Food and Health




The Master of Science in Food and Health aims to train professionals to address the complexities and issues concerning the relations between food, nutrition and health, within an international context. 

Food and Health is based on a strong multidisciplinary approach and involves the participation of eight Departments (link) of the University of Padua.

The educational project includes a training programme that evolves from the analysis of the environmental footprint of harvest and post-harvest of food products and continues with economics and the analysis of the agri-food market, the issues concerning food safety, the aspects related to human nutrition, the mechanisms of metabolic regulation and the interaction between organism and food, including physiology and nutrition food-related diseases. 

A well-established network of partnerships allows connections with institutions and industries (e.g. WHO, IFAD, FAO, Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, Slowfood, Parmigiano Reggiano, Migros, Cereal Docks), as well as universities (e.g. The University of Sydney-Australia; University of British Columbia- Canada, University of California Berkeley-USA, University College London-UK, Tel Aviv University-Israel). 

The University of Sydney has been part of our network since long. Watch the video on joint Summer School on Food and Health!

  Look at the claims!

How do technologies & processes affect food quality?
Need to learn advanced cutting-edge biotechnological tools. 

How can we reduce inflammation through the diet?
Different foods may stimulate inflammatory pathways, thus the knowledge of the underneath mechanisms can help to choose a proper diet 

How an excess of food (overnutrition) can negatively affect metabolism and hormonal balance?
Quality and quantity (energy intake) influence in many and complex ways the response of our body: not only by fat accumulation but also through negative effects on hormones production, cellular signaling, and hunger/satiety control at brain level. The correct management of food quantity/quality but also timing has deep impact on health’s outcomes 

How do we push consumers to adopt healthy dietary habits?
Need to know about consumers’ behavior and how (un)healthy food choices are affected by psychology, information & regulations.

How dietary requirements change during the life-course?
The dietary requirements change during the different stages of the human life, from childhood, to adulthood, pregnancy, lactation and ageing. The knowledge of the quantitative and qualitative requirements during the life-course could help in defining the bet diet for each individual.

How the quality and quantity of the foods can increase the risk of cancer?
The knowledge of the metabolic mechanisms linking nutrition to carcinogenesis could help to promote appropriate nutritional interventions for cancer prevention.  

How we can prevent metabolic and cardio-vascular disease through a healthy life-style?
A myriad of dietary patterns are suggested and promoted, but the design and implementation of appropriate nutritional guidelines for the prevention of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases should be based on the knowledge of available evidence from epidemiologic and interventional studies.

How we can temper the obesity epidemic worldwide?
Obesity is not the simple consequence of inadequate individual behaviors or gluttony. Obesity is a chronic complex disease caused by multiple genetic and environmental factors. The understanding of this complex interplay in a transdisciplinary and systemic approach could for the basis for the prevention of obesity and related diseases.

Is genomics related to nutrition?
Nutrition shaped human genome and evolution. Moreover, the way we assimilate nutrients with food is related to the information contained within our genes. Although, not all the molecular pathways related to nutrition have been identified, the effects on nutrients on our genome, and vice versa, is now a very promising field in biomedicine.

Do the genetic differences of human populations affect the way food is metabolized?
Yes. When humans spread out of Africa to the different continents 60.000 years ago, new gene variations have been acquired in our genome. These genetic differences resulted in skin color, body height, facial features and metabolic adaptations. Moreover, different life style and environmental factors such as nutrition, created an additional level of complexity in human genome. For example, alcohol and lactose intolerance have a different distribution between populations and regions.

Is it possible to identify the geographic origin of food?
Yes, if food contains microorganisms or bacteria communities called microbiome.  For example, molecular analysis of bacteria strains within microbiome might lead to identify genetic variants associated with the country of origin of a particular sample of food.

What is the role of ensuring food safety in human nutrition?
Guaranteeing the safety of the food intended for humans in an appropriate and balanced way is one of the major public health challenges of our time. Food safety directly affects human health as individual and as part of a modern society, and has also economic implications for the budget of those countries that export agri-food products.

Can microbes improve our health?
Microbes, particularly bacteria, are present in great amounts in many foods (e.g. cheese, yogurt, etc.) and inside our body (human microbiota). These microorganisms can produce substances (inside foods or in our gut) that can be useful to improve our health status. The knowledge of the composition of these microbial populations can help define the nutritional value of foods and the health status of the consumer.

How do we ensure a sustainable use of resources?
By implementing environmental foot-print & decarbonization strategies in sustainable agri-food chains.


Click here to download a PowerPoint presentation of the Master’s course


  • If you have an international entry qualification, please follow the instructions available here
  • If you have an Italian entry qualification, please follow the instructions available here 
  • Check the admission requirements here

  Course details

  • Click here to download the complete study plan of the Master. In order to foster integration between students from different bachelor degree classes and ensure that they all have the same knowledge of the various training topics, the programme includes a parallel, yet alternative route in the medical-biological field and the agri-food and environmental field. To this end, 12 preparatory courses of 12 ECTS each (entry levels, see asterisk *) are offered, thus providing an alternative to students proceeding from the two training areas.
  • All details about the Master can be found here

  Industry Community Project Unit

  • Are you interested in improving soft-skills, professional growth and strengthening connections with the industry during your studies? Then Industry Community Project Unit (ICPU), run jointly with The University of Sydney, is a good opportunity (6 ECTS, as an elective course or not). 
    Find information regarding the University of Padova here and regarding The University of Sydney here.

  Professional opportunities

Food and Health graduates will have roles of responsibility both in the public-institutional (Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations) and the private sector. Employment opportunities includes, for example, production, processing and trading of agri-food products and goods, food industry, public and private catering, health sector in the nutrition and dietary field, public health and prevention. In addition, this high profile education facilitates access to basic or applied research or to doctoral programmes in Italy or abroad.

  Final Exam

To graduate, students must take a final exam, which consists in the preparation, presentation and discussion of a thesis manuscript, developed under the supervision of a Reference Professor. More information about the final exam can be found here

  Scholarships and other facilitations for students

The University of Padova offers different types of scholarships and fee-waivers to international students.

For detailed information:


Most lectures are held at the Agripolis campus, in Legnaro (PD). Click here for an aerial view of the campus and its structures, and here for directions for reaching it.

One semester will be at Villa Bolasco (Castelfranco Veneto), a beautiful Venetian villa nearby Padova. Find all details about the Villa here: Brochure,

The Agripolis campus features a library accessible by all students. Click here for the library’s opening hours and contact information.