The Department of Health and Exercise Science in the College of Applied Human Sciences will offer a new Ph.D. program in human bioenergetics commencing in fall 2007. The new program is one of only three such Ph.D. degree programs in the nation.
Bioenergetics is the multidisciplinary study of how energy is transferred in cells, tissues and organisms. How the body regulates energy transfer pathways and processes has a fundamental influence on health. These processes convert food into energy and relate directly to human health across the lifespan and the spectrum of functional capacities from chronic disease to elite athletic performance.
"The study of bioenergetics is essential to the prevention and treatment of such chronic diseases as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer," said Gay Israel, department head. "The Department of Health and Exercise Science’s commitment is to offer the highest quality academic, research and outreach opportunities to all students, both undergraduate and graduate. A primary departmental aim of this new Ph.D. is to serve the need for highly trained academicians and scientists who are capable of meeting the growing national need for interdisciplinary research and education on human health and chronic disease."
The public health burden associated with chronic disease is enormous. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cost estimates related to diabetes and cardiovascular disease alone exceed $500 billion annually and continue to increase.
Research on cause, prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetes, the family of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity, pulmonary disorders and related chronic diseases is a multidisciplinary effort. Clinicians and basic scientists in industry, academia and health care settings, approach this challenge in a variety of ways. As often the case, there is typically little cross-disciplinary communication, resulting in a compartmentalized approach to chronic disease.
The new Ph.D. program will develop in students an integrative and multidisciplinary approach to human bioenergetics, health, disease prevention and rehabilitation issues, from the molecular level to the whole body. Students may take courses in disciplines as diverse as nutrition, engineering, biomedical sciences and epidemiology.
The program is designed to have a direct practical impact on health and economic issues which confront Colorado and the nation. Colorado’s population is generally becoming older and more obese.
"By training graduate students in the interdisciplinary aspects of human health and disease prevention, we will be better positioned to address the challenges faced by the state of Colorado with respect to these public health issues," Israel said. "Trainees will be equipped to serve the state and the nation in a variety of capacities, including basic and applied research scientists in academic, industry and public health settings."