Microbiome hype and online courses

Dear regular followers of my blog1,
I know that it must appear as if I am currently obsessed with my microbial cohabitants. Soon, I will return to more candy and chocolate stuff. Promised!
But for now: back to my microbes….

The microbiome topic is increasingly hyped in the media. The microbiome topic is increasingly hyped in the media. ‘Redefining human’ is the catchy title for a planed film project. The picture is based on a screenshot from their website (website of ‘redefine human’)


Many things gain or loose attention following trends. Music or clothing, but also food are very obvious examples. Maybe a little less noticed by the public is that science also follows trends. New or re-invented fields expand and attract students and funds while other fields slowly gather dust. Currently, one of the quickly rising stars in the field of life sciences is certainly the study of the human or animal microbiome (or microbiota), which is nothing else than the microbes that colonize our body. One of the clearest signs of getting close to a hype (apart from having me blogging about it2 ) is the quickly growing media coverage including increasingly bold statements3.
Well, if done well media-coverage is certainly not a bad thing to happen for such a topic. Another good sign that this topic is attracting growing interest is that there is now also an open online course on the microbiome at coursera. This course will start on October 6 and at least its presented outline looks like it could be entertaining and interesting to people that would like to learn more about the field without the need to dig through scientific literature yourself.
So, if you want to learn a bit more about how much of it is microbes and how much is ‘human’ than this course might be worth checking out4

Online course by University of Colorado, Boulder and Coursera on the microbiome Online course by University of Colorado, Boulder and Coursera on the microbiome.

Footnotes
  1. In case there are some… []
  2. Such as here and here []
  3. Although I admit that ‘redefining human’ is not that bad… but still this project looks to sensational to me. Well, maybe I was simply exposed to too much science… []
  4. I might have a look at the course itself and I’ll let you know if is a complete waste of time. []

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