Undergraduate courses I teach in the Department of Biology at the University of Toronto (Mississauga campus):
Plant Metabolism and Metabolomics
This semester long course covers the principle biosynthetic pathways of primary and secondary metabolism in plants. Starting with the assimilation of minerals from the environment, students learn about the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle, carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid and lipid biosynthesis, and nucleotide metabolism. The second half deals with specialized metabolism: terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, alkaloids, and sulfur containing metabolites such as glucosinolates, along with their roles in chemical ecology and plant-herbivore interactions. A strong emphasis on metabolomics/mass spectrometry techniques used to study plant metabolism and the analysis of the corresponding large data sets rounds out this upper division course.
Medicinal Plants and Human Health
Beginning January 2018, I will offer a new course for the Health Sciences stream in the Department of Biology which focuses on the roles of plants in human health. Starting with essential nutrition provided by a plant based diet, this course aims to provide future health practitioners with an evidence based view of the role of plants in providing essential vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants in a healthy diet. We will also cover medicinal plants, a topic which ranges from ethnobotany to diet fads and legitimate plant-based medicines and how to critically analyze such claims. The role of biotechnology (i.e. GMO plants) in improving the nutritional quality of plants will also be discussed.