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Pathogen Genomics: A New Era in Global Health Surveillance and Strategy

Learn how genomics can help contain infectious diseases, prevent future global health threats, and better protect public health.

3,013 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • Digital upgrade


Discover tools and resources to strengthen pathogen surveillance

Pathogen genomics is a powerful tool for understanding and managing infectious diseases. This approach can be decisive when monitoring pathogens of public health relevance.

On this three-week course taught by experts in pathogen genomics and epidemiology, you’ll review recent developments in genomic surveillance, and explore how these could inform public health actions.

Learn how genomic approaches could help tackle infectious diseases

Guided by an interdisciplinary team of specialists, you’ll learn how genomics has been used to investigate, monitor, and control infectious diseases.

You’ll cover key concepts in epidemiology and pathogen genomics, seeing how these apply to infectious disease surveillance and global health.

Discuss strategies for communicating genomic data to inform public health actions

When effectively interpreted and disseminated, scientific evidence can play a major role in shaping public health decisions and actions.

You’ll compare and critique strategies for communicating genomic data in an ethical and efficient way.

Harness scientific evidence to prepare for future global health threats

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era in pathogen surveillance. You’ll discuss how evidence from previous public health emergencies can be leveraged to prevent and control new crises.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of genomic surveillance approaches and technologies. With this knowledge, you’ll be equipped to respond to future global health threats.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to genomics surveillance

    • Welcome to Week 1

      Here we will introduce you to the Educators and contributors of this course and provide helpful information about the course

    • Capacity building for genomic surveillance

      Beyond sequencing machines, learn what is necessary to implement a pathogen genomics surveillance system

    • Beyond data generation

      Review how to ethically collect and share genomic data

    • End of Week 1

      Review and check what you have learnt this week

  • Week 2

    Pathogen genomics for global health

    • Welcome to Week 2

      This week you will learn about approaches to tackle pathogens of public health relevance

    • The impact of pathogen genomics

      Pathogen genomics is a powerful tool to monitor global threats. Learn how it has been applied worldwide

    • Investigating the unknown

      Our global experts bring you examples of how metagenomics revolutionised the investigation of unknown pathogens

    • Building surveillance networks

      Multidisciplinary teams are pivotal for strengthening genomics capacity. Discover how establishing collaborations improved surveillance approaches

    • End of Week 2

      Assess and share how your learning is progressing

  • Week 3

    Communicating genomics surveillance with impact

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Understand how to communicate scientific data efficiently

    • Impacting public health policies

      Learn how the communication of pathogen genomics data can influence public health actions

    • Becoming prepared

      Gain insights into how we can be prepared and ready to respond to global health threats

    • End of Week 3

      Test your knowledge and discover what is next

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...

  • Describe basic concepts of epidemiology and pathogen genomics
  • Identify key elements and tools to support a successful pathogen surveillance
  • Interpret and discuss scientific evidence to inform the public health system
  • Critique approaches used in global health surveillance
  • Describe principles and procedures for responsible public communication of pathogen genomics information

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in how pathogen genomics can enhance our understanding of infectious diseases, and inform public health policies.

Who will you learn with?

I am the Director of the National Genomics and Bioinformatics Center at ANLIS Malbran in Argentina. My research is focused on using genomics for pathogen surveillance in public health

Nchangwi is a Bioethics Researcher at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research focus areas are in the ethics of genomics and data science in health & infectious disease ethics

I am Tobias, I am holding a PhD in Biomedicine from the Pompeu Fabra university in Barcelona. My interests are oriented towards the interplay of science, society and politics.

I am a malaria researcher based at Mahidol University and Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). My passion is in basic research, but I enjoy helping groups in SE Asia with genomic surveillance.

Who developed the course?

Wellcome Connecting Science

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


COG-Train is an educational initiative developed jointly by the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium and Wellcome Connecting Science (WCS) to provide open-access learning in SARS-CoV-2 genomics.

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
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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