About this Course
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Approx. 20 hours to complete


Subtitles: English, Catalan

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 20 hours to complete


Subtitles: English, Catalan

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

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.

10 videos (Total 60 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
10 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
3 readings
About This Course10m
Part 1: You and Your Gut10m
1 practice exercise
Introduction to Microbes and the Human Microbiome12m
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!

9 videos (Total 50 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
9 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-up56s
2 readings
Part 1: You and Your Gut (continued)10m
1 practice exercise
Studying the Microbiome14m
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!

7 videos (Total 52 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
7 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
2 readings
Part 1: You and Your Gut (continued)10m
1 practice exercise
Making Sense Out of Microbial Data12m
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!

8 videos (Total 51 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
8 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
1 reading
1 practice exercise
The Human Gut Microbiome and Your Health16m
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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 GRJul 1st 2018

It was a good experience, and while I'm not too big on microbiology in general, I was intrigued in the role our microbiome plays in our lives. The summer I did this changed my life in a way. :)



Rob Knight

Pediatrics and Computer Science & Engineering. Director, Center for Microbiome Innovation, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Jessica L. Metcalf

Senior Research Associate
BioFrontiers Institute

Dr. Katherine R. Amato

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Anthropology, BioFrontiers Institute

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 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....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.