12 Biotech-Themed Online Courses to Try at Home During Lockdown

biotech online course coursera edx

With national lockdowns forcing millions to stay home in the Covid-19 era, this could be a big opportunity to take an online course about the biotech industry and how to run a business in this exciting field. 

Over the past decade, universities have started offering courses on online platforms such as Coursera and FutureLearn that are open to students living all around the world. The Covid-19 era has reinforced this trend, with more and more people learning online from home. 

There’s a huge number of English-language courses on offer across a wide range of topics. If you want to spend your unexpected free time developing your career skills in clinical statistics, industrial biotechnology, genomics, or starting your own business, there’s something out there for you. So sit up, get your notepads out, and check out these online courses to top up your knowledge about the biotech world.

biotech online course coursera edx

Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics

  • Free
  • Enrollment every month
  • Hosted by Coursera and run by University of Cape Town, South Africa

Clinical trials and regulatory processes have been thrown into the spotlight as companies rush Covid-19 treatments and diagnostics to the market. This course is a great primer to understanding the statistics underlying high-profile clinical studies, and teaches the basic principles without dunking you into complex mathematics. 

The course lasts for six weeks with three hours of study per week. It is run by Juan Klopper, Senior Lecturer in Surgery at the University of Cape Town who runs many more courses for anyone interested in learning statistics and coding.

Drug Discovery

  • Free
  • Enrollment every month
  • Hosted by Coursera and run by the University of California, San Diego, US

Have you ever wondered about the steps you need to discover a new drug? Look no further, as this course teaches you the necessary steps in the process such as compound screening and lead candidate selection. Once you finish that course, check out the sequel courses, Drug Development, and Drug Commercialization, which guide you all the way through to marketing a drug.

Each course lasts for three to five weeks, with around three hours of study per week. The materials are aimed at beginners and come from lectures and material from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences courses. 

biotech online course coursera edx genomics

Causes of Human Disease: Exploring Cancer and Genetic Disease 

The role of genetics in disease is incredibly complex. Guiding you through the structure and biochemistry of DNA, this course explains how mutations in the genetic code result in many of the diseases we see today. 

The course lasts for two weeks, with four hours of study per week. It is great for enthusiastic beginners with no prior scientific knowledge.

The Science and Business of Biotechnology

  • Free
  • Available now until February 2021
  • Hosted by EdX and run by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US

Running a biotech company requires knowledge of both business and science in parallel, which can be a steep learning curve. This course is packed full of detail about the science and finance of running a biotech company, and is totally free to enroll.

The course lasts for 16 weeks, with around ten hours of study per week. As it is prepared by a US team, be aware that the funding advice may have a US slant.

Industrial Biotechnology 

  • Free
  • Free until Dec 24, 2020, then €42
  • Hosted by EdX and run by the University of Delft, the Netherlands.

The field of industrial biotechnology revolves around fermentation technology, which involves using microbes to produce proteins and other valuable molecules. While the idea of fermentation may sound simple, it’s an engineering puzzle involving broth balances and other complexities. This course introduces the core principles of industrial biotechnology, including the fermentation process, and implementing a bio-based economy.

The course lasts for seven weeks with up to eight hours of study per week, and is open to beginners to biotechnology.

 coursera edx industrial biotech

Engineering Life: Synbio, Bioethics & Public Policy

  • Free
  • Enrollment available throughout the year
  • Hosted by Coursera and run by the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore, US

Synthetic biology has the potential to make great improvements in society, for example by producing biofuels and drugs in a sustainable way. That said, the technology also raises big ethical questions, such as whether we should have designer babies, GMOs, and more. This online course lays out the legal and ethical implications of synthetic biology in an engaging manner for newcomers to the field.

This course is aimed at beginners and lasts for around six weeks with two hours of study per week.

Biobased Products for a Sustainable (Bio)economy

  • Free
  • The course ended last week, but audit access is available until Jan 14, 2021
  • Hosted by EdX and run by the University of Delft, the Netherlands, and RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Bio-based products such as biofuels and bioplastics offer a way to overcome humanity’s addiction to burning fossil fuels and generating waste. This course takes you through the different types of bio-based technologies and the tricky path to getting them into the market.

This beginners’ course lasts for seven weeks, with six hours of study per week.

Patenting in Biotechnology

  • Free
  • Enrollment every month
  • Hosted by Coursera and run by the Technical University of Denmark and Copenhagen Business School

Intellectual property is a must for anyone starting a business. This course gives a handy introduction to the world of biotechnology patents, including knowing when your technology is patentable, and how to read and understand a patent.

This course lasts for seven weeks with up to four hours of study per week. It’s especially handy for academics without a business background who are thinking of commercializing their inventions.

Creating and Developing a Tech Startup

  • Free
  • Enrollment every month
  • Hosted by Coursera and run by the École Polytechnique and HEC Paris, France 

This online course is aimed at those forming companies specializing in tech that could support drug development and healthcare, such as AI and lab automation. This course teaches you the necessary steps of building a deep tech startup, including technology transfer and obtaining funding.

This course lasts for six weeks, with three hours of study per week, and is open to newcomers to business.

biotech coursera edx business

Trading Biotech Stocks – Understanding the Healthcare Sector

  • Costs €55
  • Enrollment available at any time
  • Hosted by Udemy and run by the education company R-Tutorials

How can you tell how well a biotech company is doing in the public markets? When is the right time to invest? This course is here to answer your questions, giving you skills such as how to analyze a healthcare company’s pipeline and trade biotech stocks.

This online course includes 90 minutes of videos, plus downloadable materials including an article. The course is fairly advanced, aimed at people who are already traders on public markets. You’d better already know your IPOs from your private placements before you take part.

How to Validate Your Startup Idea

  • Free
  • Enrollment every month
  • Hosted by Coursera and run by the University of New South Wales, Australia

Business ideas never start out fully formed. The process of building a startup involves tinkering with your ideas, and sometimes completely overhauling them. This general business course teaches you some basic business skills that are applicable to biotech companies such as how to get the feedback you need, and how to pitch your idea.

This course lasts for six weeks, with two hours of study per week, and is aimed at budding entrepreneurs.

European Business Law: Competing in Europe

Keeping up with both local and international law is a necessary part of running a business. The biotech industry is no exception, where patents are essential to protect potentially groundbreaking ideas from competitors. This general business online course equips you with the legal savvy that you need to survive as a life sciences company in Europe, such as defending your brand and inventions using trademarks and patents.

This course lasts for six weeks, with two hours of study per week. There are other two related courses, Understanding the Fundamentals and Doing Business in Europe, that are also useful for anyone wanting to gain some business acumen in the European market.

Do you have any suggestions for courses we may have missed off the list? Let us know at comments@www.labiotech.eu

This is an edited and updated version of an article published by Jonathan Smith on the 19th August 2019.

Images via Elena Resko and Shutterstock

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