Introduction to Anaerobe Physiology






Hosted by the Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative and co-hosted by the Harvard Infectious Diseases Consortium and Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center

Course Overview: Life on planet earth has been dominated by anaerobes, from the earliest forms of life to the complex microbial communities that comprise your internal gut microbiota. This nanocourse will introduce unique aspects of anaerobe physiology, including adaptions to thrive in anaerobic environments.


Course schedule:

Session 1 (Monday, January 11, 2-4 PM) - open to all registrants:

  • Anaerobe Life: Origins to Present Day
  • Anaerobe Metabolism and Energy Balance

Session 2 (Wednesday, January 13, 2-4 PM) - open to all registrants:

  • Anaerobe Adaptions to Oxidative Stress
  • Methods for Anaerobe Microbiologic, Genomic, and Metatranscriptomic analyses

The first two sessions, which are open to all who are interested, will include a mix of lecture and discussion. Participants who are not students or not Harvard-affiliates are welcome.

Session 3 (Wednesday, January 20, 2-4 PM) - open to for-credit students, capped at 8 people:

  • Participants will have a targetted exercise to evaluate an annotated anaerobe genome for oxidative stress response genes and multi-operon systems, including integration of these systems with key aspects of anaerobe metabolism and gene regulation. Participants will give a 1-2 page write-up of findings and make a 20 minute presentation to the group of findings and inferred or published data on their activation and roles within the cell and in colonized ecosystems.

Taking the course for credit means that you commit to attending and participating in all three sessions. Graduate students have priority for enrolling in session 3, but others may participate if space allows. (Note: PhD students in DMS programs or the BPH program can combine three nanocourses to receive one quarter course credit. Students in other programs should contact their program administrators to ask about receiving credit). 


Target Audience and Prerequisites: This course is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Advanced undergraduate students or others are welcome if space allows. Participants should have taken an intro course on microbiology and microbial genetics and a biochemistry or other upper-level prokaryotic physiology course. Please contact the course coordinator if you have questions about this.


Course Team:

Lynn Bry, MD, PhD (Course Director), Director, Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center, Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Hannah Gavin, PhD (Course Coordinator and primary contact),, Scientific Program Manager, Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative

Deepali Ravel, PhD (Course Coordinator), Director of Education, Harvard Graduate Program in Bacteriology and Infectious Diseases Consortium


Register here by Friday, December 18.

All participants must register in order to receive the course zoom link and materials. We will contact participants interested in taking the course for credit to confirm your place in the course or on the waitlist.