New online course launched to help doctors and nurses better understand how genomics can battle bacterial diseases

Free three week course on Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance starts on April 30th

New online course launched to help doctors and nurses better understand how genomics can battle bacterial diseases

Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance CourseiStock
Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance Course

Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC) today (Tuesday 27 March) announces the launch of its first online course, in partnership with FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform. The new partnership will present a free online course introducing the genomics of disease-causing bacteria, such as MRSA, E. coli and Chlamydia which infect millions of people every year.

The course, 'Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance' was developed in collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge. Designed to educate health care professionals and biologists worldwide on how the genomes of bacteria can be used to understand, and identify and track bacterial diseases and antibiotic resistance, this is the first of a series of 10 online courses. The course is free and is open for enrolment now, with the course starting on April 30th 2018.

This 3-week introduction to pathogen genomics will be the first online course offered by ACSC and is open to anyone to join. As part of the Wellcome mission to be as accessible as possible worldwide, ACSC have sponsored this open access course to provide free enrolment and free certification. The course will take approximately 3 hours study time per week and learners can complete at their own pace.

Humans have been plagued by bacterial diseases throughout history. For example, the bacteria which causes tuberculosis (TB) killed 1.3 million people across the world last year, mainly in developing countries. These bacterial diseases are made more dangerous by the rise of antibiotic resistance, which is one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide.

Especially important for people who work in healthcare, the course will teach participants how sequencing the DNA of bacteria offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand bacterial diseases, their spread and their resistance to drugs.

“There is a gap in the understanding of pathogen genomics amongst healthcare professionals in the NHS and abroad, despite the importance of genomics in tracking the spread of bacterial diseases and antibiotic resistance. This innovative, free three week course is a great way for our medical and nursing colleagues to get up to speed on this quickly.”

Dr Estee Torok, honorary consultant physician at Addenbrooke's hospital and researcher at the University of Cambridge, who is featured in the course

“With our long history and expertise in running face-to-face postgraduate courses and conferences, we are delighted to partner with FutureLearn to run our first online course. Developed and presented in collaboration with Dr Adam Reid and Dr Francesca Short from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Dr Josie Bryant from the University of Cambridge, this free course will enable thousands of people both here in the UK and abroad to learn about the genetics of pathogenic bacteria. This paves the way for the further courses in the series.”

Dr Rebecca Twells, Head of Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC)

“Thanks to scientific advances we have powerful tools like antibiotics to combat devastating bacterial diseases such as cholera and TB. However outbreaks continue to happen and genomic science is a vital new weapon against them. We have specifically designed this course with ACSC to help people understand how genomics can be used to fight these bacterial pathogens.”

Dr Adam Reid, senior staff scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute who co-designed the course

“It’s fantastic to be able to collaborate with the Wellcome Genome Campus to showcase the work they’re doing in this space and share this with a global community of learners. We’re thrilled to be able to support healthcare practitioners and scientists in this way; the opportunities enabled by an online learning experience will expose learners to insights from like-minded professionals worldwide, which will better inform their practice and cement their understanding of such a complex, yet fascinating topic.”

Helen Fuller, Healthcare lead at FutureLearn

Notes to Editors

More details about the course: Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance

Explore the genomes of bacteria and find out how sequencing is helping us fight the spread of harmful disease and antimicrobial resistance.

The increase in resistance of harmful bacteria to antibiotics is a major global threat to health. On this course we explore bacterial genomes and the use of genome sequencing to identify and track these drug resistant bacteria. Join us to discover how genome research is helping scientists and healthcare professionals track disease outbreaks and prevent the rise of antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs’.

You can sign up for the course here. This part time, online course will run over three weeks and will take an average of three hours a week. It is open access, aimed at an introductory undergraduate level, and anyone with an interest in genome sequencing and bacterial disease can join. No previous knowledge of genome science or bacteria is expected.

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Dr Samantha Wynne, Media Officer

Tel +44 (0)1223 492 368

Emily Mobley, Media Officer

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Mobile +44 (0) 7900 607793

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