity and diabetes, Professor Holst's research has had a particular emphasis on the role of the incretin hormones of the gut. His laboratory has published 20–35 papers per year for the last 20 years and he personally has published more than 1,000 publications.

Professor Holst is a member of several distinguished academic organizations, including the Danish Academy for Natural Sciences and the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, and continues to be the recipient of numerous research awards and prizes. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Regulatory Peptides, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Professor Holst is a well renowned teacher of endocrinology at University of Copenhagen trough the last 30 years.

Signe Torekov

Assistant Professor, Signe Sørensen Torekov, M.Sc. Human biology, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and also part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen. Dr Torekov did her phd at Steno Diabetes Center / Hagedorn Institute, Gentofte, Denmark and post doc at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. Assistant Professor Torekov has 10 years experience in clinical translational research of the pathophysiological and genetic background of obesity and diabetes. She is project leader and principal investigator of several large investigations of appetite hormones responsible for maintenance of weight loss and pathophysiological investigation of humans with rare mutations of type 2 diabetes genes involved in incretin signalling. Furthermore, Assistant Professor Torekov is a teacher of endocrinology and supervisor of students at University of Copenhagen.

Course Description

Obesity is a common disorder, and in the United States and many other western countries more than half of the populations are overweight or obese. The prevalence is increasing dramatically, and the number of obese individuals worldwide is now projected to reach as much as 1.1 billion by 2030. Along with the increasing numbers of obese people, the prevalence of type-2 diabetes is increasing tremendously worldwide due to the westernized lifestyle. However, the sensitivity of the individual to a westernized lifestyle and development of diabetes appears to be much dependent on his or her genetic risk factors.

As diabetes is associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality, and thereby accounts for a large part of the public health care expenses, there is a great interest in diabetes research to improve knowledge, prevention and treatment of diabetes.

This diabetes course will give you the newest state of the art updates on diabetes research in the fields of clinical aspects of diabetes and regulation of insulin secretion, epidemiology of diabetes, heritability of diabetes, genetic aspects of diabetes, prevention of diabetes and insulin resistance, molecular insulin resistance, cellular aspects of diabetes, physiological regulation of blood glucose, type 1 diabetes and stem cell research in diabetes.

Each section will be covered by world leading professors in the specific areas:

  • Prof Thorkild Sørensen (Epidemiology of Diabetes and obesity)
  • Prof Jens Juul Holst (Physiological regulation of blood glucose)
  • Prof Allan Vaag (Pathophysiology of Diabetes and Genetic versus pre- and post natal aetiological factors in T2D) 
  • Prof Thomas Mandrup (Inflammatory beta-cell destruction in diabetes)
  • Prof Torben Hansen (Genetic aspects of Diabetes)
  • Prof Bente Stallknecht (Physical activity and its influence on insulin resistance and diabetes)
  • Prof Ole Madsen (Stem cell based therapy of Diabetes)


  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    For this course, all you need is an Internet connection and eagerness to learn more about new research in a medical field, which influences all the world's nations.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

    These years groundbreaking research is being done withing diabetology. This course will introduce you to the newest results from not just one, but many different areas of diabetes research, giving you an overview of the entire field.


Week 1:
Obesity and Prevention of Diabetes
Epidemiology of Diabetes

Week 2:
Physiological regulation of plasma glucose

Week 3:
Clinical manifestation of Diabetes and treatment
Inflammatory beta-cell destruction in diabetes

Week 4:
Genetic aspects of Diabetes

Week 5:
Stem cell based therapy of Diabetes


The course consists of short lecture videos, readings, weekly quizzes and a peer assessed written assignment.

Course Workload

3-5 hours/week

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