Full course description
In a strict sense, the term 'allometry' originally referred to the scaling relationship between the size of a body part and the size of the body as a whole. More broadly, allometry is concerned with biological scaling relationships in general, including morphological traits (e.g. the relationship between brain size and body size), physiological traits (e.g. the relationship between metabolic rate and body size) or even ecological traits (e.g. the relationship between body size and territory size). Indeed, allometric relationships can be described for almost any pair of co-varying biological measurements. For biomedical sciences, such allometric relations (or the deviation thereof) have huge implications for the extrapolation of study data from cells to animals to humans, for example in the field of drug development. In addition, allometry is used to assess or correct for the influence of the variable body size within human study populations.
The course will begin with a general introduction on the influence of body size. Next, specific examples will be studied to gain a broader understanding of the topic. Examples of allometric relations in biomedical sciences we will study during the PBLs and lectures are skeletal dimensions, cardiac function, energy metabolism, thermoregulation, movement efficiency and pharmacokinetics. Allometric relations within the student population will be determined during the practicals body composition, electrocardiography, gait transition and pharmacokinetics/ pharmacodynamics. In addition, students will collaborate in a project where they explore a variety of topics related to the influence of animal/ body size.
To understand the nature of allometric scaling laws
Explain how body size affects body structure
Explain how body size affects (energy) metabolism
Know the implications of allometric scaling for biomedical research: how to extrapolate from mouse to man
Demonstrate taking allometric scaling into account in human studies: how to correct for body size
• Schmidt-Nielsen, K. (1984) ‘ Scaling. Why is animal size so important’, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK
• Boner JT. (2011) Why Size Matters: From Bacteria to Blue Whales, Princeton University Press
• Brown JH & West GB (2000) ‘Scaling in Biology’, Oxford University Press.