Microbiome in Human Health and Diseases

Microbiome in Human Health and Diseases
Microbiome in Human Health and Diseases

The present online course in Microbiome in Human Health and Diseases has a clinical focus on understanding the microbial communities as well as their diversity, and how they impact our health and disease processes. Students have the opportunity to learn about the role of microbiome in different pathologies. Additionally, they will be exposed to the concepts and methodologies involved in the study and characterization of the microbial communities.

The course is open to suitably qualified Greek and International graduates, holding at least a Degree in Medicine, Biology, Biochemistry or related fields. It is included in the Health category of our online courses and it runs via a user-friendly educational platform. Once the participant completes all the units successfully, he/she receives a certificate of training.

Professor of Biology, Genetics & Nanomedicine, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

This e-­learning programme is open to suitably qualified Greek and International graduates, holding at least a Degree in Medicine, Biology, Biochemistry or related fields.

The intestinal tract of humans is colonized by a huge number of different microorganisms that together comprise our gut microbiome, closely interact with each other and their host, and are intimately linked to nutrition and health. The course aims to expand students' knowledge of the microbial communities mainly of the gut microbiome, and their diversity that reside within us, and how they impact our health and disease processes. The course will raise student’s awareness of the importance of the gut microbiome in many clinical conditions. The program combines knowledge on microbial composition and function with dietary factors and health aspects in humans.

Lesson 1: The human microbiome

Section 1. Microbiome composition

Section 2. Function of the microbiome

Section 3. Microbiome and dysbiosis

3.1. Diet

3.2. Antibiotics

3.3. Lifestyle

3.4. Human genetics

Lesson  2 : Microbiome and immunity

Section 1: Microbiome  and immune system interaction

Section 2: Innate and adaptive immune responses

Lesson 3: Microbiome and allergies

Section 1: Allergic diseases

1.1. What is allergy?

1.2. Introduction to mechanisms of allergic diseases

1.3. Barrier function and microbiome

1.4. The gut-lung axis

Section 2: Microbiome and atopy

2.1. Skin microbiome and cutaneous allergic diseases

2.1.1. Atopic dermatitis

 2.1.2. Psoriasis

2.2. Human gut microbiome and implications in food allergy

2.2.1. Role of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis and course of food allergy

2.2.2. Interventions in food allergy Probiotics Prebiotics Symbiotics

Section 3: Microbiome and airway allergic diseases (AADs)

3.1. The physiological characteristics of the respiratory tract influencing the homeostasis between the tissue and its microbiota

3.2. Nasal microbiome and allergic rhinitis

3.3. Gut microbiome and asthma

3.4. Respiratory microbiome and asthma

3.5. Early-life microbiome composition and asthma development

Section 4: Microbiome and other lung diseases

4.1. Lung microbiome in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

4.2. Lung microbiome in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)

4.3. Lung microbiome in cystic fibrosis (CF)

Section 5: Factors affecting microbiome diversity of allergic diseases

5.1. Childbirth

5.2. Importance of early-life microbiome

5.3. Diet and microbiome metabolic products

5.4. Importance of exposure to antibiotics

Lesson 4: Microbiome and autoimmune diseases

Section 1: Multiple sclerosis

Section 2: Diabetes type 1

Section 3: Rheumatoid arthritis

Lesson  5: Microbiome and gastrointestinal diseases

Section 1: Inflammatory bowel disease

Section 2: Irritable bowel syndrome

Section 3: Other gut disorders

Section 4: Oral diseases

Lesson 6: Microbiome and neurological diseases

Section 1: Microbiome and Alzheimer disease

Section 2: Microbiome and Parkinson disease

Section 3: Microbiome and autism spectrum disorders

Section 4: Microbiome and anorexia nervosa

Lesson 7: Microbiome and metabolic diseases

Section 1: Microbiome and obesity

Section 2: Microbiome and diabetes

Section 3: Microbiome and cardiovascular disorders

Lesson 8: Microbiome and carcinogenesis mechanisms

Section 1. Host-Microbiota interplay and carcinogenesis

1.1. Microbiota and cancer

1.2. Hypotheses for carcinogenesis mechanisms

1.2.1. Alpha-bug hypothesis

1.2.2. Driver-passenger hypothesis

1.2.3. Biofilm hypothesis

1.2.4. Bystander hypothesis

Section 2: Bacterial dysbiosis and carcinogenesis

2.1. Types of dysbiosis

2.2. Mechanisms leading to dysbiosis in cancer

Section 3: Barrier failure and carcinogenesis

3.1. Barrier failure

3.2. Microbiota-related barrier failure mechanisms in carcinogenesis

Section 4: Microbiome effects on genome and epigenome

4.1. Holobiont, genome and epigenome

4.2. Effects of microbiome on genome

4.2.1. Microbiome and DNA damage

4.2.2. Microbiome and chromosomal instability

4.3. Effects of microbiome on DNA methylation

4.4. Effects of microbiome on chromatin structure

4.5. Effects of microbiome on non-coding RNAs

4.5.1. microRNAs (miRNAs) and cancer

4.5.2. Regulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) by microbiota and cancer

Section 5: Tumor promoting and suppresssing features of microbiota

5.1. Tumor promoting features of microbiota

5.2. Tumor suppressing features of microbiota

Section 6: Inflammasomes and microbiota in carcinogenesis

6.1. Inflammasomes

6.2. Inflammasomes and microbiome-related carcinogenesis

Lesson 9: Methods for microbiome analysis

Section 1: From sample to data

1.1. Sequencing methodologies

1.1.1. 16s rRNA amplicon

1.1.2. Shotgun metagenomics

1.2. Data pre-processing and quality control

1.3. Clustering and OTU picking

Section 2: Downstream statistical analysis

2.1. Taxonomic analysis

2.2. Phylogenetic analysis

2.3. Alpha and beta diversity analyses

2.4. Differential analysis and biomarker discovery

2.5. Association analysis

2.6. Network analysis

2.7. Functional analysis and inference

Lesson 10: Microbiome clinical and therapeutic implications in human malignancies

Section 1: Relation of microbiome to human malignancies

1.1. Cancer associated gut microbiota

1.2. Colorectal cancer

1.2.1. Relationships between gut microbiome and colorectal cancer

1.2.2. The role of Fusobacterium nucleatum at colorectal cancer

1.2.3. Microbiome potentials for early diagnosis of CRC

1.3. Non-colorectal digestive system cancers

1.3.1. Gastric cancer Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) Non-H. pylori microbiota

1.3.2. Esophageal cancer

1.3.4. Liver cancer

1.3.4. Pancreatic cancer

1.4. Non-digestive system cancers

1.4.1. Breast cancer

1.4.2. Lung cancer

Section 2: Microbiome modulating effects on chemotherapy and immunotherapy

2.1. Chemotherapy

2.1.1. Microbiota and chemotherapy

2.1.2. Immunomodulation

2.1.3. Metabolism

2.1.4. Pharmacomicrobiomics

2.2. Immunotherapy

2.2.1. Cancer, immunotherapy and microbiome

2.2.2. Relation of microbiome with response to immunotherapy and its toxicity

Section 3: Microbiome - Modulating treatments

3.1. Fecal microbiota-transplantation (FMT)

3.2. Prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics

3.2.1. Prebiotics

3.2.2. Probiotics

3.2.3. Synbiotics

3.3. Antibiotics

3.4. Other agents

3.4.1. COX2-inhibitors

3.4.2. Traditional Chinese medications


Assessment methods employed include examinations, multiple choice questions and continuous assessment through the course. These will differ for individual units.

Online and distance training learning at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens offers a new way of combining innovative learning and training techniques with interaction with your tutor and fellow trainees from around the world.

The e-learning course is implemented via a user-friendly educational platform adjusted to the Distance Learning Principles. Courses are structured as weekly online meetings; interaction with the course tutor and other trainees takes place in a digital learning environment. The courses are designed to fit around your schedule; you access the course whenever it is convenient for you, however within the given deadlines.


The whole world becomes your classroom as e-learning can be done on laptops, tablets and phones as a very mobile method. Learning can be done on the train, on a plane or even during your trip to Greece!

The educational platform is a portal that offers access to electronic educational material based on modern distance learning technologies. The computer based nature of training means new technology is being introduced all the time to help trainees engage and learn in a tailored way that will meet their needs. E-learners have access to the educational platform with their personal code number in order to browse all relevant training material and interact with their instructors.

Moreover, an online communication system through own personal e-mail account is available in order to make the process easier and more interactive. Trainees can contact directly their tutors or the administration office of the course and share any concerns or anxieties related to the course in order to make the most of their experience.

Every week e-learners are provided with the relevant material, delivered either in the form of video-lectures, text notes and relevant presentations or as a combination of them. The educational material of the course is uploaded gradually, per educational unit. During the course, important info for the smooth conduct of the educational process, such as timetables for the submission of the exercises is announced on the Announcement section of the platform.

For successful completion of the course the e-learner should have fulfill her/his academic obligations, meaning should have submitted all corresponding assessment exercises and have achieved at least an average of 50% grade in the corresponding tests for each module. The score scale ranges from 0 to 100%. Finally, if the total score on one or more lessons of the course does not exceed 50%, trainees can ask for reassessment.

During the course trainees will be attending a training experience designed by academics and lecturers from the National University of Athens as well as from other Universities, Research Institutes and Cultural organizations around Greece.

Interactivity, flexibility and our long tradition guarantee that learning with us offers a successful and rewarding experience. Finally, access to a large variety of material and online resources available in each unit aims to excite your curiosity and guide you in exploring further your favourite topic. Part of the online material can be downloaded providing the chance to quickly refresh your memory after the completion of the course.