The Power of Genomics to Understand the COVID-19 Pandemic

4 July 2022–31 May 2024

FutureLearn platform, online

Gain insights into tracking, treating, preventing, and preparing for pandemics through genome sequencing and data sharing


The course will close for enrolments shortly. Please join the course by 31 May 2024.

Duration: 3 weeks, 5 hrs per week
Start date: 4  July 2022. The course will first run ‘live’ for 3 weeks from the start date. Once this period is over, you will be able to join and complete the course, but there will be no live monitoring of the forums.

Free to join, and a free certificate of achievement will be provided on satisfactory completion.

Why join this course?

Genomics is crucial in understanding and responding to pandemics, including COVID-19. On this three-week course, you’ll learn key concepts in viral genomics, how they can be applied to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they can help us prepare for future pandemics. The course was developed in collaboration with members of the COG-UK consortium and international experts from around the world.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in learning more about a genomics response to COVID-19. In particular, researchers, healthcare professionals, science journalists, policymakers, and those working in public health will find it invaluable.



What topics will you cover?

  • How viral genomics informs responses to COVID-19 and future pandemics
  • Explore genome sequencing and the SARS-CoV-2 genome
  • Track COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics development
  • Understand why sharing bioinformatics data is critical

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to

  • Describe how viruses cause diseases and pandemics
  • Discuss the use of sequence data for detecting and tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants
  • Describe the development and action of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2
  • Evaluate the role of genomic epidemiology in pandemic decision-making
  • Explain how data sharing contributes to developing effective strategies against the pandemic


Lead Educators

Dr Leigh Jackson
I’m a scientific project manager with the COG-UK consortium. I have a varied research background working in human genomics and cancer research. I have worked on several large pan-European, multi-disciplinary, projects alongside the preeminent clinical, ethical and social researchers in genetics. More recently I have begun using a big data approach in public health genomics. I have worked on numerous genomic education initiatives including as Education and Training Lead for the South West Genomic Medicine centre as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project, the MedGen project developing training courses in Macedonia and Israel, developing modules on the MSc in Genomic Medicine at the University of Exeter and the Gen-Equip project which provided an educational toolkit and modules for primary care professionals in 6 languages.

Dr Sophie Prosolek
I manage the communications and content management strategy for COG-Train. After completing a PhD in Molecular Nutrition at the Quadram Institute in Norwich, I joined the COG-UK consortium as a postdoctoral researcher sequencing SARS-CoV-2 as part of the pandemic response. I’m also keen science communicator with a passion for mass education.

Stephanie Hutchings
I’m based at the Infectious Sciences department at UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). During the COVID-19 pandemic I supported the local COG-UK SARS-CoV-2 sequencing service in my department along with the PCR diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2. I previously worked on an Influenza Pandemic preparedness project and then worked as a registered Biomedical Scientist at UKHSA. I’m currently completing a Masters in Clinical Microbiology at Queen Mary University, London as part of the Clinical Scientist Training Programme.

Dr Teresa Cutiño-Moguel
I’m the virology clinical lead at Barts Health Trust, where I have led the diagnostic service of viral sequencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also collaborated with Queen Mary University to establish SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic services. I studied medicine at the National University of Mexico before undertaking an MSc in molecular biology in infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine followed by a PhD in immunology and molecular pathology at University College London.

Education Developers
Liã Barbara Arruda – Wellcome Connecting Science
Jorge Batista da Rocha – Wellcome Connecting Science

The course also features contributions from the following distinguished scientists, including:

Carlo Lapid – Philippine Genomics Center, Philippines
Dr Carolina Torres – Argentina SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, Argentina
Dr Gerald Mboowa – Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Ethiopia
Dr Mariana Viegas – Argentina SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, Argentina
Dr Tapfumanei Mashe – Zimbabwe National Reference Laboratory, Zimbabwe
Prof Thanat Chookajorn – COVID-19 Network Investigations Alliance, Thailand

Contributors from the COG-UK consortium

Dr Catherine Ludden – COG-UK/Public Health England, United Kingdom
Charlotte Williams – University College of London, United Kingdom
Dr Paola Niola – University College of London, United Kingdom
Dr Rachel Williams – University College of London, United Kingdom
Sandra Cantinela – University College of London, United Kingdom
Dr Stephen Bridgett – Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom
Dr Sunando Roy – University College London, United Kingdom


What's included

COG-Train 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:

  • 1 year access to this course, if you have joined the course, but not yet completed it,  before course finish date.
  • 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
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