About This Course
This course provides a framework for modelling metabolism at the microorganism level, using the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) Theory which is applicable to all species. It quantifies, step by step, all the important metabolic processes such as ingestion, assimilation, growth and maintenance.
With DEB theory, the metabolism of organisms of different species, can be modelled taking into account substrate, temperature and other environmental variables such as toxics, hypoxia, salinity, etc. In this course we will focus on the forcing variables: substrate and temperature. DEB models are powerful tools to predict the impact of climate change on the spread of diseases, the impacts of a toxic spill and the environmental conditions that optimize beer production or minimize food spoiling among others.
At the end of the course the students will be able to:
- Build a scheme and the model of the organization of metabolism.
- Quantify metabolic rates such as growth and assimilation as a function of temperature and amount of substrate.
- Discuss important concepts for metabolic organization such as weak (or constant food) and strong (or pool) homeostasis.
- Make mass, energy and entropy balances for organisms.
The course is designed for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as researchers that want to learn about the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the metabolic organisation of microorganisms.
The course is adequate for people that have some training on modelling or the use of models and basic to medium-level knowledge of mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics.
Week 1 (The basics) - The general principles of Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory. Basic concepts of dynamic systems and modelling. The state variables of DEB model and the pool (or strong) and constant food (or weak) homeostasis assumptions.
Weeks 2 (Metabolic Processes) - Metabolism: the importance of shape and size. Quantitative and qualitative description of metabolic processes: assimilation, mobilization, growth and maintenance. The effect of temperature.
The course is structured into topics that last 1 week. Each week will have: 4 to 7 videos. Students will have access to support written material.
Videos will guide students through the topics explored in this course.
Assessment and certification
This course includes quizzes. A participant certificate will be given to students that get, at least, 60% of the quizzes correct.
Degree in Environmental Engineering (1998), master in Ecology, Management and Modelling of Marine Systems, (2003), pos-graduation in Economy (2007) and PhD (2007) in Environmental Engineering (IST - University of Lisbon) and Earth and Life Sciences (Free University of Amsterdam). Auxiliary Professor, of Environment and Energy, in the Mechanical Engineering Department, where she teaches Energy Management, Energy and Environment, Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere, Applied Ecology and Microbial Cell Factories. Reasearcher on MARETEC – Marine, Environment and Technology Center – focusing on the application of thermodynamics to Ecology and Economy, with an emphasis on sustainable energy systems and the metabolism of organisms.
The research on the metabolism of organisms, based on Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) Theory, focus on the quantification of mass, energy and entropy flows, on the formalization and development of the theory and applications to nature conservation and sustainability of animal production and fisheries.
Researcher at MARETEC - Marine, Environment and Technology Center, he has a PhD in Physics and works in DEB theory since 2009. At IST he lectured in the disciplines of Applied Ecology and Microbial Cell Factories.
He is part of the teaching team of the International DEB tele-course that happens every two years, and he was one of the curators of the Add-my-Pet - an online database with almost 1000 species from 19 animal phyla. In research is has worked with several different species, including: microalgae, cyanobacteria, sardine, birds, mammals, etc.