Science Education

Formerly known as European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences

Our inspiring educational experiences share the scientific discoveries of EMBL with young learners aged 10-19 years and teachers in Europe and beyond. We belong to EMBL’s Science Education and Public Engagement office.

Virtual LearningLAB  

Introducing your microbiome, autumn 2021

Please note: This course is a re-run of the “Introducing Your Microbiome” LearningLAB that ran in autumn 2020. If you already attended the 2020 course, you are welcome to apply but please be aware that this course contains large parts of last year’s content.


Advances in research are constantly expanding our understanding of the microbes that inhabit our bodies. EMBL’s European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences in collaboration with the Public Engagement team at EMBL-EBI invites secondary school science teachers to explore this exciting area of biology in a virtual training course this autumn entitled ‘Introducing your microbiome’.

This professional development course provides insights into the latest advances in basic research of the human microbiome and examples of how aspects of microbiome research can be transferred to the classroom.

This two-week course is free of charge and consists of a mix of individual learning and interactive live sessions. The workload across the course is estimated to be 9 hours, covering 4-5 hours each week.

Week 1 will provide an overview of current human microbiome research and focus on its implication in human health and disease.

Week 2 will provide participants with the opportunity to explore an exclusive hands-on, computer-based, bioinformatics learning resource which can be directly applied in the classroom to teach the bioinformatic aspect of microbiome research.

By the end of the course, participants will have

  • gained insights into current developments of human microbiome research
  • discovered research topics on the microbiome in health and disease
  • become familiar with an exclusive hands-on, computer-based, bioinformatics resource on the microbiome which can be directly applied in the classroom
  • become familiar with free teaching resources on the human microbiome

Moreover, the course gives participants the opportunity to:

  • connect to active researchers in the field
  • expand their sources of materials for teaching the microbiome in secondary school
  • expand their network of international teachers and science educators


The training course is organised by the European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences of EMBL in collaboration with the Public Engagement team at EMBL-EBI and in partnership with Merck.

European Learning Laboratory of EMBL (EMBL-ELLS)
The European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (EMBL-ELLS) is EMBL‘s education facility, which aims to bridge the gap between research and schools. Multifaceted training activities and programmes allow European teachers and secondary school students to experience modern life sciences. They gain access to cutting-edge scientific research and get to know the people inside the laboratories. Besides continued professional development courses for teachers and the development of teaching resources, our activities include the EMBL School Ambassador Programme, projects with local schools as well as the school group visits‘ programme at EMBL. Visit our website for further information about our activities.

Public engagement at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) is the world’s leading source of biological and biomolecular data. Our core mission is to enable life science research and its translation to medicine, agriculture, industry and society by providing biological data, tools and knowledge. We are part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), an open science intergovernmental organisation that has grown to become Europe’s centre of excellence in life science research, services and training. EMBL-EBI is situated on the Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire. We aim to share EMBL-EBI’s science and technology in context through a mutually beneficial process of engagement with the general public, educators and students. Learn more about public engagement activities at EBI.

The Life Science business of Merck which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 22,000 employees and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Our purpose is to spark curiosity in the next generation to solve the toughest problems in life science by collaborating with the global scientific community – and through that, we aim to accelerate access to better health for people everywhere.

Learning formats & assignment

The course will take place online and will be taught through e-lectures, live Q&A sessions, reading material and online exercises.

The course is mainly designed to be self-paced. However, the course features several live sessions (see course schedule) where participants meet researchers, course organisers and other participants. Recordings of the live sessions will be made available to participants after the session for the duration of the course.

The workload for completing the compulsory learning content is between 4-5 hours per week. In addition to the compulsory content, the course also offers  resources and materials that are optional. To be eligible for a certificate of attendance, participants must have submitted the required compulsory assignments by Sunday of the week following the course (12 December 2021).

Requirements & certificate

Please note that we recommend a minimum English language level of B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in order to successfully complete the course. Please consult this self-assessment chart if you are unsure about your language skills.

The course will take place on a Moodle-based e-learning platform and the Zoom meeting tool. To access the course, participants will need to have access to a computer with an internet connection. To take part in the interactive live sessions on Zoom, participants should have an audio connection as well as a camera.

Participants receive a certificate of attendance upon completion of the course. To be eligible for the certificate, participants must have submitted the required compulsory assignments by Sunday of the week following the course (12 December 2021).


Terms and conditions
Please make yourself familiar with the terms and conditions for participating in our courses and on data protection. Your agreement towards these terms and conditions is required before you can continue with applying for the course.

As we anticipate the ELLS virtual LearningLAB to be very popular, we ask participants to only apply if they are certain that they can attend the full duration of the course. In case you find yourself unable to attend after having received our confirmation email, please notify us as soon as possible by email but no later than one week before the start of the course.

Please note that cancellations and non-attendance might jeopardise the viability of the course for other participants.

Please ensure that you have read all course information on this page before applying and are confident that you can attend if your application is successful.

You will need to submit a short motivational statement (max. 300 words) in the application form. To apply, please fill in the application form.

Course schedule

The preliminary course schedule may be downloaded here: 

The schedule contains information about the tentative timings of the course, course content, learning formats and estimated workload.

Date: 22 November - 5 December 2021

Application deadline: 8 Nov 2021

Topic area:  Structural & Computational biology

Format: Virtual

Location: Online

Contact: ELLS Team

Organiser: ELLS & EMBL-EBI PE