Skip to main content
Sign In

Digestion, Endocrine and Metabolic Systems Block


This 10 week interdisciplinary course in the Fall semester integrates clinical and basic science topics related to the normal function and diseases of the gastrointestinal and endocrine systems. The biochemistry and physiology of nutrient metabolism in health and disease will also be covered.

Block Directors:
John Tentler​, PhD
Virginia Sarapura, MD
Daniel Bessesen, MD

Ellen Valentine (303-724-2069)

Course objectives

    • Describe the normal gross structure, histology and physiology of the digestive organs (salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, gall bladder, exocrine pancreas, and liver) and endocrine organs (endocrine pancreas, hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid glands).
    • Discuss the key biochemical regulatory steps in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and amino acids, and their role in maintaining the body’s energy balance.
    • Discuss the normal nutritional requirements of the body and how energy imbalance can result in common diseases and clinical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and osteoporosis.
    • Describe the causes (genetic, developmental, microbiologic, autoimmune, metabolic, toxic and traumatic) of digestive, metabolic and endocrine dysfunction.
    • Describe the altered structure (pathology) and function (pathophysiology) of digestive and endocrine organs as seen in common diseases and clinical conditions.
    • Describe the epidemiology of common maladies within a defined population, and the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of those maladies.
    • Demonstrate clinical reasoning skills.
    • Demonstrate the ability to retrieve, evaluate, manage and utilize biomedical information derived from electronic databases and other sources.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the need to engage in life-long learning as a means of keeping up on scientific advances.
    • Describe the use of scientific method to determine the causation of disease and to compare and contrast the efficacy of traditional and non-traditional therapies.
    • Apply the principles of pharmacology, therapeutics and therapeutic decision-making to digestive, endocrine and metabolic dysfunction.
    • Discuss how the principles of genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics can be used to better understand health and dysfunction of the digestive, metabolic and endocrine systems.
    • Discuss the scientific principles and limitations of laboratory diagnostic methods in the diagnosis of digestive, metabolic and endocrine dysfunction.