• Wellcome Connecting Science

Bacterial Genomes: Disease Outbreaks and Antimicrobial Resistance

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

29,523 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Digital upgrade

  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

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’.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Bacteria have caused some of the most devastating diseases in human history, such as cholera, tuberculosis, and the plague. But thanks to scientific advancements, such as epidemiological investigation and antibiotics, we have powerful tools to tackle them. However, these outbreaks still continue and antimicrobial resistance is becoming a global threat to human health. Genomics is a new weapon we have in our battle against these microbial diseases. I’m Dr. Adam Reid, a Staff Scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge in England. Here at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, we use genome sequences to better understand human and pathogen biology to improve human health. I’m Dr. Josie Bryant a Wellcome Fellow based at the University of Cambridge working on pathogen genomics.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds In this course, we will be learning about the bacteria which cause diseases, what the genomes look like, and how they evolve to become pathogens. We will also be exploring the key developments and sequencing technologies which have led to the genomics revolution, and how we use computers to analyse all this information-rich data that these technologies produce. This course is for people interested in stories they read in the media about antimicrobial resistance, disease outbreaks and genome science. But it’s also for trained biologists, health care professionals, genome and data scientists who are interested in these topics. Genomics is the study of genomes, the DNA which contains instructions to build all living things.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds Advancements in technology have made it possible to read these instructions faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. Bacterial genomes contain information about how they cause disease and how they resist antibiotics. They can also tell us about how diseases spread during outbreaks. We will explore the history of disease outbreak investigation and how genomics has revolutionised our understanding of outbreaks such as MRSA and food poisoning. We hope you will join us for this fascinating introduction into how genomics can be used to fight bacterial pathogens.

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

Who is this accredited by?

Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Pathologists:

RCPath has approved this course for 9 CPD credits. This applies to medical staff and clinical scientists in career grade posts who are enrolled with one of the Royal Colleges for CPD purposes.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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

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. "

"A highlight of the course was the introduction to whole genome sequencing – new information for me."

Who will you learn with?

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.

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

I am a research scientist at Macquarie University in Australia. I am interested in using functional genomics techniques to understand infections caused by bacteria such as Klebsiella pneumoniae.

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.

Who developed the course?

Wellcome Connecting Science

Wellcome Connecting Science develops and delivers open postgraduates courses and conferences focused on biomedicine.

Endorsers and supporters

content provided by

Wellcome Sanger Institute

What's included?

Wellcome Connecting Science 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
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