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The first MOOC on Chemical Biology is launched on the Coursera platform

Today, the University of Geneva launches one of the world’s first MOOC on Chemical Biology, displayed on the Coursera platform. Created in close relationship between the UNIGE MOOC cell and a passionate team from the NCCR Chemical Biology, the course targets a large spectrum of students in science, scientists and science educators.



The MOOC introduces concepts and techniques in chemical biology. The three main themes of chemical biology – chemistry, biology, and biophysics – are covered and blended together. The online course links them together in a logical manner to lead the student to modern chemical biology concepts in terms of how to think at the interface, apply concepts from different areas to problems that are not solvable by traditional means and understand better biological phenomena in a quantitative way.


This MOOC is unique in terms of the multidimensionality and the breadth that we cover. In the course, you get flies, you get fish, cells, yeast, in vitro stuff, multiple different types of microscopy, and multiple different types of fluorescences!
(Dr. Marcus Long, MOOC coordinator)


This course has been created for students in science, scientists and science educators. A minimum background in chemistry is necessary although chemistry applied in chemical biology is not as complicated as people think. Scientists who have worked in a particular field for a long time, but want to diversify their portfolio, their way of thinking or get into a new field, can also benefit from this MOOC. This is a good course to learn how to communicate with people who speak a different scientific language and bridge those differences.


We want to help you break down the barriers between disciplines and have some confidence to use and apply your knowledge to a different area.
(Dr. Marcus Long, MOOC coordinator)


The working team have made a particular effort to create an engaging course: participants design their own experiments, their own proteins or do very tactile things, unlikely what can be done in a traditional course. Overall, the MOOC provides a diverse and divergent experience, which gives the student an exciting and stimulating background. The student will come out of the MOOC with the feeling to have achieved something. His/Her ability to communicate will be developed, which is an important aspect in today’s research as more and more scientists want to get involved in cross-disciplinary and applied science.


If people are saying, I’m applying this technique because I learned it in the correct way in this MOOC, I think we’ve done a very good job!
(Dr. Marcus Long, MOOC coordinator)


The creation of this new MOOC on Chemical Biology is the result of a joint effort of several key players.

The project was initiated by Prof. Robbie Loewith and carried out at the University of Geneva by Dr Marcus Long, Research Associate, assisted by Nolwenn Chavan, Science Communication Officer. PIs from the NCCR Chemical Biology, postdocs and junior researchers from the network guaranteed the scientific content, while other services, in particular the people who filmed and edited the videos, ensured the quality of the result. Funds from the University of Geneva and the NCCR Chemical Biology were brought together to fund this project.


➡ Join the MOOC on Chemical Biology on the Coursera platform