About this Course
Imagine if there were an organ in your body that weighed as much as your brain, that affected your health, your weight, and even your behavior. Wouldn’t you want to know more about it? There is such an organ — the collection of microbes in and on your body, your human microbiome.
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 19 hours to complete

Suggested: 3 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Catalan
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 19 hours to complete

Suggested: 3 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Catalan

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Introduction to Microbes and the Human Microbiome

Welcome Citizen Scientists! We're very pleased to have you join us on an exploration of the human microbiome. This is a fascinating area of study, and we hope you will find this six-module course worthwhile. Each module's content will be presented in similar fashion; our team will introduce topics by way of pre-recorded video lectures interspersed with guest interviews by subject matter experts. Module 1 will provide a broad overview about microbes and their diversity on earth and in the human body....
Reading
10 videos (Total 60 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video10 videos
Welcome to the Course3m
What are Microbes?8m
Interview: Jack Gilbert7m
Interview: Valerie McKenzie5m
The Human Microbiome14m
Where Do You Get Your Microbes?5m
Web interview: Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello5m
Web interview: Elizabeth Costello4m
Rob's Module 1 wrap-up1m
Reading3 readings
About This Course10m
Assignments10m
Part 1: You and Your Gut10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Introduction to Microbes and the Human Microbiome12m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Studying the Microbiome

In this module, we will dive into the fundamentals of how we study the human microbiome. We highlight recent advances in microbiome research methods and take you on a tour of the Knight lab. Please keep in mind, that Modules 2 and 3 are meant to provide a glimpse into our world of data generation and analysis. Modules 4, 5, and 6 will be less technical and provide a broad overview of fascinating research on the human microbiome. Stick with us! ...
Reading
9 videos (Total 50 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video9 videos
The history of studying microbes with Norm Pace6m
Basics of high-throughput DNA sequencing11m
Demo: Tour of the Knight Lab8m
'Omics' and other useful technologies6m
Interview: Luke Thompson3m
Web interview: Janet Jansson4m
Web interview: Pieter Dorrestein7m
Rob's Module 2 wrap-up0m
Reading2 readings
Assignments10m
Part 1: You and Your Gut (continued)10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Studying the Microbiome14m

3

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Making Sense Out of Microbial Data

This module highlights the basics of generating and analyzing microbiome data. We will also discuss how computational scientists are revolutionizing the development of tools for analyzing large, complex biological data sets and show you some of the cool ways that we visualize data! This module will help you understand data plots in later modules, but do not get discouraged if the material here is too technical, a full understanding is not required to complete the course! ...
Reading
7 videos (Total 52 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Web interview: Philip Hugenholtz11m
Basics of alpha-diversity with fuzzy microbe demo8m
Beta-diversity, and visualizing differences13m
Demo: EMPeror, a QIIME visualization tool2m
Web interview: Gregory Caporaso9m
Rob's Week 3 wrap-up1m
Reading2 readings
Assignments10m
Part 1: You and Your Gut (continued)10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Making Sense Out of Microbial Data12m

4

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

The Human Gut Microbiome and Your Health

Now that we've given you some background about the methods we use to analyze microbial data, it's time for us to talk more about recent discoveries in microbiome research. This module will focus on the main factors impacting the gut microbiota as well as the influence of the gut microbiota on nutrition and gut health. This is the fun part, so get excited!...
Reading
8 videos (Total 51 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Video8 videos
Obesity and the gut microbiota8m
Human microbiome and gut disease6m
Interview: On location in Tanzania with Martin Blaser6m
Interview: On location in Tanzania with Jeff Leach6m
Interview: On location in Tanzania with Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello2m
Manipulating the microbiome through fecal transplants5m
Rob's Module 4 wrap-up1m
Reading1 readings
Assignments10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
The Human Gut Microbiome and Your Health16m

5

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Gut Microbe-Host Interactions: Beyond Nutrition

You're more than halfway through the course! We hope you've been learning lots of new, exciting things about the human gut microbiota! In this module, we'll shift the focus from nutrition and gut health to the rest of your body. How do your gut microbes and your immune system interact? What about your nervous system? Does the gut microbiota play a role in allergies and stress? ...
Reading
11 videos (Total 82 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video11 videos
Gut microbiota, autoimmune diseases, and allergies8m
Web interview: Sarkis Mazmanian11m
Interview: Cathy Lozupone10m
The gut-brain axis10m
Post-mortem human microbiome6m
Zech on machine learning5m
Web interview: Sibyl Bucheli9m
Web interview: David Carter4m
Web interview: Charlotte Carter4m
Rob's Module 5 wrap-up0m
Reading1 readings
Assignments10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Gut Microbe-Host Interactions: Beyond Nutrition16m

6

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

What's in the American Gut

We will wrap up the course in this module by discussing what's in the American Gut. Rob will walk us through results from the American Gut Project and compare results from Jeff Leach and Michael Pollan. We will also hear from Michael Pollan on the importance of microbiome research and how it has changed the way he thinks about his health and what he eats. ...
Reading
8 videos (Total 60 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
Video8 videos
Interview: Tom Cech6m
Collecting samples12m
Interview: Daniel McDonald9m
Michael Pollan vs. Jeff Leach: American Gut results explained9m
Web interview: Michael Pollan9m
Comparing the American Gut to other populations4m
Rob's Module 6 wrap-up and thank you's2m
Reading4 readings
Assignments10m
Closing Remarks10m
Acknowledgements10m
Post-Course Survey10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
What's in the American Gut16m
4.7
Direction Signs

67%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course
Money

17%

got a pay increase or promotion

Top Reviews

By AFFeb 11th 2017

Very informative! Everybody should take this course, to know more about their own microbiome...\n\nThe first lessons are not so exciting, but hang in there! The most interesting parts come later ;)

By BFAug 26th 2016

Both enjoyable and challenging. Hear an interesting range of lectures, backed up with a wide range of articles. Shook up my idea of what it takes to be a healthy human - a healthy microbiome.

Instructors

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Rob Knight

Professor
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Dr. Jessica L. Metcalf

Senior Research Associate
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Dr. Katherine R. Amato

Postdoctoral Research Associate

About University of Colorado Boulder

CU-Boulder is a dynamic community of scholars and learners on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country. As one of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), we have a proud tradition of academic excellence, with five Nobel laureates and more than 50 members of prestigious academic academies....

About University of Colorado System

The University of Colorado is a recognized leader in higher education on the national and global stage. We collaborate to meet the diverse needs of our students and communities. We promote innovation, encourage discovery and support the extension of knowledge in ways unique to the state of Colorado and beyond....

About University of California San Diego

UC San Diego is an academic powerhouse and economic engine, recognized as one of the top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. Innovation is central to who we are and what we do. Here, students learn that knowledge isn't just acquired in the classroom—life is their laboratory....

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