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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 Special UNLV class takes a hands-on approach to discovering viruses

    Special UNLV class takes a hands-on approach to discovering viruses

    Denise Rosch

    KSNV NBC Las Vegas | Sept. 28, 2017

    Say the word "virus" and most people think of disease -- something to be avoided at all costs. However, at UNLV, students are getting their hands dirty to discover something that could keep us healthy. read more

    Related institution: University of Nevada Las Vegas

  • Thumbnail for UWF Biology And Chemistry Crews Team Up To Hunt Phages

    UWF Biology And Chemistry Crews Team Up To Hunt Phages

    Bob Barrett

    wuwf 88.1 | May 12, 2015

    The University of West Florida has been chosen to pioneer a unique collaboration between its chemistry and biology departments. Let’s start off with an important definition....read more

    Related institution: University of West Florida

  • Thumbnail for Students in interactive course look to discover, name phages

    Students in interactive course look to discover, name phages

    Marlon Morgan

    Western Carolina News | Sept. 30, 2015

    Western Carolina University student Sean Kent didn’t pick the course, but when he saw he was registered for it, the name “Phage Hunters” immediately got his attention. Brooke Burns also found she was placed in the course. After hearing so many other freshmen at orientation say they were excited about WCU’s newest biology/chemistry course, she, too, decided to keep it. Now she says it’s by far her favorite....read more

    Related institution: Western Carolina 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

  • Research paper with 2,863 authors expands knowledge of bacteriophages

    Science Daily | May 11, 2015

    We know that bacteriophages are viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria. We know that they are the most abundant organisms on Earth. But we don't know much about their genetic architecture....read more

    Related institution: University of Pittsburgh

  • 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 Invisible Friends

    Invisible Friends

    Story by Joel Smith; photos by Rajah Bose

    Gonzaga—The Magazine of Gonzaga University | Aug. 15, 2016

    They may have goofy names, but these students’ microscopic pets are serious science. A junior in college, Vina Tran already has a bona fide scientific discovery to her name. Go ahead and look her up on the Actino-bacteriophage Database, a compendium of biological findings maintained by the University of Pittsburgh....read more

    Related institution: Gonzaga University

  • Thumbnail for  Steele commended by Nobel Prize winner for her work

    Steele commended by Nobel Prize winner for her work

    Barbara Phillips

    Archer County News | April 21, 2016

    It is not often that a freshman in college is approached and commended for research by a Nobel Prize winner, but that is exactly what happened to Archer City graduate, London Steele, now a freshman at Baylor University....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 Undergraduate phage hunters showcase research in University Libraries exhibit

    Undergraduate phage hunters showcase research in University Libraries exhibit

    Alec Masella

    Virginia Tech Library News | April 3, 2018

    From local soil to a global database, new viruses have been uncovered, analyzed, and recorded by undergraduate researchers in Virginia Tech’s College of Science.read more

    Related institution: Virginia Tech

  • Thumbnail for Bio major considered dream come true for department

    Bio major considered dream come true for department

    Melanie Greenberg

    Loquitor—Cabrini College Student Media | March 5, 2011

    Surrounded by only her thoughts and glass beekers, one Cabrini student spends much of her time diligently working in the Iadarola Science Center. Katie Mageeney, senior biology major and math and chemistry minor, is anything but an average student. “Katie is definitely dedicated to her lab work,”...read more

    Related institutions: Cabrini University | Lehigh University

  • 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 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 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

  • Thumbnail for Round Rock Cedar Ridge grad earns scientific honor

    Round Rock Cedar Ridge grad earns scientific honor

    Mike Schoeffel

    Austin American-Statesman | Feb. 28, 2017

    Isabel Delwel, a junior at the University of North Texas, was chosen to participate in the 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program. One of Delwel’s professor’s, Dr. Lee Hughes, encouraged Delwel to apply for a spot in the program.read more

    Related institution: University of North Texas

Genomes to move to Exchange June 15

This was sent as an email from info@seaphages.org to all faculty: Dear Faculty, Thank you very much for the annotations you've submitted over the past few days. We appreciate the time that you are taking to bring your files up to the newest standards. This will make our review go much more quickly! As we've previously stated on March 1 2018 (See below), we are trying very hard to get all of outstanding genomes annotated and into GenBank. To that end: We will be moving all Genomes with a due date of May 15 2018 to the Genome Exchange on June 15 2018. Genomes that have been submitted but did not pass QC still have a due date of May 15. Please make the suggested changes and resubmit! If you have not taken the time to do so PLEASE look at your institution page on seaphages.org to see which genomes from your institution are overdue. If you do not plan to annotate them, you can easily move them to the Exchange and change that annoying red box on your page back to green. Please let me know if you have any questions and we will see you soon. Welkin Email sent to you on March 1 "Dear SEA-PHAGES Faculty, Last year, in order to help move toward 100% archiving success, we added an archiving tracking system to seaphages.org that showed which phages from your school remain unarchived. Thanks for your continued attention to updating your phages’ information at PhagesDB and your cooperation in getting missing samples into the archives. Now, faced with more than 1000 genomes that have been sequenced but are not yet in GenBank, we’ve added an annotation tracking system to seaphages.org as well. The goal is to keep annotations moving along at a brisk pace, reduce the backlog of unannotated genomes, and ensure everyone knows what genomes they are responsible for and when their annotations are due. This system is now live on seaphages.org, and can be found by logging in and navigating to your institution’s home page. There, you will be able to see all of your in-progress annotations as well as those you’ve already submitted with their statuses and due dates. You can also use the “Actions” link for any genome to donate it to the Genome Exchange*, change the contact person, or request an extension.

Sequencing Status 2017-18

Below is a live spreadsheet showing the status of SEA-PHAGES sequencing samples for the 2017-18 academic year. Generally, only samples in the "priority" queue will be listed, and it may take a few days after receipt of samples for them to appear.

CLICK HERE to open this in a new browser window.

Official Function List

Embedded below is the list of approved functions and specific names for those functions. Any functional calls you make should come from this list and use the naming conventions here. If you think you've found a function not on this list, please request that it be added at the appropriate forum.

CLICK HERE to open this in a new browser window.

Upcoming Events

10th Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium

June 8, 2018 to June 10, 2018

SEA-PHAGES Faculty Meeting 2018

June 10, 2018 to June 12, 2018

Phage Discovery Workshop 11A

June 23, 2018 to June 29, 2018

Recent Events

Submit Genome Annotations for Quality Control

May 15, 2018

Students Complete Spring Semester PITS Survey [Semester Schools]

May 11, 2018

Forum Activity