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EIT Food

The Human Microbiome

EIT Food and Università di Torino via FutureLearn


Learn how a healthy microbiome can combat disease

Please note this course runs without facilitation. A Spanish version of the course can be found here.

The microbiome – the microbes that live within the human body – can have a huge impact on human health. As such, it’s vital to understand the complexity of the microbiome, and how it can impact on disease and wellbeing.

On this course, you’ll go on a fascinating journey into the human body – down to the gut – where the ecology and roles of the human microbiome will be narrated.

You’ll explore how your microbiome changes throughout your life, reflect on the role of food in its modulation, and explain the functions the microbiome has in the gastrointestinal tract in daily life.

This course is for anyone interested in subjects related to the human microbiome, how food can influence it, and how this resultantly impacts on human health.

The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.


  • The Journey of Life
    • Welcome to the course
    • The composition of human microbiota
    • The functions of the gut microbiota
    • Physiological changes during the life-span
    • How to determine our gut microbiota
    • Reflect on the week
  • The Journey of Food
    • The link between food and microbiome
    • Foods as vectors of microorganisms (fermented foods)
    • Food meets your gut microbiota
    • Influence of different bioactive food components on gut microbiome
    • Probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics
    • Reflect on the week
  • The Journey of Healthy to Unhealthy
    • The link between health and microbiome
    • Microbiota and human host partnership: when things go wrong (dysbiosis, leaky gut, etc.)
    • Gut microbiota and immune health (infections, allergy, inflammatory bowel disease)
    • Gut microbiota and metabolic health: gut-liver-adipose tissue axes
    • Gut microbiota and mental health: gut-brain axis
    • Innovative approaches to modify the gut microbiota
    • Final assessment and 'take home message'

Taught by

Luca Cocolin


4.2 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 161 ratings

Start your review of The Human Microbiome

  • A lovely class! It expanded my knowledge about gut microbiota and how it relates to various parts of the mind-body system. So much to learn in this class in a very interesting way --- research, anatomy, and the diversity of microorganisms in our body!

    This is a class that everyone should take. There is a lot to learn and apply to our eating habits for general health. We take care of ourselves by taking care of our microbiota.

    One of the best MOOC classes on this topic. My health is on its way to a great upgrade because of what I learned in this class!
  • Anonymous
    I found this course fascinating and informative. Thank you. Many of the presenters were excellent. Sadly, the quality of the course was variable and inconsistent and I found some of the sections frustrating and poorly edited etc. There were times...
  • Anonymous
    Great course. I found the video's off putting, noisy and too small to read, however, as I mentioned before, the transcripts were excellent. Thanks to all the educators for putting together a clear, understandable and enjoyable learning experience. Also to the learners for their added information. FL does not seem to have any mentors who will reply to questions - in the past, we had mentors who would answer learners questions, which was very helpful. otherwise - a really great course. Thanks
  • Anonymous
    I learned much from this course. However, I see it as only introductory and should welcome a second, more in depth course that is perhaps more critical of the techniques used and interpretations made around the science of the human microbiome. It certainly goes against the grain of my undergraduate medical education in the 1970s.
  • Anonymous
    A thought-provoking and interesting course which generated as many questions as it answered. This is a relatively new area of research but clearly an important one, with a promising future. It will make me think very hard about my relationship with food.
  • Anonymous
    I wanted to understand the complexity of our microbiome. The current research was included that allowed me to link my desire for natural ways of enhancing Wellness, rather than be directed along a medical model of intervention in illness.

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