Human Breathomics
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-BM086
Credits (ECTS)3
Category04 (Expert)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; BioWetenschappen;
dr. S.M. Cristescu
Other course modules lecturer
dr. S.M. Cristescu
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. S.M. Cristescu
Other course modules lecturer
dr. S.M. Cristescu
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
KW2  (06/11/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
The course content consists of 3 main parts: Introduction to Breathomics, Practical approaches and Design of an experimental study.
 1. Introduction to breathomics
Learning objectives:
After successful completion of this part students are expected to be able to:
  • understand  the concept of breathomics;
  • discuss the role of volatile metabolites in the broader context of –omics;
  • examine how breathomics may contribute to early diagnostics and treatment monitoring;
  • understand the origin of the volatiles in breath;
  • describe the existing breath tests;
  • discuss the applications of volatile biomarkers in clinical settings;
  • choose a (clinical) case study for which they will start designing an experimental concept
2. Practical approaches
 Learning objectives:
After successful completion of this part students are expected to be able to:
  • understand the principles and applications of advanced techniques for sampling and detection of volatile biomarkers;
  • apply the knowledge to select appropriate methods for specific cases of volatile metabolites analysis in the laboratory or clinical settings;
  • implement the practical approaches to their specific case study
3. Design of an experimental study based on breath research for a clinical application
Learning objective:
After successful completion of this part students are expected to be able to:
  • design an experimental breath research study for clinical applications
  • critically read scientific literature and evaluate the claims based on the knowledge you have acquired from the course
  • process, analyze and interpret the data in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, selectivity, Receiver Operating Characteristic curve.
In this course, you will be introduced to breath metabolomics (also known as breathomics), that studies volatile biomarkers in exhaled breath and/or produced by microorganisms. The concept behind breathomics is that the metabolites profile in breath will be changed when switching from a healthy to a pathological state. We can detect this change while taking place locally in the lungs and in other vital organs, via systemic blood circulation. The ability to collect and analyse this type of sample is highly attractive, because it allows direct and non-invasive measurement of ongoing metabolic processes in the human body. Clinicians can use this information for diagnosis and treatment monitoring.
You will learn about the origin of various volatile biomarkers and how they mirror the physiological state of an individual. Pathogen identification is also possible via specific volatile profiles.
We will discuss the relevance of breath biomarkers in biomedical research and illustrate how volatile metabolites are currently used in clinical studies across various diseases and related conditions (e.g. respiratory diseases, oxidative stress, infections, etc.). Furthermore, practical approaches on sampling methods and available techniques for breath analysis and in vitro culture will be discussed. This will provide comprehensive resources that will allow you to learn to design and evaluate a breath test for clinical application. This course will have clinical professionals as guest lecturers. 


Presumed foreknowledge
A Science bachelor or equivalent, but no further specific prior knowledge is required
Test information
  • Group presentation and report, minimum grade 5.0, counts for 50%
  • Exam, minimum grade 5.0, counts for 50%

Recommended materials
" Breath Biopsy®: The Complete Guide" is an ebook/guide free to download that contains over 100-pages of content exploring the scientific basis for how breath analysis can be applied to identify biomarkers for a wide range of diseases: https://www.owlstonemedical.com/breath-biopsy-complete-guide/.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight1
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock KW2, Block KW3

Presentation and Report
Test weight1
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock KW2