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.


Expired MTAs

Many MTAs for phagehunting materials obtained from the University of Pittsburgh have expired. Please check what materials you have received and their paperwork to see if you will need to update your MTAs. Updating the following information at your institution page at current faculty name(s) and legal contact name and email is needed, so update that information today! Check your freezers and documents to verify what materials you want to continue using and what you will discard. Contact Emily Ginser ( with the information.

October SEA-PHAGES Email

Dear SEA community,

This is our October communication:


If you haven’t already, please post section data to your institution page at (This is a separate request from the section data asked for the PITS study.)


Deadline to make a request for prompt shipping is October 16, 2023. We will begin shipping archive tubes as soon as requests come in. If you are off schedule, you can still request tubes with an additional comment for shipping instructions.

Request your tubes today!


Before you prep lysates for archiving, please read the new improved protocol that contains a new video link here.

Make sure you create any needed phage pages on PhagesDB as soon as possible, as these must be approved before they are included in your Archive Sheet for sample prep.


This month’s meeting is scheduled for October 27, and will feature breakout rooms for updates and discussing your questions on Phage Discovery protocols, GENES protocols, and QUBES Resources.

More info available on the program website timeline:


The Phage Genomics workshop for the newest cohort of SEA faculty is scheduled for Dec 4 – 8, 2023. If you instruct (or will instruct) Phage Genomics but have never attended this workshop, you can request to attend using the following link, and we will do our very best to accommodate you. This registration closes October 13.

We hope phage work at your school is going well! We are excited to see what discoveries are made this year!

Our very best, the SEA Team

This email is an official communication from the HHMI SEA-PHAGES program.

Sequencing Status, 2023-24

Below is a live spreadsheet showing the status of SEA-PHAGES sequencing samples for the 2023-24 academic year. Generally, samples are only listed after they're scheduled for a MiSeq run, so don't worry if the samples you sent haven't appeared yet.

CLICK HERE to open this in a new browser window.


Upcoming Events

2023 Phage Genomics Workshop

December 4, 2023 to December 8, 2023

Submit Abstract for 2024 Symposium

March 15, 2024

2024 SEA Symposium

April 12, 2024 to April 14, 2024

Recent Events

Phage Discovery Workshop 16B

July 8, 2023 to July 14, 2023

Forum Activity