Microbiome & Health
Microbiome & Health
Microbiome & Health

Microbiome & Health

Graz University of Technology

The Berg Group


Duration 6 units
Unit 2 hours/unit
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0
Participants 854
Availability Unlimited
Start Date 4 October 2021
Costs € 0.00

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General Course Information

The microbiome is defined as a characteristic microbial community occupying a reasonable well-defined habitat which has distinct abiotic properties. Microbiome research represents a novel chapter within microbiology. Due to its potential and benefits for human and environmental health, it has recently become a popular topic in science and also among the general public. Despite permanent progression in Next Generation Sequencing methods and bioinformatics analyses that allowed us to get ever-expending knowledge on the mechanisms behind, there is still no microbiome-related textbook available. This MOOC provides an introductory knowledge platform for multiple disciplines i.e. medicine, agriculture, food science, biotechnology/-economy, and informatics. The Microbiome & Health MOOC will comprise interactive lectures and presentations, experiments and even a game!

For all the latest information on highlights and recent publications in the field of microbiome research, follow us on Twitter @GBerg_ubt 


Course Content

The Microbiome & Health MOOC will cover introductory and latest scientific information. The microbiome´s influence on plant, human and planetary health will be discussed and novel techniques and methods for data analysis will be presented. The MOOC is structured in the following chapters:

  • Microbiome definition
  • Importance of microbiome research
  • General rules and concepts of the microbiome
  • A combination of methods is always necessary
  • Case study: metabarcoding
  • Case study: data analysis
  • The plant microbiome in facts
  • The apple example
  • Managing the plant microbiome
  • The human microbiome in facts
  • Understanding your own microbiome - early life
  • Understanding your own microbiome - adult life
  • The importance of multi-resistant pathogens
  • The natural resistome
  • The exposome
  • Microbiome and planetary health
  • Microbiome and SDGs 

Course Goals

After finishing all chapters, you will have acquired advanced knowledge about the microbiome and related topics in the field of plant and human research. You will be aware of state-of-the-art methodologies including bioinformatic data processing. The importance and potential of the microbiome to combat current global issues, such as biodiversity loss, the spread of multi-resistant pathogens and climate change, will be conveyed, and the need for preservation strategies to protect microbial diversity and functions should be appreciated. 

Previous Knowledge

Basic biological knowledge, but mainly interest in this novel research field and the opportunity to gain insight into current findings! 

Course Procedure

Each of the six chapters consists of a written introductory part, two to three videos or other interactive elements and a (multiple choice) quiz. For successful completion of the Microbiome & Health MOOC, you need to answer at least 75% of the questions in each of the six quizzes correctly. Once you have achieved that, you are  rewarded with a certificate and a badge! 

There is also the possibility to use the forum for discussions or to ask questions if something was not clear or needs more explanation. The forum will be served for the running time from October 4th until November 22nd 2021. Afterwards, we would like to continue serving the forum, but longer response times must be expected. 


For actively participating in the course you will receive an automatic conformation of participation (certificate) which includes your username, the course duration as well as the hours required to complete the course. We want to point out that this certificate merely confirms that the user answered at least 75% of the self-assessment questions correctly. 


This work is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0.

Information for students

The successful completion of this MOOC is an essential prerequisite for the examination of four different lectures given by Institute of Environmental Biotechnology. Thus, you must reach at least 75% correctness in each of the six quizzes and pass the lecture examination to gain ECTS-points for the following TU Graz/NAWI  lectures:

Microbiome in Health and Environment (MOL.971UF)Quality Assurance in Pharmaceutical, Food and Biotechnological Processing (CHE.884UF/MOL.989UF)Biodiversity and Applied Microbiology (MOL.731UF)Biodiversität pflanzenassoziierter Mikroorganismen (PLA221UF)
Plant Interactions with Microorganisms (PLA222UB). 

Course Instructor

The Berg Group
The Berg Group

Gabriele Berg is the head of the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology. Together with her group she focuses on microbiome research and the translation of results into novel biotechnological concepts beneficial for the environment. Her vision is to combine microbiome research and management to prevent further biodiversity loss and global health issues accompanied therewith. Since 2018, she has been one of the most influential researchers world-wide (top 1 %, Clarivate Analytics). 

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Graz University of Technology

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