Learn about whole genome sequencing - for free

Wednesday 02 Aug 17


Pimlapas Leekitcharoenphon
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 71 83

With just a few clicks of a mouse, students around the world can access a free online course on whole genome sequencing – an approach that allows a microorganism’s entire DNA profile to be identified quickly and relatively inexpensively using online tools. The course will introduce students to whole genome sequencing techniques, which have revolutionized the way diseases are detected and outbreaks are investigated. The course is offered via Coursera and taught by experts from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

Until a few years ago, finding the source of infection in an outbreak was considerably delayed by the fact that typing techniques – some dating back more than 50 years – could take up to several weeks to reveal which disease-causing microorganism was the cause of illness.

The emergence of whole genome sequencing techniques, which can quickly and relatively inexpensively identify a disease-causing microorganism’s entire DNA profile, have revolutionized outbreak investigations and disease detection.

Researchers from the National Food Institute have extensive knowledge on how to use whole genome sequencing diagnostic techniques and have developed online tools for whole genome sequence analysis and typing. They have now developed a free MOOC e-learning course so that more people around the world can benefit from this expertise.

Students will learn the theory behind the methods and receive training in how to use various free online tools to analyze whole genome sequencing data in order to type bacteria and map the occurrence of resistance in the bacteria.

The National Food Institute already has experience in teaching online in a global classroom. The institute launched its first MOOC course on antimicrobial resistance in 2016. 

About the course

There is continuous enrollment on the five-week course, which is taught in English. The course is aimed at people with an interest in the field – e.g. undergraduate or graduate students, laboratory technicians, researchers and people working in the food, health or veterinary sectors.

Teaching takes place via an interactive textbook, which contains videos, quizzes and assignments. During the course students will have the opportunity to meet in an online study group.

Students should expect to spend one to two hours a week on their studies. People who complete the course are able to receive a course certificate for a US$50 fee.

Read more

The course is offered through Coursera, which is an international provider of free e-learning courses. Find the full course description on Coursera’s website: Whole genome sequencing of bacterial genomes - tools and applications.

Go to the National Food Institute’s website for more information about whole genome sequencing and the institute’s research in this area, which is helping to set the international standard for the detection, surveillance and study of the global spread of disease-causing microorganism and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria: Whole genome sequencing

In 2016, the World Health Organization appointed the National Food Institute as its first ever Collaborating Centre for Genomics, thereby recognizing the institute’s pioneering work in research into the use of whole genome sequencing.