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

2018 Membership and Responsibilities

Dear SEA-PHAGES Faculty,

We’re looking forward to the coming academic year, and its culmination in what will be the 10th Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium at Janelia Research Campus on June 8-10, 2018. We are pleased that the program continues to be adopted by a variety of different institutions. This fall, seventeen new schools joined up as Cohort 10 of SEA-PHAGES, and applications for Cohort 11 are due in October.

The continued growth of the SEA is extremely gratifying, but we’ve now exceeded the capacity of Janelia Research Campus, which is the site of the annual Symposium. Because of this space limitation, we wanted to remind everyone that, in the future, we will need to limit the number of invitation slots per school for the Symposium, and some schools are likely to receive more slots than others. While we are still in the early planning and decision-making phase, there are some criteria which will likely help determine which schools are in good standing and merit the maximum number of invitation slots. Thus, before the academic year begins, we’re sharing these criteria.

Scientific Focus

  1. The scientific focus of the SEA-PHAGES program has been defined for several years as “Investigating the diversity and evolution of phages that infect Actinobacterial hosts.” Moving forward, only abstracts relevant to this topic will be accepted. Institutions and faculty with students that have been working on phages of different host bacteria who wish to attend the SEA Symposium should also adopt an Actinobacterial host.
  2. As we explore the biodiversity of bacteriophages by expanding systematically from mycobacteriophages to actinobacteriophages, we would like to encourage everyone to work with Actinobacterial hosts other than—or in addition to—M. smegmatis.

Science Education Focus

  1. The program was designed to provide an opportunity for large numbers of undergraduates to engage in research early in their academic tenure. We therefore encourage faculty and institutions to offer the SEA-PHAGES program in a manner that maximizes student numbers (primarily freshmen) in the course—for example, by substituting the traditional Introduction to Biology Lab series with SEA-PHAGES.
  2. Participation in the PITS survey allows us to measure the impact of SEA-PHAGES compared to traditional courses or other CREs, and provides defensible evidence for the value of this course. PITS can also be a formative assessment tool for valuable faculty feedback. We encourage everyone to participate in the PITS survey.

Program Deadlines

  1. The timely archiving of phage lysates is an essential scientific responsibility for SEA-PHAGES members. Archive samples are to be sent each calendar year (not each semester) and received by December 15. Be sure the lysates match complete entries in PhagesDB. Previous years’ samples are due immediately.
  2. Annotated genomes are reviewed for completeness by a team of SEA faculty before the genomes can be submitted to GenBank. In order for all genomes to be reviewed in a timely fashion, it is important that all sequenced genomes are annotated and submitted for quality control (QC) by May 15th, 2018. Previous years’ annotations are due immediately.
  3. Entering section information and faculty contact information allows us to track how the program is being implemented, as well as giving access to the PITS survey. Please keep all course section information up to date and accurate on in accordance with the deadlines.

Deadlines and more information can be found on the Faculty Information page.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Thank you, The SEA-PHAGES Team

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