Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance

31 August 2020–3 January 2021

FutureLearn platform, online

Explore the genomes of bacteria and the use of genome sequencing to track harmful disease and AMR.


  • Duration: 3 weeks, 3 hours per week
  • Free
  • Certificate of achievement available on satisfactory completion
  • CPD Approval: Royal College of Pathologists (9 credits), Royal College of Nursing (9 credits)
  • Start Date: The course is run ‘live’ for 3 weeks from the start date above. Once this period is over there will be no live monitoring of the forums, but you can still join and complete the course during the remaining period.

Why join the course?

The increase in resistance of harmful bacteria to antibiotics is a major global threat to health. Here 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’.

Who is the course for?

This course will be of interest to scientists, healthcare professionals, biomedical researchers and bioinformaticians. The course offers all learners an opportunity to learn about genomes, disease, and antimicrobial resistance. You require no previous knowledge of genome science to complete the course.

What do people say about this course?

I would definitely point students to this resource. Text, videos, and figures were all very well done.
Pablo Tsukayama, Assistant Professor of Microbiology

A highlight of the course was the introduction to whole genome sequencing – new information for me.
Christine Laws, Medical Doctor

Exchanging genetic information quickly throughout the world is clearly going to revolutionise the ability to combat disease.
Prue van der Hoorn, Artist


Course start dates
This course is repeated twice a year.

What topics will you cover?

  • Diseases caused by bacteria
  • What bacterial genomes look like
  • Genome sequencing technology
  • Mechanisms of transmission and resistance
  • Genomic epidemiology – tracking the spread of bacterial pathogens
  • Antimicrobial resistance

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…

  • Explain why some bacteria are pathogenic
  • Explore the structure of bacterial genomes
  • Describe the uses of different genome sequencing technologies
  • Investigate how genome data are used to track the spread of bacterial disease
  • Discuss the role of genome sequencing in stopping the spread of antimicrobial resistance


Lead Educators

Dr Adam Reid
I am a senior staff scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge in the United Kingdom. I’m interested in using genomics and bioinformatics to better understand infectious diseases.

Dr Josie Bryant
I am a Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Cambridge, Department of Medicine. I am working on bacterial genomics and evolution with a focus on within-patient microbial diversity

Dr Francesca Short
I am a scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. I am interested in using functional genomics techniques to understand infections caused by the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Programme Lead Educator

Professor Nicholas Thomson
I am a Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. I provide scientific oversight for this course. I am interested in bacterial evolution and the spread of infectious disease.


The course also features interviews with distinguished scientists, including:

What's included

Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible

Course trailer

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