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Ph.D. Program in Food, Health and Longevity

The international Ph.D. program is born from the fusion of the Excellence projects of the UPO Departments of Medicine: the AGING Project and the Food for Health Project.

Starting from the academic year 2020/2021, XXXVI cycle the Ph.D. program in “Food, Health and Longevity” is carried out in partnership between the University of Piemonte Orientale and the University of Turin. This means that the Universities jointly award the academic title of Ph.D. in “Food, Health and Longevity, sharing the responsibilities of supervising, coordinating and examining a researcher’s work towards the Ph.D. degree.

The Ph.D. will be interdisciplinary to train skills in “Food” and “Longevity” issues and to strategically converse with multiple disciplines.

Our program focuses on two multidimensional macro-themes and aims to train high-profile professionals who will be able to find work in the health sector (hospital, university, pharmaceutical), but also agri-food and industrial (food, biotechnology), ICT ( big data, device), specific legislation (EFSA, industries) and third sector, including the social sphere, as they will be able to offer basic knowledge to deal with the theme of health, food, longevity, microbiota, but also biological mechanisms. The basic communication and understanding of the individual scientific and humanistic disciplines will generate managerial professional profiles aimed at complex work scenarios.

The presence of humanities will encourage the integration of the themes of the two curricula in social, ethics and anthropology, promoting innovative and responsible research (responsible research & innovation) as suggested by the Horizon programs.

The Ph.D. Program in Food, Health and Longevity is organized by the Novara Medical School (UPO) and benefits from outstanding research laboratories located at:

and the other UPO Departments:






The Ph.D. program offers two different curricula related to the following theme clusters:

Food, microbiota, and disease
This curriculum aims to provide skills on how food and nutrition modulate the microbiota and impact on the prevention and development of chronic non-communicable diseases. Ph.D. students will acquire the skills for the study of the microbiota, the characterization and formulation of new foods, prebiotics and probiotics, also to favor spin-offs aimed at medical and biological sciences.

Physiopathology of aging
This curriculum aims to outline the role of markers and pro-aging factors to slow down and / or combat degenerative diseases that lead to the decline of the biological activity of the individual. Ph.D. students will acquire the skills for the study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that determine the longevity and healthy aging, by seeking new therapeutic targets and new solutions.


Ph.D. students are provided with € 1.500 funding in the second and third year of the scheme. This funding is available to cover directly incurred costs required to carry out the project such as travel to conferences and specialist resources.
Ph.D. students are provided with financial support (for a maximum of 18 months) to carry out traineeships in outstanding foreign research centers.


Students benefit from a wealth of seminars and workshops held by world-leading researchers, providing a broad scientific education. Ph.D. program offers expert training in state-of-the-art technologies, through our core research facilities, and (compulsory) advanced taught courses dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, visualization of research performance, entrepreneurship, the Framework Program of the European Commission (NetVal, SciVal, APRE training courses), and scientific English writing or grant applications.
At the end of the first and second year of the Ph.D. program, the students are requested to submit a report describing the research activities performed that also includes a list of the attended didactical activities, of poster/oral communications presented by the Ph.D. student, and list of the publications).

Additional programs of study & certificates

Specialty-Ph.D. program: The Ph.D. in Medical Sciences and Biotechnology and UPO Medical Specialty Schools offer an integrated curriculum leading to a joint degree (Specialty -Ph.D.) with the mission to train the next generation of premier physician-scientists, with representation across a variety of clinical disciplines and research areas. During the last year of the specialty training, the candidates are concomitantly enrolled in the first year of the Ph.D. program.

Doctor Europaeus: The University of Piemonte Orientale participates in the international program awarding the “Doctor Europæus certificate”. This label certifies the fulfillment of the requirements, established by the European University Association, during the Ph.D. period, i.e. joint supervision of the research activities, an international board of thesis examiners, multilingualism and international mobility.


Coordinator: Prof. Antonia Follenzi
Department of Health Science.
Via Solaroli, 17 – 28100 Novara (Italy)
Tel.: + 39 0321-660674
e-mail: antonia.follenzi@med.uniupo.it
More details on the dedicated website

Vice-coordinator : Prof. Alessandra Gennari
Department of Translational Medicine.
Via Solaroli, 17 – 28100 Novara (Italy)
Tel.: + 39 0321-660684
e-mail: alessandra.gennari@med.uniupo.it

Prof. Flavia Prodam
Department of Health Science.
Via Solaroli, 17 – 28100 Novara (Italy)
Tel.: + 39 0321-660674
e-mail: flavia.prodam@med.uniupo.it

Prof. Nicoletta Filigheddu
Department of Translational Medicine.
Via Solaroli, 17 – 28100 Novara (Italy)
Tel.: + 39 0321-660674
e-mail: nicoletta.filigheddu@med.uniupo.it

More details on the dedicated website