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Microbiome research projects are often interdisciplinary, involving fields such as microbiology, genetics, ecology, evolution, bioinformatics, and statistics. These research projects can be an excellent fit for undergraduate courses ranging from introductory biology labs to upper-level capstone courses. Microbiome research projects can attract the interest of students majoring in health and medical sciences, environmental sciences, and agriculture, and there are meaningful ties to real-world issues relating to human health, climate change, and environmental sustainability and resilience in pristine, fragile ecosystems to bustling urban centers. In this review, we will discuss the potential of microbiome research integrated into classes using a number of different modalities. Our experience scaling-up and implementing microbiome projects at a range of institutions across the US has provided us with insight and strategies for what works well and how to diminish common hurdles that are encountered when implementing undergraduate microbiome research projects. We will discuss how course-based microbiome research can be leveraged to help faculty make advances in their own research and professional development and the resources that are available to support faculty interested in integrating microbiome research into their courses.


This work was originally published in Frontiers in Microbiology, available at doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.593472

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms



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