SEA-PHAGES Logo

The official website of the HHMI Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science program.

The SEA-PHAGES Program

SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) is a two-semester, discovery-based undergraduate research course that begins with simple digging in the soil to find new viruses, but progresses through a variety of microbiology techniques and eventually to complex genome annotation and bioinformatic analyses.

The program aims to increase undergraduate interest and retention in the biological sciences through immediate immersion in authentic, valuable, yet accessible research. By finding and naming their own bacteriophages, students develop a sense of project ownership and have a ready-made personal research project at a fraction of the cost of traditional apprentice-based research programs. Some of the positive effects of the SEA-PHAGES program have been reported here.

SEA-PHAGES is jointly administered by Graham Hatfull's group at the University of Pittsburgh and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education division.

SEA-PHAGES IN THE NEWS

  • Thumbnail for Young Māori scientist discovers virus

    Young Māori scientist discovers virus

    Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

    Māori Television | April 22, 2018

    Young, Māori scientist Anezka Hoskins has discovered a new virus and is hopeful that it will spark curiosity amongst Māori to push boundaries of knowledge.read more

    Related institution: Massey University

  • Thumbnail for Del Mar student takes home award for research on bacteriophages

    Del Mar student takes home award for research on bacteriophages

    Fares Sabawi

    Corpus Christi Caller Times | March 29, 2016

    Before John Ramirez, 29, decided to go back to school, he worked at Northwest Hospital in Calallen. There, he saw how tuberculosis affected people. "It's almost intensified when you see it," Ramirez said....read more

    Related institution: Del Mar College

  • Thumbnail for Queens University student discovers a virus strain

    Queens University student discovers a virus strain

    Reid Creager

    The Charlotte Observer | April 16, 2016

    Sydney Dishman’s new pet isn’t cute and certainly isn’t something you’d want to cuddle with. But she feels good just thinking about it. Her “pet” is named Rex16, after the Queens University of Charlotte mascot and her year of graduation. Rex16 is a bacteriophage species she discovered while completing her honors research thesis, investigating bacteriophages in local soil samples....read more

    Related institution: Queens University of Charlotte

  • Thumbnail for First-years discover viruses, analyze DNA

    First-years discover viruses, analyze DNA

    Kate Nussenbaum

    The Brown Daily Herald | Feb. 10, 2012

    Sixteen first-years watched with excitement as their screens loaded the sequence of 59,625 nucleic acids that comprise the DNA of “Job42,” the virus a student in their class had discovered, isolated and named during the fall semester. “Each of them codes for something,” said Jordan Rego...read more

    Related institution: Brown University

  • Thumbnail for One student gets to name lab discovery

    One student gets to name lab discovery

    Oscar Santiago Torres

    Eagle News | Aug. 27, 2014

    An agar plate lies still. Omnicron has destroyed the layer of bacteria inside the plate, leaving plaques or dark holes 2 mm in diameter. Omnicron is a virus replicating itself inside the plate. The discovery of this virus belongs to Tasha Baer, a Florida Gulf Coast University student from the 2013-14 Virus Hunters course....read more

    Related institution: Florida Gulf Coast University

  • ‘Virus Hunters’ get hands dirty in UConn class

    Brett Donovan

    the Chronicle | Nov. 30, 2018

    University of Connecticut students involved in a unique learning experience are getting their hands dirty — literally.read more

    Related institution: University of Connecticut

  • Thumbnail for Biology 2.0

    Biology 2.0

    Andrea Gaul

    Baylor Arts & Sciences Magazine | May 9, 2017

    Baylor University has implemented a new kind of introductory biology lab that has proven successful in keeping students excited and engaged through hands-on research.read more

    Related institution: Baylor University

  • Thumbnail for This scientific paper has 2,863 authors. How?

    This scientific paper has 2,863 authors. How?

    Danielle Wiener-Bronner

    Fusion | May 12, 2015

    The scientific journal eLife published a paper on viruses last month—specifically, the genetics of bacteriophages: viruses that infect, and replicate within, bacteria. By sequencing the genomes of individual bacteriophages, or phages, the authors were able to glean information about the genetic makeup of the viruses more broadly.... read more

  • Thumbnail for Durham Tech students present research at national symposium

    Durham Tech students present research at national symposium

    Charlton Budd

    Chapelboro.com | June 27, 2016

    Two Durham Tech students were given the chance to present their research at a national symposium earlier this month. Qina Mo and Peter Said presented their research describing the isolation and characterization of two viruses that infect bacteria at the 8th annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium...read more

    Related institution: Durham Technical Community College

  • Thumbnail for Students "Hunt" - and Discover - Bacteria-killing viruses

    Students "Hunt" - and Discover - Bacteria-killing viruses

    CSU CONNects | Nov. 15, 2016

    “The goal of the course, part of a national pedagogical program, is to get students doing research early, so they can see what it’s like and learn the scientific process,” explains Dr. Edgington, Associate Professor of Biology.read more

    Related institution: Southern Connecticut State University

  • Thumbnail for WKU 2012 Goldwater Scholarship Recipient Charles Coomer

    WKU 2012 Goldwater Scholarship Recipient Charles Coomer

    innovateKY/YouTube | April 24, 2012

    Charles Coomer, a junior in the Honors College at WKU and the son of Evell and Don Coomer, has been involved in microbiological research for two years. In the lab of Dr. Rodney King, associate professor of biology, Coomer is characterizing viruses that infect bacterial cells...read more

    Related institution: Western Kentucky University

  • Thumbnail for Freshmen participate in huge research study on tiny viruses

    Freshmen participate in huge research study on tiny viruses

    CU Boulder Today | May 1, 2015

    A new study appearing this week in the scientific journal eLIFE about the rapid evolution of small viruses that infect bacteria includes 59 University of Colorado Boulder co-authors, all of whom conducted research for the paper as freshmen....read more

    Related institution: University of Colorado at Boulder

  • Thumbnail for Freshman find

    Freshman find

    Kyrie O'Connor

    Houston Chronicle | Oct. 15, 2016

    Brian Blake Maxfeldt likes science just fine, but he didn't go to college expecting to make a discovery his first year. Nevertheless, Maxfeldt, who goes by Blake and graduated from Morton Ranch High School in Katy, discovered a virus that nobody had ever seen before.read more

    Related institution: LeTourneau University

  • Thumbnail for A summer of sequencing

    A summer of sequencing

    Joseph McClain

    Ideation | Sept. 6, 2013

    It was the summer that the freshmen ruled the sequencer. Technically, the six William & Mary students who logged heavy lab time with a state-of-the-art Ion Torrent gene sequencer had finished their freshman year and therefore did their summer work as rising sophomores....read more

    Related institution: College of William & Mary

  • Thumbnail for Students isolate potentially novel soil-dwelling viruses

    Students isolate potentially novel soil-dwelling viruses

    WPI News

    Phys.org | June 8, 2016

    After sifting through soil samples collected from across Massachusetts, then drilling down to analyze the DNA of viruses they found, a team of undergraduates at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) hit pay dirt—three potentially novel viruses.... read more

    Related institution: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Abstract Submission and Posters for the 2019 SEA-PHAGES Symposium

The 2019 SEA Symposium is approaching, and we want you to submit abstracts and prepare posters, because you've done amazing things and we want to know about it.

Students at the Symposium are expected to submit only one scientific abstract from the student's institution about actinobacteriophage work they accomplished this year. Abstracts will be presented as posters at the Symposium. Only one poster space will be set aside for each participating school's students. Each school may also submit up to one additional faculty abstract to be presented by the attending faculty. Some of the faculty abstracts will be selected for presentation at the poster session. Cohort 12 schools will not submit any abstracts for the 2019 SEA Symposium.

Abstract titles can be up to 200 characters long. Abstract body text can be up to 3,000 characters long. A photo (headshot) for each presenter is needed to submit an abstract.

Abstracts selected for talks will also present a poster. Posters can't be bigger than 4’ x 4’. Poster headings should include a title, names of authors, and the name of your institution. SEA-PHAGES and HHMI have LOGOS for your poster.

Faculty at schools that are participating in the Symposium should work together to ensure that one student abstract and no more than one faculty abstract are submitted from your institution. Users with faculty accounts on seaphages.org can submit abstracts from the faculty timeline page or the "My Institution" link on the seaphages.org homepage.

Abstracts are due on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

Keep in touch with the most up-to-date information on the upcoming Symposium. Email info@seaphages.org if you have any questions.

GenBank Submission Numbers

Below is a live spreadsheet showing the numbers assigned by GenBank to phage annotations that have been submitted and are soon to be (or have been) released.

CLICK HERE TO OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW

 

A Regional Symposium Near You

We are delighted that more and more SEA schools are coming together to host regional SEA symposia. These meetings offer many benefits, including more opportunities for students and faculty to network, collaborate, and present their research. In 2017-2018, at least one fifth of SEA schools participated in a regional symposium.

Attending a Regional Symposium
This academic year, there are already 6 regional symposia that are being planned. These meetings will be posted at https://seaphages.org/meetings/. If you are interested in attending one of these meetings with your students, please contact the hosting faculty members. Space can be a limiting factor for some venues.

Hosting a Regional Symposium
If you would like to host a regional symposium in the 2018-2019 academic year, HHMI is able to provide up to $1,000 of support for the meeting. We recommend that you begin by contacting SEA faculty from institutions close to you to begin planning a meeting. Remember, especially for our colleagues out West, a regional meeting can be as small as 2 SEA institutions coming together. A map of all SEA schools is available here, and a list of SEA institutions is available at our program website: https://seaphages.org/institutions/. As you begin planning, please contact us (Vic Sivanathan & Billy Biederman) at sea@hhmi.org for additional information about the financial support. When possible, the SEA Team would be delighted to join your meeting. A list of recommendations for hosting a regional symposia is below, compiled from the experiences of SEA faculty.

Below is a list of considerations and recommendations as you plan for your regional symposium.

  • Participants: Identify SEA faculty from nearby SEA institutions that may be interested in hosting and/or participating in a regional symposium. A list of SEA institutions, sortable by location, is available at www.seaphages.org/institutions. The hosting institution should determine the number of participants that can be accommodated for the meeting, reserving appropriate space for talks, posters, meals, and other planned activities.

  • Date and Time: Begin planning early. Set a date for the meeting, taking into consideration when students will have gathered sufficient data to present or to work on collaboratively, as well as end of year events, including final exams, the Annual SEA Symposium, and the summer break. Start and end times for the symposium should accommodate travel time to and from the meeting.

  • Agenda: Past regional meetings have included a keynote presentation by an invited speaker, talks by SEA faculty, talks and posters by individual and/or teams of students, poster sessions, and activities such as a Genome Annotation Hackathon. Poster sessions and breaks are great opportunities for students to interact and network.

  • Collaboration: Early symposium planning provides opportunities for regional schools to collaborate. For examples, participating schools may choose to work of different Actinobacterial hosts followed by a collaborative host-range project, or working collaboratively on a common Actinobacterial host and varying isolation strategies.

  • Costs: Meeting costs include travel expenses, poster printing, meals, and keynote honorarium.

Current Events

Receive, Prepare, and Test Biologicals for Phage Discovery **

April 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019

Upcoming Events

11th Annual SEA Symposium

June 7, 2019 to June 9, 2019

2019 Faculty Workshop

June 9, 2019 to June 12, 2019