7.343 A Love-Hate Relationship: Cholesterol in Health and Disease

As taught in: Fall 2005

Space-filling model of a cholesterol molecule.

Space-filling model of a cholesterol molecule. Abnormally high levels of blood cholesterol have been positively linked to one's risk of developing coronary heart disease, the number one killer in the world. (Photograph courtesy of Andrei Ryjkov.)

Level:

Undergraduate

Instructors:

Dr. Ayce Yesilaltay

Course Description

In this class, we will examine cholesterol's role in the cell and in the body as a whole, from its function as a structural component of the membrane to its function in signaling. We will discuss mechanisms of cholesterol sensing, mechanisms of feedback regulation in cells, cholesterol in the brain, cholesterol in the circulation, 'good cholesterol' and 'bad cholesterol,' cholesterol-related human disorders, and the drugs that deal with some of these disorders.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.